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Cold and without shelter, migrants in northern France have narrow options

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2021)

NGO workers and independent volunteers tended to migrants in a makeshift camp in Loon-Plage on Saturday, as the cold weather posed greater risks to their health.

Many migrants remained undeterred to cross the English Channel to Britain despite a recent dinghy capsizing that claimed the lives of 27.

“What happened last week, is the result of the pressure on exiled people which makes them take all kinds of risks and try to cross to Britain, whatever the weather. Because living here is simply impossible,” Salam NGO worker Pascaline Delaby told Reuters.

Seventeen men, seven women and three teenagers died on Wednesday (November 24) when their dinghy deflated in the Channel, one of many such risky journeys attempted in small, overloaded boats by people fleeing poverty and war in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.

A makeshift camp with tents has formed in Loon-Plage, near the site of a recently dismantled larger encampment in Grande-Synthe. Here, exposed to the elements, migrants gathered around fires, some wrapped in blankets.

When volunteers arrive, they queue for warm clothing, food, or a cup of coffee or tea.

Others received medical care from NGO workers treating wounds stemming from walking over long distances or the bitter cold.

“It’s a great concern to us that it’s getting colder, especially with people being evicted through the winter,” said First Aid Support Team NGO worker Helen Roberts.

She added that the cold weather also increased the risks of diseases such as pneumonia.

French authorities routinely dismantle migrant camps along the coast in an effort to discourage migrants from coming and attempting the crossing to Great Britain.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin is convening his counterparts from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the EU in Calais on Sunday (November 28), to tackle the migrant crisis.

UK Home Minister Priti Patel was disinvited to the meeting, after British Prime Minister Borish Johnson poster on Twitter a letter addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he insisted that France agree on joint patrols on its shores and consent to taking back the migrants that make it to Britain.

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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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