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Kunduz Airstrike Kills 13 civilian, Mostly Children: UNAMA

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(Last Updated On: March 25, 2019)

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement on Monday confirmed that 13 civilians were killed and three others wounded in an airstrike conducted by international military forces on Friday night in Kunduz province.

According to the statement, initial fact-finding indicates that 10 of those killed were children, part of the same extended family whom were displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country.

“Work is ongoing to verify all civilian casualties that occurred during military operations that were conducted around the time of the airstrike,” the statement added.

The incident occurred in the Telawka neighborhood close to Kunduz city during operations conducted by pro-government forces against the Taliban in the area.  

Meanwhile, UNAMA urges relevant authorities and parties involved in the airstrike to conduct their own inquiries into the incident and to take immediate steps to safeguard civilians from harm.

“Parties are urged to publish results of their findings, as well as provide appropriate compensation to victims,” the statement said.

In its 2018 Annual Protection of Civilians Report, released in February 2019, UNAMA reported a sharp increase in civilian casualties from aerial and search operations in 2018 compared to 2017.

The report noted that aerial operations by international military forces, as well as search operations conducted by Afghan national security forces and pro-government armed groups, drove a 24 percent overall increase in civilian casualties by pro-Government forces.

The Mission expressed particular concern about child casualties from air strikes which have been increasing every year since 2014.

UNAMA reminds all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians from harm, including their obligation to take all feasible precautions to avoid death or injury to civilians.

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New EU relief flight delivers life-saving medical aid

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2021)

Another EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight has delivered over 28 tonnes of life-saving medical cargo to Kabul to address the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

The EU-funded air bridge flight enables the World Health Organization, as well as humanitarian organisations such as ‘Emergency’ and ‘Première Urgence Internationale’ to deliver critical health items to those in need.

On the occasion, Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: ”This is the third EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight since the fall of Kabul in August this year. This EU-funded flight represents an important lifeline to Afghans in urgent need of medical care.

“However, the overall humanitarian situation is rapidly worsening. In this view and the approaching winter, I urge the entire international community to step up and provide for life-saving aid to millions of Afghans whose lives depend on it,” he said.

The life-saving cargo consists of medical equipment to conduct surgeries and medical drugs.

On top of this third EU-funded flight to Kabul this week, further flights are scheduled for the coming weeks as an expression of EU solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.

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Russia mulling excluding IEA from list of extremist groups: Putin

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2021)

Russia is moving towards excluding the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) from its list of extremist organisations, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, a day after high-level talks between Moscow and Afghanistan’s new rulers.

Russia labelled the IEA a “terrorist organisation” in 2003 but welcomed the IEA for talks in Moscow several times before it seized power in Afghanistan in August.

Earlier this week, Russia called for the mobilisation of international aid to support Afghanistan, as Moscow hosted the IEA for an international conference.

“We all expect Taliban (IEA), those people who undoubtedly control the situation in the country, in Afghanistan, we expect the situation to develop positively. Depending on that we will jointly take the decision on excluding them (IEA) from the list of terrorist organisations. It seems to me that we are getting close to it. Russia’s position will be to move in that direction.”

Putin also raised the question as to how the IEA will generate funds if assets remain frozen and Afghanistan is isolated economically. He implied that unless the new government is recognized internationally, money could be generated through the continued production of opium and heroin.

“The important problem is the drugs. 90 percent of opiates on the global market are coming from Afghanistan, as is well known. If they (IEA) won’t have money how will they fund the social issues?”

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Afghanistan one of 11 “highly vulnerable” countries regarding climate change

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2021)

Afghanistan, India and Pakistan were among 11 countries singled out by U.S. intelligence agencies on Thursday as being “highly vulnerable” in terms of their ability to prepare for and respond to environmental and societal crises caused by climate change.

In a new National Intelligence Estimate, the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) predicts that global warming will increase geopolitical tensions and risks to U.S. national security in the period up to 2040.

Such estimates are broad U.S. intelligence community assessments. Thursday’s report identifies as particular “countries of concern” Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Iraq, North Korea, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia. ODNI posted a declassified version online.

Heat, drought, water availability and ineffective government make Afghanistan specifically worrying. Water disputes are also a key geopolitical flashpoint in India and the rest of South Asia, Reuters reported.

The report identifies two additional regions of concern to U.S. intelligence agencies. Climate change is “likely to increase the risk of instability in countries in Central Africa and small island states in the Pacific, which clustered together form two of the most vulnerable areas in the world.”

The report notes disparities around global approaches to tackling climate change, saying countries that rely on fossil fuel exports to support their economies “will continue to resist a quick transition to a zero-carbon world because they fear the economic, political, and geopolitical costs of doing so.”

The report also notes the likelihood of increasing strategic competition over the Arctic. It says that Arctic and non-Arctic states “almost certainly will increase their competitive activities as the region becomes more accessible because of warming temperatures and reduced ice.”

It predicts international competition in the Arctic “will be largely economic but the risk of miscalculation will increase modestly by 2040 as commercial and military activity grows and opportunities are more contested.”

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