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Iran steps in to help extinguish massive fire at border crossing with Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 13, 2021)

Iran’s Director General of West Asia at the Iranian Foreign Ministry Seyed Rasoul Mousavi has called on officials to help Afghanistan extinguish the massive fire at the Islam Qala border facility in Herat province. 

Mousave said on Twitter: “Fire in the neighbor’s house, is fire in our house. Widespread fire in Islam Qala. We must go to the aid of Afghanistan with all our might.” 
 
“I have done everything in my area of responsibility, now I am waiting to see what will happen in practice,” he added.
 
This comes after dozens of fuel tankers and other trucks caught fire at the border crossing customs facility in Herat province at around midday on Saturday. 
 
Herat governor Waheed Qatali said on Saturday afternoon they did not have the resources to extinguish the blaze and had called on Iran for help. 
 
Associated Press in Tehran meanwhile reported early Saturday evening that the fire had spread to the Dogharoon customs facilities on the Iran side. 
 
According to this report, first responders, including the Iran fire department, Iranian army and border forces were helping to extinguish the blaze.
 
Iranian media have not reported on this but have confirmed Tehran has dispatched firefighting and military forces to the area.
 
The cause of the massive fire has not yet been established but business owners have been left reeling after dozens of fuel tankers exploded.
 
The massive fire sent plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky – which could be seen from kilometers away.
 
Videos on social media also captured the panic among the people who had been in the area when the fire broke out. 
 
Hundreds were seen racing away in their cars and running on foot as fuel tanker after fuel tanker exploded. 
 
Herat officials have meanwhile confirmed at least a dozen people have been wounded in the fire so far and have been taken to local hospitals. 

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IEA to assess academic credentials of religious scholars

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

A meeting of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) cabinet ministers was held on Tuesday, IEA said in a statement.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund approved a plan to regulate the academic ranks of religious scholars and evaluate their academic credentials.

Akhand stressed at the ministerial meeting that the documents of religious scholars should be evaluated and their academic ranks should be determined, the statement said.

In addition to this, a delegation from the IEA has been appointed to resolve the problem of companies not being able to access their money held in banks.

The continuation of the ID card distribution process, the preparation of a population census plan, solving the problem of drug addicts, the sound management of foreign aid, and the TAPI project were also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of IEA’s ministers.

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IEA leader meets with Chinese officials in Qatar, discusses bilateral issues

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has again urged the US to ease sanctions against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to help the country overcome a looming humanitarian crisis.

Speaking during the first high-level meeting with the Afghan interim government in Qatar on Monday, Wang emphasized the seriousness of the problem unfolding in Afghanistan.
It was Wang’s first meeting with acting deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar since July, when the IEA leader visited Tianjin in northern China shortly before the takeover of Kabul, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

“Afghanistan is facing quadruple challenges, namely the humanitarian crisis, economic chaos, terrorist threats and governance difficulties. Overcoming these challenges requires more understanding and support from the international community,” Wang said.

“China urges the Western countries led by the United States as a whole to lift sanctions, and calls on all parties to engage with the Afghan Taliban (IEA) in a rational and pragmatic manner to help Afghanistan embark on a path of sound development.”

Wang also pledged that China would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Beijing announced last month that it would donate 200 million yuan (US$31.3 million) in aid, including food and coronavirus vaccines, to the war-torn nation, SCMP reported.

Meanwhile, a delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with a delegation led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday.

The two sides discussed issues including diplomatic relations, bilateral trade, China’s humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and the creation of higher education opportunities for Afghan students in China, as well as opportunities and challenges in bilateral relations.

The acting minister thanked China for its comprehensive assistance and said that the new Islamic government would ensure that Afghan soil would not be used against any country, including China.

Muttaqi said Afghanistan had a balanced foreign policy based on co-operation and understanding.

“China has an important place in our foreign policy and is an important country in the region,” he added. The whole region, including China, benefits from Afghanistan’s stability.

The Chinese Foreign Minister welcomed the recent positive developments in Afghanistan and noted that Afghanistan and China have historical ties.

He said China would work in the future based on the common interests of both countries and would never interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

Wang said his country respected Afghanistan’s security, independence and territorial integrity.

The Chinese side also stressed its support for Afghanistan to chart its own course for development.

China is playing its part in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. The Foreign Minister said that his country would continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid who is accompanying the delegation said that China provided $1 million to Afghanistan and has promised to provide $5 million more in humanitarian aid, especially medicine and food.

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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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