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More than 60 killed, 150 wounded in Kabul explosions: sources

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(Last Updated On: August 27, 2021)

The death toll from two blasts near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport on Thursday has risen to more than 60, sources said.

According to the sources, the death toll was likely to be higher as thousands of people had gathered at the attack scene.

More than 150 others were wounded in the explosions, sources added.

Meanwhile, the United States Central Command has announced that at least 13 American soldiers have been killed and 15 others wounded.

The ISIS-K, locally known as Daesh, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Earlier the Emergency Hospital in Kabul has confirmed at least six killed and 60 wounded in Thursday’s explosions outside the airport.

A spokesman told Ariana News that six bodies and about 60 wounded people had been taken to the hospital.

The explosion happened at about 6.25pm outside Abbey Gate, which leads directly into the military side of the airport.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby earlier confirmed that among the casualties were American citizens.

“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US and civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate,” he tweeted.

The area where the explosions happened had been densely packed with Afghans trying to get on evacuation flights.

Appeals had however been put out by numerous embassies and foreign governments during the course of the day calling on people at the airport gates to leave immediately as there had been credible intelligence received regarding an imminent attack.

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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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Asian leaders attend regional summit, pledge to help Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

The leaders of several Asian countries pledged to provide assistance to Afghanistan during a summit in Turkmenistan on Sunday.

The countries, which are part of the 10-member Economic Cooperation Organization that includes Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and six former Soviet nations, called for the removal of trade barriers and the development of new transport corridors across the region, VOA reported.

The Asian nations also pledged to help stabilize Afghanistan.

Speaking at the summit, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi said the Islamic world needs to pool efforts to help avert a “catastrophe that could foment chaos and conflict.”

He said countries in the region need to move quickly to help rebuild the Afghan economy, shore up the country’s health care and education systems and offer humanitarian assistance, VOA reported.

Alvi also stated that a stable Afghanistan would allow the implementation of long-stalled infrastructure projects, including a gas pipeline, railways and power grids linking countries in the region.

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said that these projects would help offer “colossal cooperation prospects and help attract foreign investment,” which would strongly benefit Afghanistan and its neighbors.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Afghanistan’s economic meltdown could trigger a massive refugee exodus that would affect the entire region.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also offered help, saying that Afghanistan desperately needs food, fuel and financial assistance as winter sets in.

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