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Afghanistan ranked 2nd on IRC crisis watchlist for 2021

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(Last Updated On: December 17, 2020)
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has warned that the most dangerous humanitarian emergencies on their 2021 watchlist includes Afghanistan, which is dealing with a triple threat of COVID, climate change and conflict. 
 
The IRC, which published its 2021 Emergency Watchlist on Tuesday, stated that the most dangerous humanitarian emergencies of 2021 are nearly all neglected. 
 
Their new analysis shows Yemen is the country most at risk of humanitarian catastrophe in 2021, followed by Afghanistan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo and then Ethiopia. 
 
The report found that measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are leaving women behind, as they face devastating harm to economic opportunities, schooling, and access to healthcare in these crisis countries.
 
The IRC stated that ongoing conflict compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have led to unprecedented emergencies across the globe. 
 
David Miliband, President and CEO at the IRC, said, “2020 will go down as one of the most turbulent years in history, but the next year will be remembered for how we either helped or turned away from those suffering the most. 
 
“Watchlist 2021 should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers, government leaders, and concerned citizens around the world about the cost of neglecting humanitarian crises – and how they urgently need international attention,” he said.
 
According to Milliband, “the most severe and devastating crises like Afghanistan, Syria and DRC have been reeling for years or even decades, and are expected to become even worse in 2021.”
 
He also said that the triple threat of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change are dramatically worsening an already dire situation for people living in conflict-affected countries and that women and girls are especially impacted by all aspects of conflict, “as we see rises in violence against women, early and forced marriage, loss of income and education opportunities.”
 
Displacement was also at an historic all time high in conflict-ridden countries, he said and aid agencies like the IRC are increasingly under attack and face obstacles put in place by parties to conflict that prevent them from reaching those most in need.
 
Watchlist 2021 meanwhile also found that long-running conflicts in places like Afghanistan are driving the largest increases in humanitarian needs. 
 
The number of people in need in Afghanistan has risen by 385 percent since 2015. 
 
IRC stated that many of these countries at war “are at risk of an even more violent 2021.”
 
The organization stated that Watchlist countries are the most dangerous places for aid workers: since 2016, 94 percent of all aid workers killed, 84 percent of aid workers injured and 98 percent of aid workers kidnapped have been in the countries on this year’s list.
 
“Wars are increasingly fought without respect for International Humanitarian Law, resulting in direct harm to civilians and critical infrastructure,” the report read.
 
The Watchlist’s ranked Top Ten is where the IRC assesses there is greatest risk of deterioration leading to the most serious emergencies in 2021. The countries, in order of most at risk, are as follows:
 
1. Yemen
 
2. Afghanistan
 
3. Syria
 
4. Democratic Republic of the Congo
 
5. Ethiopia
 
6. Burkina Faso
 
7. South Sudan
 
8. Nigeria
 
9. Venezuela
 
10. Mozambique

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IEA delegation due in Norway for humanitarian talks

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will arrive in Norway on Sunday for three days of talks on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Friday, Reuters reported.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban [IEA]. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

“We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster,” she said.

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year’s IEA takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security, Reuters reported.

The IEA representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25.

“Meetings will also take place between the Taliban [IEA] delegation and other Afghans with backgrounds from a range of fields. These include women leaders, journalists, and individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues,” Norway said.

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IEA says EU reopens embassy in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Thursday, announced that European Union officially reopened its diplomatic office in Kabul.

Spokesman of the Ministry Abdul Qahar Balkhi on the Twitter post said that the EU’s diplomatic office has officially resumed its operations in Afghanistan.

“Following consecutive meetings and reaching an understanding with EU representatives, the European Union officially opened its embassy with a permanent presence in Kabul and practically commenced operations.” Balkhi tweeted.

Meanwhile, Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that the EU announced 268 million euro additional assistance apart from the 220 million euro humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

He added that a portion of the money will be used for teachers and their salaries which he welcomed.

The reopening of the embassy comes as the IEA is yet to be recognized by any country but a number of countries have started consular services in the country.

This comes after Afghanistan’s caretaker government on Wednesday called on the international community to formally recognize the IEA administration which is governing the country after toppling the U.S.-installed government last year.

Mullah Hassan Akhund, acting prime minister of the caretaker government, made the statement at an economic conference in Kabul, which convened IEA officials, some countries’ representatives and UN envoys.

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Turkey, Qatar reached preliminary deal on Kabul airport security

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Turkey and Qatar have reached agreement on ensuring security at Kabul’s main airport should they be awarded the mission amid ongoing talks with the Islamic Emirate (IE) government, Turkish diplomatic sources said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Kabul’s international airport is landlocked Afghanistan’s main air link to the world. Following the August takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Turkey has said it would be open to operating it with Qatar but only if its security demands are met.

Reuters has reported that the United Arab Emirates also held talks with the Taliban to keep the airport operational.

The sources told reporters on Thursday that Ankara and Doha had agreed on a security framework for the airport mission, but added talks continued on other aspects such as financing.

“It is expected for the Taliban [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] to ensure security outside, and for whoever runs the airport to ensure it inside,” one of the sources said. “The process is continuing constructively,” the person said on condition of anonymity.

They added that a delegation of Turkish and Qatari officials were holding talks on the issue in Kabul this week, Reuters reported.

Qatar’s state news agency said the IEA government will be in Doha next week to complete discussions with Qatar and Turkey over the operation and management of the airport.

It added that delegations from Qatar and Turkey have held two days of “intense negotiations” in Kabul this week over control of the airport.

Qatar – which helped run the airport along with Turkey after playing a major role in evacuation efforts following the chaotic U.S. withdrawal in August – say that Ankara, Doha, and the IEA have agreed that discussions are going to be completed next week.

Qatar’s role at the Kabul airport has ensured that flights have operated between Doha and Kabul since September, allowing Qatar to become a hub for countries to maintain links to Afghanistan and to meet the IEA government. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and several other countries have moved their Afghanistan embassies to Qatar, Reuters reported.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was sending 700 tonnes of emergency aid and supplies to Afghanistan, without providing a date.

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