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Pompeo calls for Yemen’s Houthi movement to be classed a foreign terror group

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: January 11, 2021)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday the Department of State will notify Congress of his intent to designate Yemen’s Houthi movement, as a foreign terrorist organization.

“I also intend to designate three of Ansarallahs leaders, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs)”, he said in a statement.

According to the State Department, these designations will provide additional tools to confront terrorist activity and terrorism by Ansarallah, a deadly Iran-backed militia group in the Gulf region.

“The designations are intended to hold Ansarallah accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure, and commercial shipping,” the statement read.

“The designations are also intended to advance efforts to achieve a peaceful, sovereign, and united Yemen that is both free from Iranian interference and at peace with its neighbors. Progress in addressing Yemen’s instability can only be made when those responsible for obstructing peace are held accountable for their actions,” the statement added.

The State Department said the United States recognizes concerns that these designations will have an impact on the humanitarian situation in Yemen but that they are planning to put in place measures to reduce the impact on certain humanitarian activity and imports into Yemen.

“We have expressed our readiness to work with relevant officials at the United Nations, with international and non-governmental organizations, and other international donors to address these implications.”

The United States was the largest humanitarian donor to Yemen in 2020, providing $630 million in humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.

American assistance has reached all corners of Yemen and has been used in critical program support for food, nutrition, hygiene, and for internally displaced people. The United States is also providing more than $18 million to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen.

The statement cited Pompeo as saying “we need not look further than the callous attack targeting the civilian airport in Aden on December 30, in which the Houthis struck the arrival terminal killing 27 individuals, including three staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, to see the destruction the Houthis continue to inflict upon civilians and civilian infrastructure.

“The Yemeni and Saudi governments as well as multiple experts have directly tied this attack to Ansarallah.”

If Ansarallah did not behave like a terrorist organization, we would not designate it as an FTO and SDGT, Pompeo stated.

“It has led a brutal campaign that has killed many people, continues to destabilize the region, and denies Yemenis a peaceful solution to the conflict in their country.

“Rather than distance itself from the Iranian regime, it has embraced the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism even more. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has supplied Ansarallah with missiles, drones, and training, allowing the group to target airports and other critical infrastructure.

He also said the US has worked through its partners in the region to urge Ansarallah to stop engaging in terrorist activities, including those involving attacks threatening civilian infrastructure in the region, as well as to cut off ties with IRGC officials and stop the practice of kidnapping, which has included the deaths and kidnappings of US nationals.

“The international community has collectively agreed through UN Security Council resolutions and in other fora that unilateral actions to take over the institutions of the legitimate Republic of Yemen Government are unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition – long sought by the Yemeni people – can be accomplished only through political negotiations,” he said.

“However, the political process has produced limited results over several years. This compels us to look for additional means by which to change the behavior of Ansarallah and its supporters in our search for peace and security in Yemen,” he added.

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Sharp rise in displaced families fleeing conflict: UN report

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: July 31, 2021)

At least 330,000 people have been displaced in the last seven months due to an increase in conflict across Afghanistan, the UN reported Saturday.

“So far in 2021, 330,000 people have been displaced by conflict across Afghanistan. Another five million people remain displaced since 2012,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported.

According to the report, the fighting has also been reported in new areas in the northeast province of Kunar, displacing 20,000 people within the province, and Nangahar Province. 

“Nine UN and partner organizations’ teams are assessing needs in Kandahar. Last week, about 1,800 internally displaced people received food, relief items, and water and sanitation hygiene support as well as physiotherapy and cash assistance. In Kunar, UN and partner organizations are assessing needs and responding.

“Urgent needs include food, water, shelter, and health services,” the report said.

Maryam [not her real name] and her family are among an estimated 330,000 Afghans who have been newly displaced inside the country since the start of this year by an upsurge in violence. 

“There was war. Bombs were being dropped. My father was killed there, and a lot of my relatives were killed as well and we had to flee. I was responsible for my children and I didn’t want them to be killed. So, I came here with my elderly mother,” Maryam said.

“Our situation is very difficult. As you can see, we are all displaced. Our children need food. They would ask for anything, they are children, they don’t know whether we have it or not.”

“We want a normal life just like everyone else. I want my children to become something in Afghanistan, to become doctors, engineers, or something. That is my hope,” she stated.

As conflict intensifies in northern Afghanistan and other parts of the country, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warned of an imminent humanitarian crisis, saying failure to reach a peace agreement will see further displacement. 

Fahim Hamdard, Senior Field Assistant, UN Refugee Agency, stated: “Over the last year, families have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, a devastating drought and now increased violence in the north and northeast regions is driving more people from their homes every day.”

Amid an overall increase in civilian casualties, the proportion of women and children affected by violence has risen sharply since January, adding to the toll Afghanistan’s decades-long conflict has taken on people like Maryam and her family. 

UNHCR and its partners are assisting newly displaced Afghans with emergency shelter, food, health care, water, and sanitation support, and cash assistance, but a shortage of funding means humanitarian resources are falling dramatically short.

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Nuristan death toll rises to over 113 following deadly flash floods

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: July 31, 2021)

The death toll from last week’s flash floods in eastern Nuristan province has risen to 113, the Afghan Red Crescent Society said in a statement on Saturday.

According to the statement, 173 houses, 900 acres of agricultural land, 14 mills, eight bridges, one restaurant, 13 shops, four power stations, four vehicles and two military bases along with the drinking water system and 3,200 fruit trees were destroyed in the devastating floods that swept through Kamdesh district of the province of a Wednesday night.

“The Afghanistan Red Crescent Society, the only organization with access to Kamdesh, is sending a mobile health team and will provide temporary shelter,” the UN said in a statement.

The statement added that the UN is negotiating with a non-state armed group to get access to the area and will provide medical supplies, food, and other relief items.

“Afghan authorities will mobilize additional support from Kabul,” the statement added.

Sources said on Thursday the area was under Taliban control.

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EU envoy says aid will be cut if Taliban seize power militarily

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: July 31, 2021)

Tomas Niklasson, Acting Special Envoy of the European Union for Afghanistan, says that the EU would not recognize a Taliban government if they manage a military takeover.

In an exclusive interview with Ariana News, Niklasson stated if the Taliban gain power through a military takeover the EU will cut its aid to Afghanistan and the country will be isolated.

“If the Taliban manage to take power by military means it would not be recognized by the EU, it would not be recognized by most countries in the region.”

“It would become an isolated regime and isolated Afghanistan,” he noted.

Niklasson also raised his concerns over the current situation in Afghanistan, calling on the warring parties to show flexibility in order to end the ongoing conflict in the country.

“We are clearly very very concerned by the situation. We try to do what we can to remain engaged in Afghanistan, to continue to provide development assistance, to remain engaged politically to provide humanitarian assistance as long as needed.”

The diplomat stated that the Taliban has no clear proposal in the peace talks with the Afghan Republic’s team. He added that the Taliban want to seek more concessions in the talks via their military campaign.

“The Taliban have not really put on the table a clear proposal of what they want and that is part of the negotiations and that will be a necessary next step,” he stated.

“If they put Islamic Emirate, the design of the 1990s or any Islamic Emirate on the table, no, it would not be acceptable but it could be a start for negotiation,” the EU Envoy said.

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