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Khalilzad: Put Pakistan on list of state sponsors of terrorism

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2016)

khalilzadA number of U.S. lawmakers called for cutting financial aids and imposing sanctions against Pakistan while former diplomats urged to designate Pakistan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“Pakistan now is a state sponsor of terrorism. There is no question that ISI supports the Haqqani network, which we regard as a terrorist network,” Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and UN who was speaking at a Congressional hearing said on Tuesday.

“It is also clear that the Pakistani military and intelligence provide sanctuary and support to the Taliban,” Khalilzad who played key role in shaping American policy towards Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq after 9/11 said.

He described that Pakistan understands that its double-game is risky, but it believes that the risk is manageable.

Narrating his travel to Pakistan when he was serving as the U.S. ambassador for Afghanistan he said,” I asked Gen. Musharraf why Pakistan was sponsoring the Taliban, he denied that there were any Taliban in Pakistan.

He added,” Musharraf instead insisted that I provide him with the names and phone numbers of the Taliban in Afghanistan”.

He continued, “Years later, when he was no longer his country’s leader, he boasted to the world of his country’s support for the extremist group”.

Pointing to the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a U.S. drone strike top former U.S. ambassador called for additional drone attacks against terrorist groups.

But he also suggested specific sanctions against Pakistani military and governmental officials saying drone strikes alone will not be enough without corresponding political and financial pressure.

“U.S. can impose financial and travel restrictions on senior Pakistani officials known to be complicit in the insurgency, and freeze funds in U.S. banks belonging to Pakistani entities  – both military and corporate – involved in financing the Taliban,” he recommended in a prepared statement.

At the same time Congressman Brad Sherman who joined Salmon and other lawmakers in seeking action against Pakistan added,” Those who suggest giving aid to Pakistan need to give justification for using the tax payer’s money”.

The hearing titled ‘Pakistan: Friend or Foe in the Fight Against Terrorism?’ has been jointly convened by the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.

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Export of Afghanistan’s talc resumes: Industrial Association

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

Afghanistan Industrial Association said Monday that Kabul recently exported 500 tons of talc powder to a number of countries including China, Spain and the UK.

Abdul Jabbar Safi, the head of the association, said: “Afghanistan has recently exported talc to Pakistan, Turkey, India, China, Spain, and the UK. Exports have resumed and we want to expand our exports.”

The association meanwhile also called for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to focus on the mining sector and provide facilities for the extraction of minerals in order to boost investment.

They also called on government to establish new policies around mining, also to boost investment in the sector.

Safi meanwhile said that since the mid-August takeover by the IEA, “illegal extractions of mines, as well as smuggling, have been prevented.”

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Lush cosmetics shuts down its social media accounts globally

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

UK cosmetics company Lush shut down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts globally on Friday, citing its concern about the harms of social media in the wake of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations.

CEO Mark Constantine told the Guardian he was happy to lose $13 million that the company expects to lose by shutting their accounts.

“In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now,” the company said in a press release.

Lush’s announcement came just ahead of one of the biggest days of shopping all year, and the brand fully expected that losing its pipelines to millions of customers could harm its business.

Lush’s Facebook and Instagram accounts had a combined 10.6 million followers, according to The Guardian.

“We’ve tightened up over the Covid period, it won’t destroy us,” Constantine told The Guardian, adding that Lush had “no choice” given Meta’s own research about Instagram’s adverse impact on teenage girls’ mental health.

“We’re talking about suicide here, not spots or whether someone should dye their hair blonde,” Constantine continued, telling The Guardian: “How could we possibly suggest we’re a caring business if we look at that and don’t care?”

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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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