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Anxious Kabul residents ask ‘Who is Next?’

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(Last Updated On: December 23, 2020)
The latest assassination of a public figure, Yousuf Rashid, the CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), has not only drawn widespread condemnation but also continues to increase the levels of concern among Kabul residents in particular. 
 
Rashid was killed in a targeted attack early Wednesday morning. He was gunned down by unknown gunmen outside his house. His driver survived the attack but later died from his wounds in hospital. 
 
A clear increase in targeted assassinations, either through the use of magnetic IEDs against vehicles or by shooting, has emerged over the past few months and public figures, including civil society members, media workers and government officials appear to be the targets. 
 
However, these occurrences are now happening on an almost daily basis and Kabul residents are questioning “Who is next?”
 
In reaction to Rashid’s death, one social media user said simply on Wednesday: “Who is next? Me or you?”
 
Another social media user said on Facebook: “Where are the commanders? Where are the leaders? Those who were claiming to save Afghanistan. Today, if our brother is assassinated, tomorrow is my turn and yours.
 
“One day, come down from these palaces that you have built from the sale of Afghanistan and conducted the rescue Jihad. These governments and puppet regimes cannot stop terrorism,” the post read.
 
Scores of Kabul residents are pointing the finger at the Taliban and have said the group wants a  “silent society” – hence media and civil society members being targeted. 
 
But the Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the attacks and has in fact publicly distanced itself from some incidents. 
 
On the other hand, some people said on social media that Rashid was an outspoken critic of corruption and electoral fraud.
 
US Chargé d’Affaires to Kabul, Ross Wilson, said in response to Rashid’s assassination that he was “appalled by his murder, another in a cacophony of senseless & endless violence.” 
 
Wilson said that his death is a loss to his family, friends and the nation.
 
“Yousuf Rasheed was a dedicated and steadfast advocate for representative democracy in Afghanistan. He worked tirelessly for years to ensure free and transparent elections that engaged all Afghans,” Wilson stated.
 
Mohammad Mirza Katawazai First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly tweeted he was deeply saddened by the killing of Rashid “who was a forward looking progressive young Afghan who wanted a truly functioning democracy in the country.”
 
By Wednesday, Kabul city had witnessed an explosion every day for four days.  
 
The latest explosion on Wednesday morning left one policeman dead and two others wounded. 
 
A spokesman for the Kabul Police HQ, Ferdows Faramarz, said that an IED on a Ranger had exploded in the PD12 district at around 6:55 a.m.
 
“One policeman was killed and two others were injured,” Faramarz said.
 
Soon afterwards, Rashid was gunned down in PD while leaving home. 
 
On Tuesday, a Toyota Corolla belonging to Pul-e-Charkhi doctors was targeted. This also happened in PD 7. 
 
Five people were killed in the explosion, including at least four doctors. 
 
On Monday, one soldier and one civilian were wounded in yet another explosion – this time in PD12. On the same day, at least one civilian was killed in Paghman district in Kabul when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque. 
 
Sunday was another day of chaos when the convoy of vehicles belonging to MP Mohammad Wardak was targeted in PD5. 
 
A car bomb targeted the convoy, killing at least 10 people and wounded more than 50. 
 
Wardak survived the explosion, but extensive damage was also caused to buildings and shops in the area. 
 
So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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Bayat Foundation in Ghazni to help needy families

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

The Bayat Foundation continues to help vulnerable families across Afghanistan and this week distributed hundreds of food parcels to people in central Ghazni province.

The foundation’s officials said they had so far distributed essential food supplies to deserving people in Herat, Balkh, Khost, Kunduz, Kandahar, and Bamiyan provinces.

Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of the Bayat Foundation, stated: “Through its continued assistance, the Bayat Foundation was in Ghazni [to distribute aid] and further assistance will be distributed in other provinces soon.”

The foundation said it will do its best to reach vulnerable families during winter.

Grateful recipients of the food aid thanked the Bayat Foundation and said the packages were badly needed.

“We are thankful to the Bayat Foundation that provided us with foodstuff such are flour, rice, and oil and we call for further assistance,” one of the recipients said.

Another recipient added: “I am pleased that the Bayat Foundation is helping needy people during this cold winter.”

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UN seeks record $41 billion for aid to hotspots including Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

The United Nations appealed on Thursday for $41 billion to provide life-saving assistance next year to a record 183 million people worldwide caught up in conflict and poverty, led by a tripling of its programme in Afghanistan.

Famine remains a “terrifying prospect” for 45 million people living in 43 countries, as extreme weather caused by climate change reduces food supplies, it said in the annual appeal reflecting a 17% rise in annual funding needs.

“The drivers of needs are ones which are familiar to all of us. Tragically, it includes protracted conflicts, political instability, failing economies… the climate crisis, not a new crisis, but one which urges more attention and of course the Covid-19 pandemic,” UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told a news briefing on Wednesday.

In a report to donors, the world body said: “Without sustained and immediate action, 2022 could be catastrophic.”

Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and Sudan are the five major crises requiring the most funding, topped by $4.5 billion sought for Afghanistan where “needs are skyrocketing”, it said.

In Afghanistan, more than 24 million people require life-saving assistance to prevent catastrophe, a dramatic increase driven by political tumult, repeated economic shocks, and the severe food insecurity caused by the worst drought in 27 years, Reuters reported.

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Four wounded in Kabul blast

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

The Emergency Hospital in Kabul has confirmed four people were wounded in an IED explosion in Salim Karwan square in PD4 around midday Thursday.

The Emergency Hospital said in a tweet that the injured were taken to the hospital from the scene of the explosion.

The hospital said a child was among the injured adding the incident was caused by a magnetic IED attached to a vehicle.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Interior Ministry spokesman Saeed Khosti, however, said the incident was caused by an IED placed in a pot. He also claimed that there were no casualties in the blast.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Two days ago, Kabul witnessed another explosion. The blast, which targeted an IEA vehicle, wounded five people, including members of the IEA.

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