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Ghani claims 10,000 militants entered from Pakistan in past month

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(Last Updated On: July 17, 2021)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani singled out Pakistan during Friday’s session of the C5+1 meeting in Uzbekistan and said over 10,000 militant fighters had entered Afghanistan from Pakistan and other “places” in the past month.

He also said the consensus among international observers is that the Taliban has not taken any steps to sever its ties to terrorist organizations.

“Contrary to the repeated assurances by [Pakistan’s] Prime Minister [Imran] Khan, and his generals, that Pakistan does not find a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan [to be] in Pakistan’s interest, short of use of force will use its power to influence to make the Taliban negotiate seriously, networks and organizations are openly celebrating the destruction of the assets and capabilities of the Afghan people and state.”

Responding to the charges, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “disappointed” by the allegation that Pakistan had a “negative role” in the conflict.

“President Ghani, the country that is going to be most affected by turmoil in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years. The last thing Pakistan wants is more conflict,” Khan said.

“I can assure you that no country has tried harder to get Taliban on the dialogue table than Pakistan.”

“We have taken all action short of taking military action, and every effort to bring them to the dialogue table and have a peaceful settlement there, and to blame Pakistan for what is going on in Afghanistan is extremely unfair,” he added.

The exchange of words came as another spat broke out between Kabul and Islamabad over allegations by Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh that the Pakistan military had warned Afghan forces against dislodging Taliban from Spin Boldak area.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry denied the claim, saying it acknowledged Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the conference that America’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan has destabilized the region and worsened the terrorist threat.

“Regrettably, we have witnessed a quick degradation of the situation in Afghanistan in the last few days,” Lavrov told the gathering, pointing to the “hasty withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO contingents.”
“The crisis in Afghanistan has led to the exacerbation of the terrorist threat and the problem of illegal drug trafficking that has reached an unprecedented scale,” he said.

“There are real risks of instability spilling into neighboring countries.”

Lavrov also dashed any hopes the U.S. may have of using bases in Central Asia to monitor terror threats in Afghanistan. While Pakistan and Uzbekistan have already given Washington a flat no, Lavrov said there are no Central Asian states ready to take that risk.

Meanwhile, in an interview with The Associated Press, U.S. peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said he would press for at least a temporary cease-fire during next week’s Eid al-Adha.
Khalilzad, who expressed surprise at the Taliban’s rapid sweep through swaths of Afghanistan, said a long-term “comprehensive” cease-fire may have to wait for the two sides to reach a political deal. Still, he said he will press for a reduction in violence.

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John Kerry and Imran Khan discuss Afghanistan on sidelines of MGI summit

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The United States’ Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, spoke with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Riyadh yesterday on the sidelines of the “Middle East Green Initiative (MGI)” Summit.

In the regional context, the Imran Khan underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister stressed the need for the international community to work pragmatically to preserve peace and security, avert a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and prevent an economic collapse.

Imran Khan also underscored the need for positive engagement and release of Afghanistan’s economic resources and financial assets for the welfare of the Afghan people.

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Afghanistan on ‘countdown to catastrophe’ as winter looms

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The combined shocks of drought, conflict, COVID-19 and an economic crisis in Afghanistan, have left more than half the population facing a record level of acute hunger, according to a new UN assessment published on Monday.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), revealed that the lives, livelihoods and access to food for 22.8 million people will be severely impacted.

“It is urgent that we act efficiently and effectively to speed up and scale up our delivery in Afghanistan before winter cuts off a large part of the country, with millions of people – including farmers, women, young children and the elderly – going hungry in the freezing winter”, said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “It is a matter of life or death”.

According to the report, more than one-in-two Afghans will face Phase 3 crisis or Phase 4 emergency levels of acute food insecurity from November through to March (winter) and will require an urgent international response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

“We cannot wait and see humanitarian disasters unfolding in front of us – it is unacceptable”, he added.

This is the highest number of acutely food insecure people ever recorded by the UN, during 10 years of conducting IPC analyses in Afghanistan.

And globally, the country is home to one of the largest number of people facing acute hunger.

“Hunger is rising and children are dying”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

“We can’t feed people on promises – funding commitments must turn into hard cash, and the international community must come together to address this crisis, which is fast spinning out of control”.

Among those at risk are 3.2 million children under five, who are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year.

Last month, WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that without immediate life-saving treatment, one million children risked dying from severe acute malnutrition.

And for the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities.

“Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed”, said the WFP chief.

“This winter, millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation unless we can step up our life-saving assistance, and unless the economy can be resuscitated”.

To meet rising needs, the UN will need to mobilize resources at unprecedented levels, yet the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan remains only a third funded.

“We are on a countdown to catastrophe and if we don’t act now, we will have a total disaster on our hands”, Beasley said.

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IEA excluded from Tehran meeting on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, plus Russia, is scheduled to start Wednesday in Tehran without the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), which has not been invited.

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign minister has said that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will give an opening address and that foreign ministers of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan will attend the meeting in person, and the foreign ministers of China and Russia will attend the meeting virtually.

On Monday an IEA official said they had asked Iran for details on the meeting but had so far not received anything.

According to IRNA news agency, the UN Secretary General António Guterres will also issue a message to this meeting.

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a press conference on Tuesday: “The meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries will be held tomorrow with the participation of six neighboring countries, plus Russia.”

He also said that the ambassadors of the participating countries will be present.

Khatibzadeh said a statement would be made once consensus among neighboring countries has been reached.

“Tomorrow, the focus will be on fulfilling the will of the Afghan people and the future of this country,” Khatibzadeh added.

Bahadar Aminian, Iranian ambassador in Kabul said Monday that economic and security problems and establishing an inclusive government will be discussed at the Tehran meeting.

“Countries in the region in Tehran meeting will emphasize responsibility about security, economic stability and an inclusive government,” said Aminian.

The Iranian envoy added that participants will also discuss sending humanitarian aid for Afghans and talk about development projects in Afghanistan.

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