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Intense fighting a serious challenge for patients, MSF staff in Helmand

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

Médecins Sans Frontières reported Tuesday that while fighting has been intense since May in Helmand province, clashes between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban have intensified in recent weeks and spread to more urban areas such as the provincial capital of Lashkargah city.

“There has been relentless gunfire, airstrikes and mortars in densely populated areas. Houses are being bombed, and many people are suffering severe injuries,” says Sarah Leahy, coordinator of the MSF Helmand project.

“Fighting within the city makes it harder for us to respond; our staff are part of the community and they, like many people, are afraid to leave their homes. It’s just far too dangerous and life is at a standstill,” says Leahy.

“Some of our colleagues are staying overnight in the hospital as it’s safer, but also so they can keep on treating patients. The situation has been dire for months but now it is even worse.”

Despite the challenges, the MSF-supported Boost hospital remains operational and has seen a marked increase in trauma needs over the past week.

“In just one day we performed 10 surgeries on people injured by violence, which is unheard of for us as we are not Lashkargah’s main provider of trauma care,” says Leahy. “Before last week we were operating on average on two war-wounded people per day.”

The main trauma centre in the city is run by another organisation, and is also under immense pressure; the people they cannot admit are sent to MSF for care, the statement read.

Between 29 and 31 July alone, MSF treated 70 war-wounded patients. In total from 3 May until 31 July, we have treated 482 war-wounded people, nearly all (92 per cent) for injuries caused by shells and bullets, and around a quarter (26 per cent) aged under 18. The patients seen by MSF are just a fraction of the total number injured by the violence, the organization reported.

MSF also said the conflict is stopping people from seeking medical attention when ill.

“The conflict leads people to think 10 times about whether they really want to make the journey. They delay until they can’t wait anymore, when their relatives haven’t opened their eyes for two or three days, have shallow breathing and are unresponsive. From a medical perspective, that’s almost too late.”

Even amongst MSF staff, the impact of the fighting is clearly visible. “Healthcare staff are exhausted. The work itself, seeing all these patients, is hugely difficult. And then on top of that, people have to deal a lot with outside pressures and worries,” says an MSF doctor.

Our teams continue to provide much-needed healthcare in Boost hospital, while continuing to run projects in four other locations around the country; Herat, Kandahar, Khost and Kunduz.

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CSTO ready to ensure its security given situation at borders

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is prepared to ensure the security of its borders amid growing insecurity in Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to a joint statement by the CSTO leaders that was adopted at the organization’s summit in Moscow on Monday and posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“The situation in Afghanistan and on other external frontiers of the CSTO member-states is alarming,” the statement said.

“In connection with this, we express readiness to maintain security at the borders within the CSTO’s zone of responsibility.”

The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon – the leaders of all six member states of the group.

The Collective Security Treaty was signed on May 15, 1992 in Tashkent.

Despite CSTO members’ concerns, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, says that security is ensured throughout Afghanistan and that no opposition group is active enough to be considered a threat to the security of other countries.

According to the Deputy Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan’s borders are more secure than ever and countries should not worry about this.

“Afghanistan’s borders are now more secure than ever, and Afghan territory will not be used against any country,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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