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Afghan media takes hard knock as staff resign and dozens seek asylum

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(Last Updated On: March 11, 2021)

NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, said Thursday that in the last two weeks, the number of female journalists in Nangarhar, Kandahar and Balkh provinces has dropped by a staggering 90 percent.

NAI also said not only are journalists in Afghanistan under threat, but so too are their families.

In addition, NAI stated that the solar year 1399 has been one of the bloodiest years to date for journalists in Afghanistan.

Eleven journalists and media workers have died in the country this solar year and at least 50 Afghan journalists, including men and women, have fled the country.

According to NAI, government’s apparent negligence in following up on cases involving crimes against journalists and the sharp rise in targeted killings of media workers has been a matter of grave concern for journalists.

“There are senior journalists and reporters who left the country, and among them it is said that 15 women [journalists] also left the country,” said Mujib Khelwatgar, head of NAI.

NAI says there have been three attacks on the families of journalists in the last two weeks, leaving several dead and wounded.

However, Ministry of Interior spokesman Tariq Arian said government is working on these cases.

“About 60 people have been arrested in connection with assassinations and violence against journalists, and their cases have been handed over to the prosecutor’s office,” said Arian.

On the other hand, female reporters in the capital say that no threats can silence their voices.

Khadija, a reporter for RTA Television says she has faced several threats, but has ignored the threats and is intent on continuing her work.

“Our families are also being threatened, and I, as a journalist, want to say that we are not stopping our work,” said Khadija.

This comes after the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) and 40 other civil society organizations from around the world called on the UN Security Council and UNAMA on Wednesday to support the Afghan media community by calling on all parties to stop violence against journalists in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2222 (2015).

The AFJC said in a letter to the UN, and to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) head Deborah Lyons, that the council and all parties to the letter “are deeply concerned by the torrent of targeted killings of journalists in Afghanistan since early 2020.”

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Muttaqi calls on international community to recognize IEA government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Foreign acting Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi accused the international community on Friday (October 15) of “violating the rights of Afghan people” by not recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

Speaking to Reuters on the second day of a two-day visit to Turkey’s capital of Ankara, Muttaqi said he discussed the recognition of the IEA’s government with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well.

“The fact that all of them are recognized and the new Islamic government of Afghanistan is not recognized is an injustice and oppression of the Afghan people… Afghanistan wants positive relations with the world and the world must respond positively to this message,” he said.

Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and IEA forces swept into Kabul, the IEA administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis.

But the IEA has so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he had conveyed Turkey’s recommendations regarding the inclusion of women in the workforce and education of girls.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity.

“We once again explained the importance of including people from all ethnic and religious groups, besides the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan), in the administration. Especially in these difficult times, this is important in terms of establishing unity and solidarity within the country,” Cavusoglu said.

NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Kabul after Western countries withdrew following the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and have urged those countries to increase engagement.

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Blast targets mosque in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

A large explosion ripped through a mosque in the southern Kandahar province on Friday afternoon.

The blast happened at the Shi’ite Fatimiya mosque during Friday prayers, causing heavy casualties.

Sources said at least 34 people were killed and 69 others wounded in the explosion. Afghan officials have not confirmed the casualties so far.

Qari Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, has told Reuters that authorities were collecting details of the explosion.

The blast took place days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by Islamic State on a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed and wounded more than 200 people.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Islamic State has stepped up operations following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

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Turkey underlines need for inclusive Afghan government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

In talks with the delegation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Turkey on Thursday reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity, Reuters reported.

Turkey repeated its advice to the visiting IEA delegation on girls’ education and women’s employment in business life, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference following a meeting with Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Ankara.

Muttaqi led an IEA delegation for an official visit to Turkey to discuss bilateral issues as well as cooperation on the future of Afghanistan.

The IEA officials have pledged to provide the utmost support to Afghan refugees who want to return to the country from Turkey, added Cavusoglu.

He also underlined that the IEA delegation conveyed requests to Turkey during the meeting, especially on humanitarian aid and continued investment in Afghanistan.

Last month, Cavusoglu said Turkey has contributed to stabilization and development efforts in Afghanistan, including on the education of girls and empowerment of women since the 1920s, adding that Ankara continues providing humanitarian aid through the Turkish Red Crescent.

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