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Afghanistan ‘ready for’ next month’s donor conference 

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(Last Updated On: October 7, 2020)

Afghanistan and its foreign partners in Kabul have officially launched preparations for the 2020 Afghanistan Conference – the last pledging summit of the Transformation Decade. 

The event on Tuesday was attended by representatives of more than 70 countries and international organizations, along with representatives from civil society groups. 

The November conference is the last pledging conference of the Transformation Decade (2015 to 2024), which was in place to help Afghanistan become self-reliant, and is expected to renew international community and Afghan commitments to the development and stability of Afghanistan up to 2024.

The conference will be held over two days, November 23 and 24, but the main conference will take place on day two, with side events to discuss key challenges and accomplishments for Afghanistan occurring the day before.

The Afghan Minister of Finance, Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, in his opening remarks on Tuesday, said: “The 2020 Afghanistan Conference presents a unique opportunity to work together with a strong commitment to the principles of aid effectiveness and mutual accountability for improved transparency, legitimacy, as well as effectiveness. 

“Progress on mutual accountability is all the more important and both the government as well as our international partners must hold themselves and each other accountable for use of development resources and for development results.”

President Ashraf Ghani, who is currently in Doha, Qatar, said in a recorded message: “The process of preparing for the conference has provided us, as partners, an opportunity to have a comprehensive and detailed discussion on Afghanistan’s past, present, and future development trajectory. 

“More specifically, the conference will be an opportunity to signal to the Afghan people the international community’s continued partnership with Afghanistan. The constructive conversation will be continuous, focusing on policy and implementation until and after the conference,” he said. 

The conference will also devise a second version of the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF-II) which provides vision, strategy and plans for development for the 2021-25 period and is organized around the three pillars of market-, state-, and peace-building. It will form the foundation of a new aid framework.

“Preparations for the 2020 Afghanistan Conference are well underway, in good cooperation with our co-hosts the Government of Afghanistan and UNAMA. At this extraordinary time, it is more important than ever that the development partners continue their strong support to the Afghan people and ensure the long-term development of the country on its path to peace, prosperity and self-reliance,” said Janne Taalas, Finland’s Special Envoy to the 2020 Afghanistan conference. Finland is co-hosting this year’s conference. 

UNAMA meanwhile said in a statement that with the recent start of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, there are new opportunities and hope for Afghanistan and the Afghan people.

“As critical peace talks progress in Doha, the international community recommits its stand with the Afghan people to ending the war and building a better future with stability, sound governance and greater economic opportunities,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

More than 70 countries, international organizations and Afghan government officials, as well as civil society representatives, are expected to take part in the conference.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will be organized in a hybrid format. The option for online participation will be provided to conference delegates and an open live webcast will be available.

 

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Pakistan seal semi-final T20 World Cup spot after beating Namibia 

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(Last Updated On: November 2, 2021)

Pakistan defeated Namibia by 45 runs on Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi to become the first side to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.

Chasing a formidable target of 190, Namibia gave a good account of their ability and promise and eventually finished with 144-5 as Pakistan collected the two points they needed to go through to the next round.

Pakistan’s total is the second-highest in this tournament, behind Afghanistan’s 190-4 against Scotland in Sharjah.

Afghanistan’s next T20 World Cup match is on Wednesday against India.

 

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US administers over 420 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

The United States has administered 420,657,683 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 518,701,225 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The agency said 221,221,467 people had received at least one dose, while 192,244,927 people were fully vaccinated as of 6am on Saturday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, Reuters reported.

About 17.7 million people have received a booster dose of either Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On November 8, the United States is lifting the extraordinary travel restrictions that have barred most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. 

It is also imposing new rules requiring nearly all foreign adult air visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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IEA arrests two gunmen after wedding party shooting 

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) deputy minister of information and culture Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed on Sunday that two people have been arrested following the shooting at a wedding party on Friday night. 

Mujahid said in a series of tweets on Sunday that three people, claiming to be IEA members, had arrived at the venue in a village in Nangarhar and ordered them to stop the music, before opening fire on the guests. 

Three people died and several were wounded, he said.

“Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and one has escaped and is being pursued,” Mujahid tweeted.

 Mujahid said that the gunmen were handed over to officials.

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