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Shiite Ulema accuses govt of neglecting security in western Kabul

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2021)

The Afghan Shiite Ulema (council) on Thursday accused government of negligence in securing the western areas of Kabul.

The Ulema said government needs to take urgent steps to improve security in the area, which is predominantly home to Hazaras.

The area has also been the epicenter of major attacks over the past few years including the recent girls school bombing that claimed the lives of over 90 people – mostly all teenage girls.

The Ulema also said that government needs to seriously investigate the Sayed ul-Shuhada High School bombing and to identify the perpetrators.

Families of victims and the injured from this attack have also raised their voices against government’s failure to arrest those responsible for the attack.

Relatives of victims and residents from the area meanwhile gathered on Thursday in the area and said they were tired of the targeted attacks as systematic killings. The Ulema in turn called it an act of “genocide”.

Although the bombing happened almost three weeks ago, details around the event are not clear and things have been complicated further with the disappearance of one of the students.

Shukria, who was a student at the school, has not been seen since the explosion and despite a desperate search by her family no trace of her has been found.

Abdullah, Shukria’s father, says that after 19 days, there is still no news about his daughter or on whether she is dead or alive.

“I went to police headquarters, Ministry of Interior and other places, but I have not received answers,” Abdullah said.

But the Ministry of Interior says that no student matching Shukria’s description was taken to any hospital – either dead or alive.

The ministry also stated that the security camera footage of all hospitals and health centers that took in the wounded and dead have been studied in the presence of Shukria’s family.

“The police continue their search and efforts to respect the request and complaint of the family in coordination with the intelligence units,” Tariq Arian, the ministry’s spokesman said.

The Shiite Ulema meanwhile says it was expected that after the deadly school bombing there would be an improvement in the security in the western areas of Kabul city. But according to them, nothing has been done.

However, the office of the second vice president says that Sarwar Danish has held consultations with the people of the area and has handed over a proposed security plan to President Ashraf Ghani.

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UN seeks record $41 billion for aid to hotspots including Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

The United Nations appealed on Thursday for $41 billion to provide life-saving assistance next year to a record 183 million people worldwide caught up in conflict and poverty, led by a tripling of its programme in Afghanistan.

Famine remains a “terrifying prospect” for 45 million people living in 43 countries, as extreme weather caused by climate change reduces food supplies, it said in the annual appeal reflecting a 17% rise in annual funding needs.

“The drivers of needs are ones which are familiar to all of us. Tragically, it includes protracted conflicts, political instability, failing economies… the climate crisis, not a new crisis, but one which urges more attention and of course the Covid-19 pandemic,” UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told a news briefing on Wednesday.

In a report to donors, the world body said: “Without sustained and immediate action, 2022 could be catastrophic.”

Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and Sudan are the five major crises requiring the most funding, topped by $4.5 billion sought for Afghanistan where “needs are skyrocketing”, it said.

In Afghanistan, more than 24 million people require life-saving assistance to prevent catastrophe, a dramatic increase driven by political tumult, repeated economic shocks, and the severe food insecurity caused by the worst drought in 27 years, Reuters reported.

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Four wounded in Kabul blast

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

The Emergency Hospital in Kabul has confirmed four people were wounded in an IED explosion in Salim Karwan square in PD4 around midday Thursday.

The Emergency Hospital said in a tweet that the injured were taken to the hospital from the scene of the explosion.

The hospital said a child was among the injured adding the incident was caused by a magnetic IED attached to a vehicle.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Interior Ministry spokesman Saeed Khosti, however, said the incident was caused by an IED placed in a pot. He also claimed that there were no casualties in the blast.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Two days ago, Kabul witnessed another explosion. The blast, which targeted an IEA vehicle, wounded five people, including members of the IEA.

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New NATO strategy being drawn up to deal with ‘changing world’

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that a new Strategic Concept was being drawn up for NATO in order to ensure the alliance is prepared for emerging threats in a changing world.

Speaking after the NATO defense minister’s meeting, Blinken said “three months after Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan ended, the alliance remains focused on the fight against terrorism, including ISIS-K (Daesh).

He said while NATO military operations in Afghanistan had ended, “our work together continues”.

“For 20 years, NATO made sure that Afghanistan could not again become a safe haven for terrorists to threaten our countries and our people. That’s why we went there in the first place. No attacks on allies or partners originated in Afghanistan during that time, and together we decimated al-Qaida’s capacity to attack any of our countries or people from Afghanistan.

“Now, NATO remains fully committed to the fight against terrorism worldwide and will use all our capabilities to aid in that fight,” he said.

He said the new Strategic Concept for NATO will be worked on from now until the summit next year and is vitally important for modernizing the alliance.

He said this concept would help make sure NATO will be able to address challenges in the future, and foster unity among the Allies “as we navigate an increasingly complex and unpredictable security environment”.

“I think as you know, the current Strategic Concept, the one that we’re operating under now, dates to 2010, when Russia was considered a partner, China was not mentioned, and the alliance did not yet account for new challenges like cyber threats and the climate crisis,” he said.

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