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Afghan Peace Must Be Explored With Utmost Urgency: UN Envoy

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(Last Updated On: September 15, 2016)

690980afghanistan14 September 2016 – Highlighting the challenges facing Afghanistan due to decades-long violence and instability, the United Nations envoy to the country stressed today that avenues for peace there must be explored with utmost urgency and seriousness.

“As one of the world’s most aid-dependent countries, it will be difficult for Afghanistan to achieve self-reliance as long as there is conflict,” Special Representative of the Secretary-General Tadamichi Yamamoto told members of the Security Council during a briefing.

“Conflict diverts resources, which would be better spent on developing Afghanistan and helping its people. Peace is therefore a requirement,” he underlined.

Mr. Yamamoto, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), went on to stress the need to resolve political tensions between two senior leaders in the Government to ensure that it is stable.

“No effective policies are possible if the Government is internally divided,” noting that tensions had surfaced, with public criticism by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah about what he viewed as the incomplete implementation of the political agreement of 2014.

Mr. Yamamoto noted that the two leaders have met several times since then to try to identify the issues and to seek solutions. He said efforts are still under way, and further meetings are expected.

He nevertheless called on the leaders to show to the people of Afghanistan and to the international community that they are able to govern effectively. He also welcomed the recent signature by President Ashraf Ghani of the legislative decree for electoral reform as a constructive development in this regard.

“The political agenda must progress constructively, political stability must be maintained; and the elections must take place,” he said, telling the Council that the two year anniversary of the 2014 political agreement that established the National Unity Government draws near, the political oppositions have increasingly challenged the legitimacy of the Government.

“Nowhere is this trend more apparent than for children, among whom there has been an 18 per cent increase in casualties, with 388 children killed in six months,” he reported.

He noted that the country’s health and social systems could also face further strain as the number of people newly displaced by the conflict is being added to by a massive increase in the number of Afghan families returning back from Pakistan.

“If current trends continue, Afghanistan will have to meet the needs of at least one million people on the move,” said Mr. Yamamoto, adding that unless urgent measures are taken, thousands of families could suffer due to the upcoming winter season.

In his briefing, SRSG Yamamoto also noted some positive developments. In particular, he welcomed President Ghani’s comprehensive, long-term approach to tackling corruption, which seeks to develop the architecture needed to prevent corruption, as well as hold those responsible for corruption to account.

He also acknowledged the Government’s continued progress on other reform and mutual accountability commitments, in particular preparing for the country’s National Peace and Development Framework and successfully negotiating a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

Speaking on the upcoming Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Mr. Yamamoto called upon the Government to “seize this opportunity” that meeting will offer.

He also welcomed the Government’s plan to hold a side event at the Conference to spotlight the challenges faced by the country’s women who were widowed by the long conflict.

Concluding his briefing, Mr. Yamamoto said that the country has an opportunity to build on its achievements of the past fifteen years and move towards stability and self-reliance.

“With effective government and the continued support of the international community it has every chance of succeeding,” he added.

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Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 34,194 cases, 971 deaths

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has jumped to 34,194 with 971 deaths in Afghanistan.

According to daily Coronavirus, updates released the Public Health Ministry, 286 new Coronavirus cases have been registered in the past 24 hours.

The cases were recorded in Kabul 83, Herat 81, Balkh 9, Nangarhar 1, Bamyan 30, Takhar 5, Baghlan 3, Badghis 30, Logar 2, Kunduz 5, Parwan 2, Diakundi 16, Wardak 3, Laghman 1, Panjsher 2, and Ghor 13.

Meanwhile, 12 COVID-19 patients have died in the past 24 hours. The death cases were reported as follows: Kabul (10), Herat (2), Maidan Wardak (1), and Takhar (1).

The Health Ministry said that 41 patients have been discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 20,882 in the country.

It comes that World Bank has approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.

The World Bank said that the Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

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Afghan forces push back Taliban attacks – Ghazni

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The Afghan forces have pushed back Taliban attacks in central Ghazni province, the Defense Ministry (MoD) said.

In a statement released on Friday, the MoD said the militants have carried out attacks in Shalez and Asheqwal areas in the center of Ghazni province on Thursday that faced resistance by the Afghan security and defense forces.

According to the statement, the Afghan forces pushed back the attacks, killing eight Taliban militants and wounding three more.

The Defense Ministry did not provide details of the casualty of the Afghan forces.

The Taliban militant group yet to comment about the incident.

It comes as the Taliban apparently has intensified attacks in a number of provinces which shows a clash to the Doha agreement to bring peace in Afghanistan.

Two days ago the group carried out a car bomb suicide attack in Kandahar’s Shah Wali Kut district which result in the killing of two policemen and wounding of 15 more. In Ghazni, the Taliban target police commander of Deh Yak district as well.

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World Bank provides $200 million for Afghanistan to protect people, support businesses amid COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Thursday approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.

In a statement released on Thursday, the World Bank said that the Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

The Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant will support the government of Afghanistan to strengthen policies that promote faster recovery and keep basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, and telecommunications afloat and running, the statement said.

“The program will provide vital fiscal resources to manage the impacts of the pandemic in the context of rapidly slowing economic growth and declining government revenues,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

“Policy actions supported by the program will both help mitigate the impacts of the current crisis on the poor and vulnerable and also lay critical foundations for longer-term recovery. The World Bank will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan through this crisis,” Kerali added.

The World Bank said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant adverse health, social, and economic impacts in Afghanistan, shrinking the economy and driving down public revenue.

“The grant will support changes in regulations to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, protect healthcare workers, and raise awareness on gender-based violence in schools,” it stated.

The organization added that it will also support plans to encourage students to return to school when educational institutions are to reopen after the COVID-19 crisis.

It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 33,908 with 957 and 20,847 recoveries in Afghanistan.

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