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IEA in two-day talks with EU, highlight need for humanitarian aid

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

European Union officials held two days of talks with representatives of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in Doha this weekend to discuss a number of issues including the worsening humanitarian situation in the country.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, Afghanistan’s foreign affairs spokesman, said on Monday that both delegations exchanged views about the humanitarian, health, security, safe passage of travellers and the need for humanitarian assistance.

“The EU delegation expressed willingness to continue assisting Afghan people and informed about continued presence of an EU humanitarian office in Kabul providing humanitarian assistance,” Balkhi said in a tweet.

According to him, the Afghan delegation reassured the EU about security, and said the IEA stressed the need to move “forward through cooperation rather than pressure”.

According to a statement issued by the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS), their delegation, led by EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson, the EU intends to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Afghans.

“Both sides underlined the necessity of humanitarian access and of men and women participating in assessing the needs for, and the delivery of, humanitarian assistance to ensure equal access for women, men and children,” the statement read.

While EU development assistance to Afghanistan remains suspended, the EU delegation expressed its willingness to consider providing substantial financial assistance for the direct benefit of the Afghan people, in addition to humanitarian assistance.

Such assistance, now known as humanitarian+, would be channelled exclusively through international organizations and NGOs, which would help to ensure essential services such as health and education and sustain the livelihoods of the population.

The EU delegation also noted the possibility of establishing a minimal presence on the ground in Kabul, but that it would directly depend on the security situation so as to ensure adequate protection of its staff and premises.

The Afghan delegation was led by acting Foreign Minister Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi and also included Sheikh Noorullah Munir, acting Minister of Education; Dr Qalandar Ibaad, acting Minister of Public Health; Mawlavi Mohammad Idris, the acting Governor of the Central Bank; as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior, and the General Directorate of Intelligence.

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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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