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Taliban leader says they are serious supporters of a political solution



(Last Updated On: July 18, 2021)

Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban leader, said in a message issued on the occasion of Eid al-Adha on Sunday that the Taliban group “with all its victories and military advances, is a serious supporter of a political solution to the country’s problem.”

He said that the Taliban would use any opportunity that “would lead to the uprising of the Islamic system and the coming of peace and security in the country.”

The Taliban leader spoke of peace at a time when the Afghan government delegation led by Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the Afghan High Council of National Reconciliation, and the Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhand, head of the Qatar political office in Doha, are holding talks.

The Taliban leader said the group had opened a political office “for good progress in the negotiations and the political process”, tasked the negotiating team and was “committed” to resolving issues through dialogue.

He claimed that the Afghan government, “is still wasting opportunities. Our message is that instead of relying on foreigners, let us solve our own problems and save the country from its current state.”

The Afghan government has blamed the Taliban of stalling peace talks.

Referring to the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, Mullah Haibatullah said: “Many districts and large areas of the country have become completely secure and the Taliban have become stronger, more organized and better equipped than before.”

This comes after the Taliban have taken control of dozens of districts in Afghanistan in recent months, and with the fall of these districts, equipment and weapons have fallen into the hands of the Taliban.

Recently Rohullah Akhundzada, the governor of Kandahar, said the districts of Kandahar province had not fallen militarily but politically.

He added that the only reason for the fall of the districts was because of the fight against corruption in the province, started by him.

He warned that he will provide proof of corruption to the people.

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India plans to send food to Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

India plans to send food and medical aid to Afghanistan amid warnings that the nation could face a catastrophic famine this winter.

India is considering options to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and medical aid to Afghanistan. This, however, will be subject to Pakistan’s approval.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for “urgent and unhindered” humanitarian assistance to Afghan citizens.

Speaking at the G20 summit on Afghanistan, Modi had noted that the Afghan people have a great feeling of friendship for India and that every Indian feels the pain of Afghan people facing hunger and malnutrition.

Meanwhile, UN World Food Programme (WFP) had earlier said it is in touch with India to donate wheat to Afghanistan.

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US will not join Russia’s Afghanistan talks this week



(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

The United States will not join international talks on Afghanistan organized by Russia this week due to logistical reasons, but is open to participating in the future, the State Department said on Monday.

Moscow is hosting talks on Wednesday with officials from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), China and Pakistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative was quoted as saying last week.

“We will not participate in the Moscow talks. The Troika-plus has been an effective, a constructive forum. We look forward to engaging in that forum going forward, but we’re not in a position to take part this week,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

“It has been effective in the past, it’s just logistically difficult for us to take part this week,” Price said.

Asked if the United States supports the process, Price said: “We do.”

Moscow hosted a conference on Afghanistan in March at which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the then-warring Afghan sides to reach a peace deal and curb violence.

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House-to-house polio vaccination campaign to recommence across Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

A nation-wide polio vaccination campaign will resume in Afghanistan next month, UNICEF announced Monday.

In a statement issued by the organization, the World Health Organization and UNICEF welcomed the decision by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leadership supporting the resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination campaign.

The vaccination campaign, which begins on November 8, will be the first in over three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, including more than 3.3 million children in some parts of the country who have previously remained inaccessible to vaccination campaigns.

“This is an extremely important step in the right direction,” said Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan.

“We know that multiple doses of oral polio vaccine offer the best protection, so we are pleased to see that there is another campaign planned before the end of this year. Sustained access to all children is essential to end polio for good. This must remain a top priority,” he said.

With only one case of wild poliovirus reported so far in 2021, Afghanistan has an extraordinary opportunity to eradicate polio. Restarting polio vaccination now is crucial for preventing any significant resurgence of polio within the country and mitigating the risk of cross-border and international transmission.

“This decision will allow us to make a giant stride in the efforts to eradicate polio,” said Hervé Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan.

“To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated, and with our partners, this is what we are setting out to do,” he said.

The polio programme has started preparations to rapidly implement the nationwide vaccination campaign, which is a result of ongoing high-level dialogue between the UN and the IEA leadership to swiftly and urgently meet the health needs of the people in Afghanistan.

“This is not only a win for Afghanistan but also a win for the region as it opens a real path to achieve wild poliovirus eradication,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

In addition to this, UNICEF reported that as the overall health system in Afghanistan remains vulnerable, all parties have agreed to immediately start measles and COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in order to mitigate against the risk of a rise in diseases and deaths.

This will be complemented with the support of the polio eradication programme and with outreach activities that will urgently begin to deliver other life-saving vaccinations through the national expanded programme for immunization, UNICEF reported.

While the safety and security of health workers remains a prime concern for the polio programme, the IEA leadership has expressed their commitment for the inclusion of female frontline workers and for providing security and assuring the safety of all health workers across the country.

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