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Ghani addresses special UN session on fight against COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2020)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday evening addressed the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 Pandemic and said government moved quickly to contain the virus after the first case was reported in Herat in February.

“The COVID 19 pandemic came to Afghanistan at the end of February via Herat province, which shares a border with Iran.

“We moved quickly in anticipation that the virus would hit us hard. After analysis and consultation with diverse groups across Afghan society, we planned the response to the pandemic according to five phases of the crisis—acknowledgement, diffusion, adversity, relief and recovery,” Ghani said adding that the virus peaked in June.

He said that because of Afghanistan’s quick response, the country managed to maintain relatively low mortality rates. “We managed our response to not jeopardize livelihoods in the long-term or increase already high levels of poverty and food insecurity.”

He said Afghanistan had learned a number of lessons through this – firstly that “the vast scale of the disruptive and destructive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming clearer by the day.”

He said short-term impacts were seen almost immediately which included the loss of lives, the loss of jobs, and the downturn in the economy.

“But the medium to long-term impacts, we have not yet fully grasped. So, while we cope with the immediate impact, we need to look ahead and prepare for the long-term effects,” he said.

The second lesson learned was that the impact of the pandemic has been global and that while the response has been mostly national, “we have been unable, as an international community, to fully take advantage of the interconnected nature of our work to combat the disease.”

He pointed out that the world had an opportunity to respond to the pandemic with a level of unity and solidarity but instead countries experienced divisions.

He said a global focal point would have made the response more effective and coordinated, and global resources should have been mobilized on a larger scale.

The third lesson learned was that the pandemic has not been a leveler as expected; but instead, it has exacerbated existing gaps and inequalities across developed and developing nations.

“Countries in special situations have been especially hard hit. For example, we as a poor country, like many others around the globe, were not able to design and implement effective stimulus packages.

“We also had to be very careful in instituting lockdowns to avoid inflicting serious damage on our economy and peoples’ livelihoods, which could have inflicted more suffering than the virus itself,” he said.

Ghani also pointed out that this will continue even once a vaccine becomes available, because administering a vaccine requires capabilities and infrastructure that poor countries do not have.

“The role of multilateral organizations in the joint distribution of the vaccine will be critical. Our call for the vaccine to be a global public good must be loud and clear.” he said.

Ghani also said that Afghanistan is now facing its second wave and with little understanding of how cold weather will affect the nature of the pandemic.

He said he hopes that the international community will be able to draw from the lessons learned through this second wave and that a clear, phased approach needs to be designed and replicated nationally, regionally and globally.

He did say that the world is in a better position now to plan to ensure food security and basic human security in the face of subsequent waves.

“We must make sure that supply chains that were disrupted during the first wave are either restored or alternatives put in place to ensure basic needs are met.”

He also said the pandemic has transformed the way the world does business and the way everyone now lives.

“But it’s not all negative. COVID pushed the digitalization of the world at a speed that was inconceivable. And moving into subsequent waves of the pandemic, we need to embrace digital technology to further a global dialogue around policy, accessing and distributing the vaccine. To take advantage of these technologies, more must, however, be done to address the digital divide.”

“We will not be able to return to our pre-pandemic ways of communicating and governing. The pandemic opened up new possibilities for coordination and cooperation; for example, tele-medicine and distance learning. We need to embrace this change.”

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Ashraf Ghani found to have lied countless times during his tenure

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Ashraf Ghani, former president of Afghanistan, has been found to have lied dozens of times during his seven years in office and made as many, if not more, commitments which he failed to keep.

During the inauguration of Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz province in March this year, Ghani said that Afghanistan will export electricity to Pakistan and India within five years.

This was said despite Afghanistan relying heavily on its neighbors for at least 70% of its power.

Afghans on Sunday slammed Ghani and branded him a liar and said one cannot believe a word he said.

According to Afghans, Ghani was a deceptive president.

In another instance, Ghani pledged to stay in his home country and to never leave.

Just weeks before Ghani fled the country he said: “Everyone is going, but I am not going. It is my home and it is my grave.”

The following is a short list of commitments made by Ghani that were not kept.

1- Ghani promised to create one millions jobs, but instead five million lost their jobs.
2- During a trip to Badghis province, Ghani promised to establish an academic college and a technical school in every district. This never happened.

3- He also pledged to allocate and give land to all teachers. Again this never happened.

4- He made promises to supply all districts in the country with electricity. Less than 9% of the rural population have electricity, while 75% of Afghans live in rural areas.

5-Ghani promised to end the bloodshed in the country countless times. This never happened under his rule.

6-He also vowed to build 6,000 schools. Nothing came of this.
8- Ghani also made numerous promises to make sure that every family had food on their tables – yet most soldiers went without pay for months.

Kabul residents are angry and have not only accused him stealing over $168 million dollars in cash as he fled the country on August 15 but also labeled him a complete liar.

“Every speech of Ashraf Ghani’s was a lie. He deceived the people of Afghanistan.

“None of his commitments were implemented,” said Mohamad Maseh, a Kabul resident.

Ghani made dozens of other commitments that he never achieved, which has had a profound impact on the lives of ordinary Afghans.

Teachers were not only promised land but housing as well. This never materialized, while Ghani also went back on his word when he said he would pay the salaries of civil servants from his own pocket if needed.

“Ghani deceived the people and told hundreds of lies and then fled,” said Rohid, a Kabul resident.

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Muttaqi says non-recognition of IEA govt is benefitting Daesh

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Turkey can play “an active role in investing, realizing some projects, renovating and restoring Afghanistan,” with the resources it possesses, according to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s new acting foreign minister.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency during his visit to the country this week, Amir Khan Muttaqi said the official recognition of his government and international aid held great importance to the recovery of the country’s economy.

While in Turkey, Muttaqi met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed issues related to the official recognition of the IEA and the unfreezing by the US of Afghanistan’s assets.

Muttaqi said the freezing of reserves by the US after the IEA’s takeover, violated international law and human rights.

He stressed money blocked by the US was sent from other states for the development of Afghanistan.

“The real question is, why was this money blocked? What did the citizens of Afghanistan do?,” he asked.

“On the other hand, the US and other countries say that humanitarian aid should be given to Afghanistan and human rights should be respected. But, they leave the Afghan people with a population of about 40 million without basic necessities.”

However, he told Anadolu Agency that not recognizing the new government in Afghanistan benefits Daesh (ISIS-K) but dismissed concerns that the group was a threat to Afghanistan.

“They are carrying out attacks on mosques and streets. You will agree that it is not an easy task to ensure the safety of all mosques and streets. They do not own any place in Afghanistan,” he said adding that “the fact that the new state in Afghanistan is not officially recognized is beneficial to Daesh/ISIS.

“The countries of the world, on the one hand, say control the Afghan people so they do not emigrate. On the other hand, they do not officially recognize the government and give morale to Daesh/ISIS. This is in the interest of neither Afghanistan nor the world,” he said.

Turkey and the new administration in Afghanistan held their first high-level contact after the IEA took power on August 15.

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Merkel hopes Germany continues to work with Turkey

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

In a farewell visit to Turkey, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will continue to maintain a working relationship with Turkey, and stressed the need for continued cooperation on migration and other issues.

“The relationship between Turkey and Germany, with its positive and negative sides, will go on,” Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the steps of Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace.

“Everybody knows the security and independence of both our countries depends on each other.”

“We want to prevent human trafficking. It is essential … for the EU to support Turkey in this regard,” she said.

Merkel stressed that Turkey and Germany always have common interests, and added that this would be how the next federal government will see it.

Erdogan said Turkey would “always remember the good faith and the contribution” Merkel made towards maintaining ties with Turkey.

“From prevention of irregular migration from Syria, to dispatching humanitarian aid to northern Syria, on many topics Merkel did not abstain from taking the initiative and taking responsibility,” Erdogan said.

Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years, and Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 19 years, are perhaps the most seasoned political leaders in the region. At times, Merkel has pushed for maintaining ties with Turkey despite pressure at home over contentious issues such as migration and human rights.

Merkel is preparing to leave active politics later this year, but she will remain in her post until a new coalition government is formed.

Her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) narrowly lost the general elections late last month.

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