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International donors likely to pledge less aid for Afghanistan in Geneva

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(Last Updated On: November 4, 2020)

Afghanistan is likely to receive reduced pledges for aid from international donors who will meet later this month in Geneva, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

This comes amid uncertainty over how the peace talks will progress with the Taliban, Reuters reported.

Despite peace talks underway, and Washington’s decision to withdraw troops, the country faces an uncertain future – but a future that is still dependent on aid.

The precariousness of the situation, which could see the Taliban secure greater influence, is making donors uneasy over whether the group will try to roll back progress made on human rights and girls education, Reuters reported.

But some analysts see foreign aid as vital in helping donors shape policies of any future Afghan government and that it provides leverage over the Taliban.

“It’s one of the primary forms of leverage the US and international community believe they have over the Taliban,” said Andrew Watkins, an analyst covering Afghanistan for International Crisis Group.

“Any future Afghan state will rely on foreign aid almost as much as the current one does,” he said.

Reuters reported that donors are likely to tell Afghanistan to expect, possibly significantly, less aid, while also imposing stricter conditions and committing funds for a shorter period, said three sources, who declined to be named because the discussions are private.

All three sources said the United States, Afghanistan’s largest donor, is likely to make deep cuts to its current annual contribution of around $800 million for civilian funding, beyond the money allocated for defence and security needs.

One said Washington could not only “cut aid by half”, but could also move “away from a four-year-commitment cycle” to pledge funds for just a year.

Other NATO members like Britain and France were also considering reducing pledges, while Australia was planning cuts of up to 30 percent, two sources told Reuters.

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Bayat Foundation steps in to help at-risk families in Maidan Wardak province

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Bayat Foundation officials said Friday they have sent in a huge consignment of food aid to Maidan Wardak province to help hundreds of needy families.

According to officials, the aid includes flour, rice and oil, which they have started distributing to deserving families in the province.

“In continuation of the Bayat Foundation aid campaign, which sees us distribute aid every winter, today we had a program in Maidan Wardak province to distribute to deserving people. The aid included flour, rice and oil. The aid will be distributed in other provinces also,” said Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of Bayat Foundation.

Recipients of the food parcels welcomed the initiative and called on other charity organizations to help families in need.

“This winter, many people are in need [of aid]; they assisted us, we are grateful. We want them to help us again [in the future],” said one Maidan Wardak recipient.

“Our people are in need. No one has helped them so far. We are grateful to Bayat Foundation that helped us during this difficult time,” said another recipient.

“We are very grateful, because they helped us. We want them to continue their aid so we can survive this difficult situation,” said another resident of Wardak.

Each year, Bayat Foundation carries out a winter campaign, providing needy people with food. This winter, however, the foundation has ramped up efforts to reach as many Afghans as possible across the country amid the ongoing economic crisis.

Already thousands of desperate families have received food parcels from Bayat Foundation in over a dozen provinces in the country.

Food parcels are given to only the most at-risk families who are identified through a comprehensive assessment carried out by the foundation once an area has been earmarked for distribution.

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IEA warns media against publishing rumors

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

The intelligence department of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government said Thursday that media outlets should not spread false news and baseless rumors.

“A number of figures want to insult Islamic values so that they can achieve western citizenship,” the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) tweeted.

According to the GDI, these individuals have made untrue statements about the IEA which some media have reported on.

The country’s media, in accordance with the principles of journalism, should strictly refrain from publishing false news and baseless rumors, GDI tweeted.

The intelligence department has pointed out that insulting religious sanctities and rituals is not acceptable to the people.

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Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit, makes ‘no apologies’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday firmly defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he makes no apologies.

Addressing a press conference, Biden said: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.

Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said.

“It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity.”

He also suggested it was not the responsibility of the U.S. to fix Afghanistan’s challenges, The Week reported.

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