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Iran FM slams the US for it’s ‘wrong policies’ on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 10, 2022)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has condemned the United States and its allies for the “wrong policies” they adopted in Afghanistan and said their stance had been engineered to create rifts between Afghanistan and its neighbor.

The Iranian government said in a statement that Amir Abdollahian made the remarks during a meeting with Afghanistan’s visiting acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Sunday.

Amir Abdollahian also said that the efforts of Afghans showed that no foreign power can occupy and rule Afghanistan and that history has proven that the bond between the people of the two countries is a type of “kinship”.

The Iranian government said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) had made “positive remarks” regarding the formation of an inclusive government. Amir Abdollahian “stressed the need to provide acceptable indicators in this regard”.

He also said Iran will use “regional capacities for further assistance to alleviate Afghans’ problems”.

Amir Abdollahian also stated that Afghanistan’s frozen assets by the United States should be released for humanitarian reasons and to help improve the economic situation.

Meanwhile, the Afghan delegation presented a report on the process of countering Daesh (ISIS) and other terrorist groups, as well as policies related to countering drug production and trafficking in Afghanistan.

Muttaqi stressed that Iran has always stood by Afghanistan and said the new government is not anti any of its neighboring countries.

Muttaqi also said: “Although the United States withdrew from Afghanistan with a disgraceful defeat, it still continues its policies against the Afghan people, and as a result of these policies, 80% of the Afghan people are below the poverty threshold”.

The two sides also discussed Iran’s water share agreement regarding the Helmand River. According to the statement, the Afghan delegation said a commission would meet with Iranian officials to resolve issues regarding water.

Meanwhile, the IEA’s deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi said that Muttaqi also met with Iran’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi Qomi.

He said that the discussions had been positive and constructive and had included bilateral economic-related political relations, trade, commerce, oil, transit and security issues.

Both sides agreed that Afghanistan’s geographical location acted as a link between Central and South Asia. They also noted that it was a route for Iran to transit its exports to other countries in the region, and for Afghanistan to be able to export goods through Iran.

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UN chief says IEA must respect human rights in order to be recognized

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

Laying out his priorities for 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has to respect human rights in order to obtain international recognition.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Guterres stated that it was “absolutely essential” for the IEA “to have full respect for the rights of women and girls and to have a positive approach to human rights in general” in order to obtain international recognition and “getting international support for their own people.”

“To provide a lifeline of help for the Afghan people, inject cash to avoid an economic meltdown, ensure full respect of international humanitarian law and human rights — particularly for women and girls — and effectively fight terrorism,” he said.

UN Secretary-General spoke about global issues as well. Referring to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a morally bankrupt global financial system, the climate crisis, lawlessness in cyberspace, and diminished peace and security, he told the General Assembly that “we face a five-alarm global fire that requires the full mobilization of all countries.”

“Now is not the time to simply list and lament challenges. Now is the time to act. All these challenges are, at heart, failures of global governance.”

On the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Guterres said, “diplomacy is the way to solve problems. Of course, any invasion by one country to another country is against international law, and I hope that this, of course, will not happen in the present circumstances. I am convinced it will not happen. And I strongly hope to be right.”

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Salang Pass, Herat- Badghis highway closed to traffic due to heavy snow

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

Local officials said that due to heavy snowfall and stormy weather, the Salang Pass and Herat-Badghis highway have been closed to traffic temporarily.

Qazi Obaidullah Obaid, head of the Salang Pass maintenance department said they had decided to close the mountain pass in order to avoid casualties amid bad weather conditions.

According to Obaid dozens of motorists and passengers were stranded on the pass but have since been taken to places of safety.

Meanwhile, Mohibullah Asad, deputy governor of Badghis, said that Herat-Qala-e-Naw highway has also been closed to traffic due to heavy snowfall.

He said maintenance crews are working to clear the highway and reopen it to traffic.

Badghis received heavy snowfalls from Friday afternoon, making the highway impassable.

Kabul also received a fair amount of snow overnight which was expected to clear later Saturday. However, temperatures are set to drop to around -12 degrees Celsius during the night.

While Sunday is expected to be sunny, the expected high will only be -1 degrees Celsius, dropping to -15 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.

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IEA delegation due in Norway for humanitarian talks

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will arrive in Norway on Sunday for three days of talks on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Friday, Reuters reported.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban [IEA]. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

“We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster,” she said.

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year’s IEA takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security, Reuters reported.

The IEA representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25.

“Meetings will also take place between the Taliban [IEA] delegation and other Afghans with backgrounds from a range of fields. These include women leaders, journalists, and individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues,” Norway said.

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