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EU Envoy Stresses on Afghan Ceasefire, Kabul-Taliban Direct Talks

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(Last Updated On: March 27, 2019)

Federica Maria Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy visited Kabul on Tuesday, where she stressed on Afghan ceasefire and direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Speaking at a joint press conference with President Ashraf Ghani in the Presidential Palace, Mogherini said that the European Union will continue to support and stand with the Afghan people in the ongoing peace negotiations and that will never leave them alone.

She said conditions for peace have been provided and that Afghans should move the process forward.

“Time has come for the Afghans, all the Afghans, non-excluded, to take the future of their country in their hands and for a peace process that can be really sustainable, we see the needs to meet some conditions to make any negotiation sustainable over time,” she said.

Mogherini, meanwhile, highlighted some key points which upon the European Union will be in support of the Afghan people.

“First of all a ceasefire agreed by the Taliban and peace talks with the Afghan government, an inclusive negotiation team to be established with representatives of all Afghan society including women,” Mogherini said. “Women are proved to be able to play a central role in peace negotiations worldwide.”

“Upholding and strengthening economic and social achievements of the last 18 years particularly, in the rights of women, girls, children, and minorities. I would say upholding and strengthening the constitutional framework and democratic setup of the country,” Mogherini added.

EU envoy further said that for peace to be “durable and sustainable the Afghan people are called to be not the spectators but the authors to write their own present and their own future.”

However, apart from Afghans, she said there are other players that have a “crucial” role in the peace process, the international community including the United States and regional countries including Russia, China, Pakistan, and Iran.

Mogherini, who visited Pakistan ahead of his visit to Kabul, said that Pakistani leadership expressed their support to peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

 She said that the European Union will remain committed to supporting Afghanistan.

“We will be at your side in this difficult but important journey and we do as always all we can to accompany the Afghan people and their democratically elected institutions in this particular moment of their history,” Mogherini said.    

On his turn, President Ghani indirectly pointed towards recent domestic and international political pressures about peace and said that peace cannot be achieved through threats. 

He said stability in Afghanistan is in favor of stability in the region and the world. 

He stressed the upcoming consultative Loya Jirga would provide the opportunity for Afghan people to decide on their future.

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Thousands take exams for Turkish-run schools in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

Thousands of Afghan students, including girls under grade 7, took entrance exams on Friday for a Turkish foundation in Kabul that runs some of Afghanistan’s most highly regarded schools.

As many as 3,600 students sat the highly competitive exams for the Afghan-Turk school system, Afghan-Turk School’s officials said.

“We want all girls to be educated. This is our president’s and our government’s wish and that of Afghans,” the Educational Councillor at Kabul’s Turkish Embassy, Changez Idmir, said at a news conference to mark the holding of the entrance tests.

Facing mounting global pressure, the IEA has said they will allow older girls to resume classes once arrangements are made to ensure they can do so in conformity with what the movement considers proper Islamic standards.

Afghan-Turk schools are regarded among the top schools in Afghanistan and admission is highly competitive.

Unofficially, many parts of the country have seen older girls restart classes, while officially the IEA says they are still working on a national system.

Ehsan Khateb, Head of Kabul Education Department, also attended the ceremony and thanked the Turkish government.

Afghan-Turk schools have had to make changes to their curriculum, shutting music, theatre, and dance departments at the request of IEA officials, the head of the Turkish educational foundation, Salleh Saghar, told Reuters.

The foundation respected the rules and culture of the host country, he said.

“Like the music, theatre, and dancing department … based on Taliban (IEA) requests we closed the departments,” he said, and it was for the IEA government to decide if they would reopen.

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Afghan humanitarian crisis, drug trafficking alarm India, Russia, China

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

The foreign ministers of India, Russia and China expressed concern on Friday at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the spread of drug trafficking in the country.

Afghanistan has been plunged into crisis by the abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign assistance, following the collapse of the Western-backed government and return to power of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in August.

“Expressing concern over deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the Ministers called for immediate and unhindered humanitarian assistance to be provided to Afghanistan,” said a joint statement released following a virtual meeting between India’s S Jaishankar, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov and China’s Wang Yi.

The three countries also pledged to do more to combat drug smuggling in the region.

“The spread of illicit drug trafficking in opiates and methamphetamine from Afghanistan and beyond… poses a serious threat to regional security and stability and provides funding for terrorist organizations,” the statement added.

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Kabul hospitals receive more children suffering from malnutrition

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

Hospitals in Kabul are receiving more child patients suffering from malnutrition, as the humanitarian crisis worsens in the country amid conflicts and economic collapse.

About 20 children, many below five years old, are currently receiving treatment in the Kabul Children’s Hospital, one of the children’s medical centers in the city offering free medical services for Afghan people.

The hospital has opened a special area for the treatment of malnutrition as the number of malnourished child patients keeps increasing.

Three wards are full of children with pale faces and dull eyes. Some of them are relying on oxygen to maintain the faint breath, and others look puffy and swollen as they suffer oedema caused by severe deficiency of protein and other nutriment.

“Most of the malnourished patients here come from the countryside. As it starts to snow and the weather becomes cold, it will be difficult for them to go to the clinic or come here for treatment. The number of malnourished patients is likely to increase,” said Latif Baher, director of the hospital.

In an interview with China Central Television, Latif said the hospital is being expanded to receive more malnourished child patients. A special building will be established to accommodate about 100 malnourished children.

Latif said prolonged conflicts and the poor living environment have resulted in the malnutrition among people.

“Afghans are living in a bad situation. The adults in the family cannot get enough food, and they cannot provide enough nutrition such as protein or carbohydrates to their children,” he said.

Without reliable access to water, food and basic health and nutrition services, Afghan children and their families are bearing the brunt of years of conflict and the current economic crisis, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The fund reported last month that about 14 million people in Afghanistan are facing acute food insecurity, and an estimated 3.2 million children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year. At least 1 million of these children are at risk of dying due to severe acute malnutrition without immediate treatment.

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