Connect with us

Latest News

ARTF endorses new four-year partnership and financing program for Afghanistan

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: June 9, 2021)

The Steering Committee of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank, on Wednesday endorsed a new four-year partnership and financing program for Afghanistan, the World Bank said in a statement.

The program was endorsed at the ARTF’s annual meeting that was co-chaired by Mohammad Khalid Payenda, Acting Minister of Finance of Afghanistan, and Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region.

According to the statement, Afghan government officials, ambassadors, and representatives from donor countries, and international organizations, who attended the meeting, discussed how the ARTF will continue to support the Afghan government to advance its development agenda and respond to the negative impacts of COVID-19.

The newly-endorsed Partnership Framework and Financing Program (PFFP) 2021 – 2024 guides ARTF investments and outlines how new donor contributions will support the Afghan government’s development agenda and policies, the statement read.

The new PFFP focuses on six priorities: gender equality, conflict sensitivity, and climate, and it emphasizes strong fiduciary controls in ARTF projects, strategic technical assistance, and close portfolio monitoring to deliver results.

“The ARTF is the main forum for our dialogue with international partners on development and is the key contributor to Afghanistan’s continuing efforts to bring development benefits to our people. ARTF is more important than ever in the current transition, and we very much welcome the international community’s continued support,” Payenda said.

ARTF is a key source of funding for Afghanistan’s national budget and implementation of the second Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF 2), the statement added.

“Through the ARTF, the Government of Afghanistan works with international partners to reduce poverty, deliver essential services, sustain civilian budget operating costs, and implement critical reforms,” the statement read.

Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region, stated: “The ARTF is the World Bank’s largest and longest-standing single-country multi-donor trust fund. As Afghanistan faces severe impacts from COVID-19 and political uncertainty, the ARTF continues to be instrumental in helping the government maintain the delivery of public services to the Afghan people.”

“Today’s meeting sent a strong signal that the World Bank and ARTF donors will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan at this critical time and protect hard-won gains achieved in the past 20 years,” he said.

Developed in coordination with ARTF donors and the Afghan government, the new PFFP adjusts ARTF programs to Afghanistan’s fast-changing context and aligns with the ANPDF 2 and the Afghanistan Partnership Framework principles endorsed at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, while remaining a flexible and adaptable instrument.  

“The Afghan government and the international community need to work together to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve progress in the coming years,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

“The World Bank Group remains committed to working with the Government of Afghanistan and its partners to ensure continued service delivery to the people of Afghanistan in these difficult times,” he added.

The ARTF Steering Committee also endorsed the Country Portfolio Performance Review that has helped ARTF donors identify challenges and opportunities in Afghanistan while developing the ARTF programs for the coming years.

Latest News

Abdullah quashes rumors of districts being abandoned intentionally

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Following the collapse of a number of districts across Afghanistan in the past six weeks, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah stated that “the abandonment of these districts (by security forces) was unplanned”.

So far, at least 33 districts have fallen to the Taliban since May 1.

In the most recent development, Anar Dara district in Farah province; Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province; and Gosfandi and Sayyad districts of Sar-e-Pul province were captured by the militants in the last 24 hours.

Sources told Ariana News that at least 40 members of the Afghan forces have been killed in Sar-e-Pul alone in the last week.

Abdullah, however, stated that there had been no plans ahead of time by security forces to abandon the districts. This comes after rumors started circulating a few days ago that security forces have intentionally planned to hand over districts to the Taliban.

Addressing a meeting with Friedrich Ebert Foundation members on Tuesday, Abdullah said: “The consecutive abandonment of the districts by the security forces is not part of an orderly plan.”

“It is not true that the districts are being handed over to the Taliban based on a plan,” Abdullah added.

Abdullah also called on people to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) amid a surge in clashes across the country.

“We know the situation is bad, but it is the responsibility of all of us to carry the burden and to come up with [support for] the current situation,” he stated.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Taliban captures another 4 districts bringing total to 33

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Taliban militants have captured another four districts in four provinces in the last 24 hours, sources confirmed.

According to the sources, Anar Dara district in Farah province; Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province; and Gosfandi and Sayyad districts of Sar-e-Pul province were captured by the militants, bringing the number of fallen districts to 33 since May 1.

Afghan officials, however, stated that Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) have “tactically retreated” from the districts.

In Farah, the Taliban blew up the government compound after capturing the center of Anar Dara district.

Police said the compound was completely destroyed in the explosion.

In Uruzgan, the insurgents captured the government compound, police headquarters, provincial NDS headquarters, and a number of public facilities on Tuesday morning.

This comes after First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Monday called the advancement of the Taliban a “narrow line” and warned that the paths into the districts will be turned into a mass graveyard for the militants.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saleh said: “Those who know how to fight with the Taliban, know that this narrow line will become the mass graveyard of this group of terror and ignorance.”

Saleh, meanwhile, stated that the Taliban militants have not changed the way they treat the people of Afghanistan.

“Do not be deceived by [Taliban’s] propaganda. Resisting the Taliban is defending human values and dignity. Taliban has no message for the people of this country other than demanding obedience as a slave life,” Saleh said.

Continue Reading

Latest News

U.N. readies for more displaced Afghans after troop withdrawal

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

The United Nations is preparing for a likely further displacement of civilians in Afghanistan after U.S. and international troops leave the country in September, U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi told Reuters on Monday.

Violence has been rising as foreign forces begin withdrawing and efforts to broker a peace settlement between the Afghan government and insurgent Taliban have slowed.

Grandi pointed to a deadly attack last week on an international demining organization in northern Afghanistan, which killed 10 people.

“This is a tragic indicator of the type of violence that may be resurfacing in Afghanistan and with the withdrawal of the international troops this is possibly or likely going to become worse,” Grandi said.

“Therefore we are doing contingency planning inside the country for further displacement, in the neighboring countries in case people might cross borders,” he said, without offering details of those plans.

There are currently some 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan globally, while another 4.8 million have been displaced within the country, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, which Grandi heads.

After 20 years, the United States has started a withdrawal of its remaining 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and aims to be completely out of the country by Sept. 11. Around 7,000 non-U.S. forces from mainly NATO countries – along with Australia, New Zealand and Georgia – are also planning to leave by Sept. 11.

Grandi said strong international support was needed for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“It’s political action that should substitute conflict but, of course, the risk (of further displacement) is there and we need to be prepared,” he added.

U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

“What’s needed is a high level of economic support for Afghanistan humanitarian assistance to maximize the chance the Afghan authorities have to stabilize the situation,” U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told Reuters on Monday.

“There’s been very good and constructive outreach from the Biden administration, from the White House down, and we have actually had very productive discussions with them on that,” added Lowcock, who steps down from his role this month.

Earlier this month, the United States announced more than $266 million in new humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, bringing to nearly $3.9 billion the total amount of such aid it has provided since 2002.

Some 18.4 million people, almost half the country’s population, need humanitarian help, according to the United, Nations, which has appealed for $1.3 billion in funding for 2021. So far it has only received about 23% of that.

Lowcock said that until a few years ago there had been a lot of international attention in Afghanistan. That has “dissipated and weakened and that is a sort of problem when it comes to drawing attention to the needs of Afghanistan and getting support for them.”

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 Ariana News. All rights reserved!