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Afghanistan second-largest refugee group after Syria

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2015)

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Until last year, Afghans were the largest global refugee population at 2.6 million people – almost 10 percent of the country’s entire population.

Today, estimated at 12 percent, they Afghans ranked as the second largest group after Syrians to have reached European shores and borders.

According to the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, more than 40,000 Afghans have sought asylum in Europe from January until August this year.

Today an estimated 2.6 million Afghan remain in exile- mainly hosted by Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Pakistan is the second largest refugee-hosting country in the world, hosting around 1.5 million Afghan refugees, a figure that accounts for 10.5 per cent of the total global refugee population. Iran hosts around 950,000 Afghan refugees.

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Although tragedies that have befallen Afghan refugees for decades have not made the headlines in Western media, many have died dreadful deaths or have endured untold hardships.

Many families are still waiting to hear news of loved ones that have simply vanished en route to a better life.

While the dire security situation prompts many Afghans to risk everything, others flee because of the country’s economic stagnation and staggering unemployment rates.

“Migrations do not occur arbitrary, due to lots of pressure, escaping from investment, work and brain drain are the main reason,” Sayed Masoud, Afghan economic analyst said.

Unemployment has reached record heights. Domestic and foreign investments have halted, and the flight of capital is becoming a critical issue. Projects attached to international aid – one of the largest sources of employment in the past decade – have, for the most part, shut down or been placed in hibernation.

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Meanwhile, a number of Wolesi Jirga members accept problems of Afghan youths in the country but urged all of them that instead of escaping the country they should use the power of their initiative.

Germany and other Western states may show generosity in accepting refugees, but unless the world revamps the Afghan economy and seriously engages in the restoration of security, the brain drain will gravely reverse the trillion-dollar global effort in rehabilitating and stabilising Afghanistan.

Deteriorating security and growing fears for the future contributed to an increasing number of Afghans fleeing their homes for other countries, or choosing not to return home from overseas.

The number of Afghans seeking safety outside the country also grew, with some making dangerous journeys from Afghanistan through the mountains into Iran toward Europe or by boat to Australia. The number of refugees returning to Afghanistan from neighboring countries has fallen in recent years.

 

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Unprecedented growth in watermelon harvest – Farah

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(Last Updated On: June 2, 2020)

This year, more than 789,000 tons of watermelon will be harvested in Farah province.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock said that the figure is up 6 percent compared to that of last year.

Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock say that this year’s watermelon harvest in Farah province will be 789,400 metric tons. According to the officials, about 19,000 hectares of land have been cultivated  for watermelon in Farah province this year.

Meanwhile, a number of farmers in Farah province are worried about the lack of markets for the watermelon products.

They say that if there is no market, their products will be wasted.

This comes as a number of farmers in the province say that if the government doesn’t support the marketing of watermelon products in this province, their products will be destroyed this year.

Officials in the Chamber of Commerce and Investment have criticized the government, saying that the Ministry of Commerce should have previously marketed domestic products.

According to them, the government’s negligence will discourage farmers from producing crops.

They say South Asian countries are the best market for watermelon, but claim that Pakistan has blocked the export of the product to a number of countries.

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Dr. Ayaz Niazi killed in mosque explosion – Kabul

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(Last Updated On: June 2, 2020)

At least two people – including Mohammad Ayaz Niazi, imam of Wazir Akbar Khan mosque – were killed and three others wounded in a bomb blast inside a mosque in Kabul city, the Interior Ministry confirmed.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that the explosion took place at around 7:25 p.m. in Wazir Akbar Khan mosque while people were gathered for evening prayers.

Mohammad Ayaz Niazi, imam of the mosque also lost his life in the attack, the official added.

All the injured individuals have been taken to hospital.

According to the ministry, police defused another bomb at the attack scene.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Palace condemned the “terror attack,” saying attacks on mosques, hospitals, and other civilian sites are anti-humanitarian act.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

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UN: Taliban have not cut ties with al-Qaeda

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(Last Updated On: June 2, 2020)

According to the latest report by the Security Council of the United Nations, the Taliban have not cut ties with al-Qaeda, even after a peace deal with the United States.

The United Nations has said in a report that al-Qaeda in Afghanistan has been secretly conducting military operations in collusion with the Taliban, and that the group has even held several meetings with al-Qaeda leaders lately to strengthen their ties.

In its latest report, the UN Security Council has revealed the Taliban’s close ties to al-Qaeda, even after a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban. According to the report, al-Qaeda is active in 12 Afghan provinces, with an estimated 400 to 600 military personnel.

The United Nations has said that al-Qaeda leaders have met with the Taliban for more than six times over that last 12 months, and Gul Agha Ishaqzai, a former adviser to Mullah Mohammad Omar, has assured al-Qaeda leaders that the Taliban not will cut ties with al-Qaeda at any cost.

The UN report said, “Al-Qaida and the Taliban held  meetings  over  the course  of  2019  and  in  early  2020  to  discuss  cooperation  related  to  operational, training  and  the  provision  by  the  Taliban  of  safe  havens  for Al-Qaida members  inside Afghanistan. Al-Qaida is covertly active in 12 Afghan provinces. Monitoring Team’s estimate is between 400 and 600 armed operatives.”

“According to interlocutors, al-Zawahiri met with members of the Haqqani Network in February 2020. Hafiz Azizuddin Haqqani (not listed) and Yahya Haqqani (TAi.169)19consulted al-Zawahiri over the agreement with the United States and the peace process,” added the statement.

However, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan’s peace, has said that the Taliban had pledged to cut their relationships with terrorist groups in exchange for the withdrawal of the US troops.

Khalilzad has said that The United States is monitoring the implementation of the Taliban’s commitment to the peace agreement, and under this agreement the Taliban will in no way host terrorist groups and severe ties with al-Qaeda.

On the other hand, Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member, said that The United Nations wants to hide its failure by saying that the Taliban is linked to al-Qaeda, noting “I don’t think they have any evidence to prove that.”

The Afghan government has also previously spoken of the Taliban’s close ties to ISIS and other terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.

The Taliban denied the UN report’s statements regarding the group.

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