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Asian leaders attend regional summit, pledge to help Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

The leaders of several Asian countries pledged to provide assistance to Afghanistan during a summit in Turkmenistan on Sunday.

The countries, which are part of the 10-member Economic Cooperation Organization that includes Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and six former Soviet nations, called for the removal of trade barriers and the development of new transport corridors across the region, VOA reported.

The Asian nations also pledged to help stabilize Afghanistan.

Speaking at the summit, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi said the Islamic world needs to pool efforts to help avert a “catastrophe that could foment chaos and conflict.”

He said countries in the region need to move quickly to help rebuild the Afghan economy, shore up the country’s health care and education systems and offer humanitarian assistance, VOA reported.

Alvi also stated that a stable Afghanistan would allow the implementation of long-stalled infrastructure projects, including a gas pipeline, railways and power grids linking countries in the region.

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said that these projects would help offer “colossal cooperation prospects and help attract foreign investment,” which would strongly benefit Afghanistan and its neighbors.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Afghanistan’s economic meltdown could trigger a massive refugee exodus that would affect the entire region.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also offered help, saying that Afghanistan desperately needs food, fuel and financial assistance as winter sets in.

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Pakistan NSA claims Afghan soil still being used against Pakistan, IEA denies

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf has claimed Thursday that Afghan soil was still being used against Pakistan, Dawn News reported.

Briefing Pakistan’s National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yusuf has also claimed that “organized terrorist networks” are operating in the country.

“Had a very productive discussion on the National Security Policy (NSP) and Afghanistan. I am grateful for the appreciation we received for our work from members of the committee,” Yusuf tweeted.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), however, has consistently emphasized that Afghanistan’s territory is not a threat to any country and that no terrorist group is allowed to operate against other countries from inside Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Emirate has good relations with all countries in the region and we do not want any country to be threatened by Afghanistan,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.

Pakistani NSA, meanwhile, informed lawmakers that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had unilaterally broken the month-long ceasefire agreement with the government.

“Those who declare war on the country will be dealt with an iron fist,” said Yusuf quoted by the Dawn News.

 

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Qatar, Turkiye, IEA agree on ‘several key issues’ to run Kabul airport

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

Qatar, Turkiye, and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) agreed on “several key issues” to operate the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul on Thursday.

“The delegations of the State of Qatar, the Republic of Turkey and the Afghan caretaker government concluded Thursday in Doha a tripartite meeting on the management and operation of Kabul International Airport,” a Qatari Foreign Ministry statement said.

“They agreed on several key issues on how to manage and operate the airport,” the ministry added.

The ministry said that the meeting in Doha came as a continuation of previous talks, the latest round of which took place in Kabul last week.

The final round of negotiations will take place next week, it added.

Flights were suspended at Afghanistan’s main international airport in Kabul after the IEA took over power last August and the US troops destroyed equipment and a radar system at the facility before leaving the country.

In late December 2021, diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency that Turkiye and Qatar agreed to jointly operate the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan.

After talks between committees from both countries, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Turkish and Qatari companies to operate the airport in collaboration on the basis of equal partnership.

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Bus services restart in Kabul and provinces: officials

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

Meli Bus company officials said on Thursday that they have restarted bus services in Kabul and some provinces in the country.

According to officials, 100 buses in Kabul city are back on the road and 32 others are operational in Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar, Laghman, Parwan and Paktia provinces.

“Buses are running in Kabul city on many routes, and will continue in the future. We are working on [restoring services] in the province also,” said Mohammad Ayoub Mohammadi, head of Meli Bus company.

Kabul residents welcomed the move and many said that their transport problems will now be resolved.

“It is a positive step in this bad economic situation. Facilitation should be brought to people’s lives,” said Zakriya, a resident of Kabul.

“Before that the officials were renting these cars (buses), it was not good. Now it should be managed very well,” said Anayatullah, a Kabul resident.

Kabul municipality officials meanwhile said that they have removed many concrete barriers in the city, and that efforts are underway to make things easier for commuters.

“We have cleared many of the places and routes in coordination with the Ministry of Interior,” said Namatullah Barakzai, spokesman for the Kabul municipality.

This comes amid complaints by Kabul residents of high taxi fares.

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