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Germany pledges 600 million euro in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 5, 2021)

Germany has pledged an additional 600 million euro to increase humanitarian assistance and provide funding for international organizations which support Afghans in need.

German Foreign Ministry said in a statement that this aid will directly benefit people via partner organizations such as the World Food Programme (WFP), and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

This comes as the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was critical even before the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) seized power, and the situation is continuing to deteriorate, the statement said.

According to the statement, more than half of the Afghan population, 22.8 million people, are at risk of starvation. Some 5.5 million Afghans are internally displaced, while almost as many have fled to neighboring countries or the region at large.

“The already weak economy has slumped further since the Taliban (IEA) took over power. Many people who used to be able to provide for themselves without any problems have lost their work, resulting in them and their families becoming dependent on assistance. At the same time, a severe drought is decimating the harvest yields,” the statement noted.

The statement noted that the German Government is providing this assistance mainly based on the needs calculated by the United Nations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement.

“The relief organizations can use this money to provide quick and efficient assistance for millions of people in need throughout the country.”

“Our partners ensure that the assistance is only used for humanitarian purposes and does not fall into the hands of the Taliban (IEA),” read the statement.

Meanwhile, Germany will also assist vulnerable Afghans in neighboring countries such as Iran and Pakistan.

“The World Food Programme (WFP), for instance, is helping people who had to leave their villages due to the hostilities or the ongoing severe drought and who have lost their livelihood as a result.”

“The WFP is making available food and heating fuel to these people or providing cash so that families can buy their own supplies. This also benefits the local economy, as people can once more buy basic necessities in the markets,” the statement added.

The UNHCR, with Germany’s help, has set up accommodation, sanitary facilities, and medical stations. Here the refugees, including many children, find shelter and receive medical care as well as essential supplies, the statement concluded.

 

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Putin discusses Afghanistan with Modi in Delhi

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2021)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi on Monday, with trade and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan both on the agenda.

“The fight against terrorism is also a fight against drug trafficking and organised crime,” Putin said in introductory remarks broadcast by Indian media.

“In that regard, we are concerned about developments of the situation in Afghanistan,” he said.

The visit by Putin and several top Russian officials comes amid increasingly strained relations between Russia and the United States, also a key Indian ally.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a deal to supply India with S-400 air defense missile systems was being implemented despite what he said were U.S. efforts to undermine the accord.

India and Russia are expected to cement several trade and defense pacts at the summit.

“The relation between India and Russia is truly a unique and reliable model,” Modi said.

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COVID-19: Afghan officials warn of possible fourth wave

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2021)

Officials at the Afghan-Japan hospital in Kabul on Monday warned that another surge in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan was expected after 620 new cases were reported in the past three weeks.

They said that 350 people out of the 620 have been hospitalized.

According to doctors, 10 people have died of the virus in this time.

“The problem is the lack of salaries and lack of equipment. If the virus comes from neighboring countries, we will face a major crisis,” said Tariq Ahmad Akbari, head of the Afghan-Japan hospital.
Sources have also said laboratory screening is being done privately due to the lack of supplies in hospitals.

“We do some of the [laboratory] tests outside that cost 1,600 [AFG]. We are happy with the staff at the Afghan-Japan hospital. Treatment is good here,” said Tajudin, a relative of one of the patients.

The Ministry of Public Health meanwhile said that they do not have the capacity to tackle a fourth wave of COVID-19.

“After the Islamic Emirate takeover, there have been problems. The World Bank supported the hospital financially. Because of this we don’t have the budget for Coronavirus and health staff and patients are facing problems,” said Dr Abdul Bari Omar, deputy minister of public health.

Some concerned citizens have however voiced concern about people not wearing masks in public and breaking social distancing rules.

Public awareness campaigns have also stopped.

This comes after a new variant of COVID-19 was detected in South Africa last month.

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Afghans urge IEA to preserve historical sites

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2021)

Afghans have called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to help preserve the country’s rich heritage of historical sites which they say could attract thousands of foreign tourists a year.

Dozens of historical sites are dotted around the country, including the famous Bamiyan Buddha niches. However, many of these have fallen into disrepair after years of conflict.

One local tourist, who was visiting Bamiyan, said he decided to visit the province following the take over of the IEA and the improved security situation.

“We came to see the area where the statues of Bamiyan are located, as a historical place. Security in the country has improved since the Taliban (IEA) came to power. People can easily travel from one place to another which was not the case before,” said Amanullah Mahmoodzai.

Another local tourist visiting the Buddhas was Hussainullah who also urged the IEA to restore sites. He said the local Bamiyan residents would then benefit from an increase in tourism.

“This is a historical place worth visiting. If it is repaired, more tourists will come and help the people of the area,” he said.

Another wellknown site is the UNESCO World Heritage listed minaret of Jam in Ghor province.

The 65-metre high minaret was built around 1190 entirely of baked bricks and is famous for its intricate brick, stucco and glazed tile decoration.

Since 2002, the minaret has remained on the list of World Heritage in Danger as it is under serious threat of erosion and for the past seven years, experts have warned that it is in imminent danger of collapse.

But recently, the IEA assigned a team of 30 people to safeguard the structure.

After the IEA’s takeover, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay issued a statement calling “for the preservation of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage in its diversity, in full respect of international law, and for taking all necessary precautions to spare and protect cultural heritage from damage and looting.”

Afghanistan’s cultural heritage is vast as for millennia, it was a crossroads of many civilisations that left a remarkable legacy, from the Medes to the Mongols, Mughals and Durrani, to the kingdom and the long period of conflict that started in 1979.

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