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MSF reports basic medical needs of Afghans are not being met

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(Last Updated On: June 9, 2021)

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Tuesday said despite the international community having touted the achievements of Afghanistan’s health care delivery model, strong evidence shows that the health system is unable to meet the basic medical needs of Afghans.

“Public health facilities in Afghanistan are under-funded and under-resourced, lacking qualified personnel, equipment, medicines and medical supplies.”

In a briefing paper published Tuesday MSF said Afghans today are struggling to access basic healthcare facilities as a result of violence and insecurity, poverty, and an under-funded and under-resourced health system.

“Every day, Afghans must undertake dangerous journeys across active frontlines and mined roads, through checkpoints and areas controlled by armed groups to seek medical care.

“They are often unable or too afraid to leave their homes, and, when medical emergencies happen, such delays can prove fatal.”

MSF also stated that healthcare facilities in Afghanistan are attacked more often than almost anywhere in the world, forcing their temporary or permanent closure and depriving millions of access to vital medical services.

“In addition to creating a climate of fear, such attacks severely limit access to vital medical services by forcing health providers to suspend or discontinue activities,” MSF reported.

Citing World Health Organization (WHO) findings, MSF stated that up to three million people were deprived of essential health services in Afghanistan in 2020 as a result of health facilities forced to close by parties to the conflict.

In addition, the organization said the humanitarian crisis, compounded by the health and socioeconomic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, is worsening throughout the country.

According to MSF, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the financial hardship for Afghans and that many have lost their livelihoods as a result of border closures, reduced commercial activity and job losses, and are receiving less in overseas remittances.

“Direct medical and non-medical costs put healthcare further out of reach for people living in poverty,” the report stated.

MSF stated that in recent years, “the international community has touted the achievements of Afghanistan’s health care delivery model, despite strong evidence that the health system is unable to meet Afghans’ basic medical needs.”

“Public health facilities in Afghanistan are under-funded and under-resourced, lacking qualified personnel, equipment, medicines and medical supplies.”

Actors, such as MSF, have stepped in to fill important gaps in health service provision. “However, the situation is not sustainable, as humanitarian needs multiply and add further pressure on already overburdened medical facilities,” MSF reported.

The organization also warned that national and international stakeholders must recognise that basic services, such as healthcare, are insufficient and incapable of addressing Afghans’ immediate needs, and that now is not the time to reduce humanitarian support to Afghanistan.

“Access to quality and affordable medical care for all must be made an urgent priority,” MSF said.

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UN chief Guterres appointed for second term

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2021)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was appointed for a second-five year-term on Friday by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly.

“I will give it my all to ensure the blossoming of trust between and among nations large and small, to build bridges, and to engage relentlessly in confidence building,” Guterres told the General Assembly after taking the oath of office.

The 15-member Security Council earlier this month recommended the General Assembly re-appoint Guterres. His second term starts on beginning on Jan. 1, 2022.

Guterres succeeded Ban Ki-moon in January 2017, just weeks before Donald Trump became U.S. president. Much of Guterres‘ first term was focused on placating Trump, who questioned the value of the United Nations and multilateralism.

The United States is the largest U.N. financial contributor, responsible for 22% of the regular budget and around a quarter of the peacekeeping budget. President Joe Biden, who took office in January, has started restoring funding cuts made by Trump to U.N. agencies and re-engaged with the world body.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United Nations faced historic challenges, but she hoped that with Guterres at the helm “the next five years will see more peace, more security, and more prosperity than the last.”

“It will require hard work, political will, and accountability from all U.N. member states,” she said in a statement, adding every member states should have “an impassioned commitment” to human rights.

Guterres, 72, was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and head of the U.N. refugee agency from 2005 to 2015. As secretary-general, he has been a cheerleader for climate action, COVID-19 vaccines for all and digital cooperation.

When he took the reins as U.N. chief, the world body was struggling to end wars and deal with humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen. Those conflicts are still unresolved, and Guterres is also now faced with emergencies in Myanmar and the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

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Afghanistan, Kazakhstan sign military cooperation agreement

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2021)

A bilateral agreement on military cooperation between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan was signed on Friday, the Afghan National Security Council (NSC) said.

According to the NSC, Afghan National Security Advisor NSA Hamdullah Mohib and Kazakh Defense Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev signed the agreement during Mohib’s visit to the Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan.

The NSC stated that the pact was aimed at paving the way for military-to-military mutual support across various domains.

“The agreement enables joint exercises, military medicine cooperation, equipment modernization, logistical and technical support, battle training, and military intelligence collaboration between the two nations,” Mohib’s office said.

Rahmatullah Andar, spokesman for the NSC stated that “Joint military exercise bilateral meeting about defense policies, medical cooperation, renewing equipment, technical and logistical support, military training and intelligence military cooperation included in the agreement.”

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Another three districts fall to Taliban; gov’t forces retreated

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2021)

The Taliban militants have captured another three districts in the last 24 hours, sources said.

According to the sources, Dahana-i-Ghori district in Baghlan province; Awba district in Herat; and Shirin Tagab district in Faryab province were captured by the Taliban, bringing the total fallen districts to 37 since May 1.

 In Herat, the Awba district fell to the Taliban early Friday morning following days of heavy clashes between the Afghan army and the militants.

Sources said that an army base was under siege by the Taliban for four days and the Afghan forces retreated from the district this morning.

 In Baghlan, the Afghan forces retreated from the Dahana-i-Ghori district on Thursday night.

Amanullah Sanjani, an army commander, was killed in the skirmish.

Meanwhile, the provincial council of Faryab stated that the Shirin Tagab district of the province was fallen to the Taliban following a heavy skirmish with the insurgents.

The Taliban released footage from the district that appears to show that dozens of Afghan forces have surrendered to the group. No credible source, however, confirmed the footage.

According to Ariana News findings, at least 195 members of the Afghan Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) have been killed and 105 others wounded in Faryab, Kunduz, Takhar, Herat, Baghlan, and Sar-e-Pul provinces this week.

The Afghan Army stated that at least 256 Taliban militants were killed and 150 more wounded in air and ground operations across the country. 

This comes as the Taliban capturedthe Shinkai district of Zabul province without any clash fighting after mediation by tribal elders and local officials, sources said. 

The footage shows that militants are escorting the Afghan Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) out to the provincial capital Qatal city.

“Its Zabul DG, officials and ANDSF convoy that was escorted by Taliban security from Shinkai district till Qalat city. This deal was mediated by DG, tribal elders. The mediation was that Shinkai and ANDSF weapons are handover over to the Taliban. Big shame!” Haji AttaJan Haqbayan tweeted.

Haqbayan warned that the Zabul province would also collapse to the hands of the Taliban “if the situation goes this way.”

He also shared a video of an Afghan army officer, who was on duty in ANA Battalion of Shinkai district, who is saying that hundreds of weapons were seized by the Taliban,

“Provincial officials of Zabul must be investigated,” Haqbayan said.

Afghan Army, meanwhile, confirmed that the Taliban overrun district.

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