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Our credibility relies on our capacity to deliver: Ghani in Doha

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(Last Updated On: October 6, 2020)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday evening that peace cannot just be on a national level but that it needed to be on a regional basis in order to be successful. 

Speaking at an event at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Doha, Qatar, Ghani said: “Regional connectivity is critical to peacebuilding, and so is global cooperation.”

He also made it clear that the conflict in Afghanistan is not a civil war, but a regional war embedded in global conflict, notably terrorism. 

But in his address to guests attending the event at the independent academic research and studies center, Ghani steered away from the negative and also focused on the positives Afghanistan has to offer.  

“We share with you a vision of a sovereign, unified, democratic Afghanistan at peace with itself, the region and the world, capable of preserving and expanding the gains of the past two decades.

“This is not just the ultimate objective of our negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, but more importantly, it is also the ultimate goal of the work we do every day within the halls of government to meet our development objectives,” he said. 

“In Doha, our negotiation team is working on making peace, but here, back in Kabul, we – as a polity, an economic society, and a people – along with you, our international partners, are working on building peace.”

He pointed out that peace-building is different from peace-making because it is a “multi-dimensional, cross-sectoral, short, medium and long-term process that will allow us to actually implement and secure the components of any peace agreement that is made on paper.”

“In other words, peace-building is about implementation; peace-making is about reaching a political agreement to end violence. We must now focus on prioritizing these components of peace-building and implementing them,” he said.

The “credibility of the state and stability of the Republic, as articulated in our Constitution, depends on earning the people’s trust. Building an effective state starts with listening to our people and understanding their expectations.,” he said adding that he has “really tried to do this over the past years, with over 95 trips to the provinces and meetings with thousands of Afghans from all walks of life.”

Generous assistance raised expectations

The generous level of assistance in the last 19 years raised up the level of expectations, beyond our national resources, he said adding that in order to deliver and manage the expectations of the people, “we must fully embrace the objective of self-reliance by focusing on how to convert our latent assets and capabilities into manifest resources and capacities.”

“We must do more with less by embracing effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. We must learn to master the art of leadership and management under conditions of constant change. At the same time, we as a state must deliver services to our people. Our credibility relies on our capacity to deliver.”

He also highlighted the positive elements Afghanistan has to offer and said the country’s untapped mineral wealth could potentially render the country an extremely wealthy nation 

Mineral wealth is worth “one trillion dollars at least”, he said adding that rare earth minerals were abundant and that “the ten poorest provinces in the country have the richest mineral deposits.”

“Afghanistan’s geography is also of vital importance. Afghanistan is right in the middle” of east, west, south and central Asia, he said adding that the country also had enormous potential with sun, wind and water – which could all be used to produce energy. 

He also outlined the importance of Afghanistan’s rich culture and the people’s commitment to Islam and stated the Afghan people have an enormous capacity to move past conflict.

Citing the 2003 ceasefire with the Taliban, he said the people of the country at the time were ready to embrace peace and to accept the Taliban into their midst. 

‘Afghan women are heroes’

Lauding the women of Afghanistan however, he called them “heroes” and said they were strong and capable. 

He said he wants the world to know that Afghan women do not need someone to speak for them as they are capable of speaking for themselves. 

He also stated that Afghanistan has come a long way in coping on its own and said through mobilizing the people and even the private sector, Afghanistan was able to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. “And no food shortages in this time was reported,” he said. 

Praising the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces for safeguarding the people of Afghanistan, and the world from terror attacks, he said they were not working for money but were fighting to secure their country. 

Ghani told the audience that “the state now has the capacity to design, to think, to act,” and used the recent Parwan floods as an example. 

He said the water canal that burst in August in Charikar in the provincial capital during torrential rains was rebuilt within days after the deadly floods. 

This he attributed to Afghanistan’s improved capacity to respond rapidly to disasters and emergencies. 

On the war, he said: “Our conflict has never been about separation. Our conflict has been a form of competition about controlling the center.” 

But, “the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the framework in which all Afghans can see themselves,” he added. 

On the topic of peace, he said the will of the people in terms of succession was fundamental to peace and that “Afghans are ready to overcome the past and have the desire and readiness for this.”

But to solidify peace, three qualities are needed, he said – compassion, commitment and courage. 

Compassion to understand each other, and “compassion for our common Islamic faith – which is a religion of peace,” he said. 

Peace in Afghanistan cannot be the peace of factions or one group but must be peace of the people and that “the people must come first”. 

“We need to have the ability to overcome the past. The past is about dying. We must live. We must embrace living,” he said adding that in the “weeks and in the days to come we must have the courage to call a ceasefire.”

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Kazakhs told to leave streets to avoid ‘anti-terrorist actions’

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2022)

A statement broadcast on Kazakh TV on Friday told Almaty residents to stay inside during the security operation in the city.

Video obtained by Reuters showed the broadcast statement, which said: “Respectable Inhabitants of Almaty! A counter-terrorist operation to destroy bandit groups is going on in Almaty. The main goal is to stop terrorists and safeguard the security of the city. If anti-terrorist activity takes place where you live, it is recommended you do not go near by windows or get out in the street. Hide in a safe place, do not leave children or the elderly without supervision.”

Almaty, Kazakhstan’s main city, has seen days of violence, with demonstrations that began as a response to a fuel price hike swelling into a broad movement against the government and ex-leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, the longest-serving ruler of any former Soviet state.

Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan’s main city on Friday after days of violence, and the Russian-backed president said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising.

A day after Moscow sent paratroopers to help crush the insurrection, police were patrolling the debris-strewn streets of Almaty, although some gunfire could still be heard, Reuters reported.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said foreign-trained terrorists were responsible for the unrest, and the interior ministry said 26 “armed criminals” had been “liquidated”, while 18 police and members of the national guard had been killed, figures that appeared not to have been updated since Thursday. State television reported more than 3,700 arrests.

 

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Japan pledges $109 million to Afghanistan and its neighbors to ‘address crisis’

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(Last Updated On: December 21, 2021)

The Japanese government has pledged to donate a total of approximately $109 million to Afghanistan and its neighboring countries “to address the humanitarian crisis” in the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that Japan will provide assistance to directly address humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries including Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

“The Government of Japan will provide assistance to directly address humanitarian needs in areas such as healthcare, food, and nutrition, protection, water, and sanitation, as well as livelihood improvement to Afghanistan and its neighboring countries,” the statement read.

According to the statement the assistance would be provided through 16 international organizations to improve the humanitarian crisis.

“The Government of Japan will continue to provide support and stand with the people of Afghanistan, and play an active role to realize stability in the region,” the statement added.

According to the statement, $100 million will be allocated for Afghanistan; $4.01 million to Iran; $3.72 million to Pakistan; $0.99 million to Tajikistan; and $0.43 million to Uzbekistan.

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COVID-19

Unvaccinated COVID patients flood French ICUs as cases surge

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(Last Updated On: December 18, 2021)

Pressure on French hospitals has been steadily mounting over the past few weeks as France battles a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, which has been filling up ICUs with unvaccinated patients.

Of the 20 COVID patients of the Mulhouse hospital ICU, only three are vaccinated while the youngest is aged 19 years old, head of the Emile Muller hospital ICU, doctor Khaldoun Kuteifan, told Reuters on Thursday.

“The Mulhouse hospital ICU is currently at full capacity as patients have been coming in for the past 20 days. Seventy percent of the ICU patients are positive COVID cases.”

France had recorded 60,866 new cases over the past 24 hours on Thursday night, while 78.1% of French people have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the French Health Ministry website.

“The waves keep coming and hitting us, and the more it goes on, the more tired we get,” nurse Aurelie Multhaupt told Reuters.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that the government expects to see around 4,000 patients in intensive care with COVID-19 by the Christmas holidays, Reuters reported.

Attal said new decisions on the reinforcement of border rules, the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and travel recommendations for the holidays could be announced in the coming days.

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