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Talks teams in Doha agree to continue negotiations

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(Last Updated On: July 19, 2021)

While a ceasefire is still elusive, two days of talks in Doha, Qatar, between the Afghan government and Taliban delegations wrapped up on a somewhat positive note after both sides agreed to continue negotiations.

Delegates from both sides met late Sunday night – again behind closed doors.

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), who headed the Afghan Republic’s team assured people that government is seriously committed to working for peace in the country and that it will continue talks in the coming weeks.

“We concluded the two days of intensive talks with the Taliban in Doha. We exchanged views on core issues concerning the two parties. We listened to each other’s point of views, interpretations & the ways forward to end the conflict through a comprehensive political settlement,” Abdullah tweeted.

“In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the talks, we agreed to continue the talks, seek a political settlement to the current crisis, avoid civilian casualties, facilitate humanitarian assistance & medical supplies to tackle Covid-19 pandemic.

“During the talks we reiterated the republic’s commitment to a just & durable peace, an end to violence & resolving the current crisis through a negotiated political settlement.

“We thank all our partners, especially the State of Qatar for hosting & supporting the peace talks,” he said.

The Taliban’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem also tweeted a statement to this effect.

While it was hoped that a temporary ceasefire between the Taliban and the government would emerge from this round of talks, the two sides appear to not have discussed the issue of an Eid ul-Adha ceasefire.

The meetings were closed to the media and except for the delegations from the Afghan Republic and the Taliban, the only other participant was the Qatari special envoy.

The meetings come at a critical juncture in Afghanistan’s history. With the withdrawal process of foreign troops from the country almost complete, the Taliban has ramped up attacks across the country and seized dozens of districts.

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France evacuates more than 300 people from Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

France has carried out an evacuation mission in Afghanistan, taking 258 Afghans as well as 11 French, about 60 Dutch nationals and an unspecified number of people linked to them out of the country, a French foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

The operation was organised with help from Qatar, a ministry statement said.

Since September 10, 110 French people and 396 Afghans have been evacuated from Afghanistan on 10 flights organised with the help of Qatar, the statement added.

France and Qatar jointly operated a humanitarian mission on Thursday, delivering medical equipment, food and winter supplies to international organisations operating in the country with a Qatari military plane, Reuters reported.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this week described an “alarming” socioeconomic outlook for Afghanistan for the next 13 months.

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UNHCR calls for more aid for forcibly displaced in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2021)

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has appealed for much more support amid acute and rising humanitarian needs for 3.5 million people displaced by conflict inside Afghanistan – including 700,000 who were displaced in 2021.

In a statement released on Friday, UNHCR said that the forcibly displaced are facing a lack of insulated shelters, warm clothes, insufficient fuel for heating, and inadequate amounts of food and medical supplies as temperatures begin to plunge below freezing.

“The humanitarian crisis is escalating daily in Afghanistan. Hunger in the country has reached truly unprecedented levels. Nearly 23 million people – that’s 55 percent of the population – are facing extreme levels of hunger, and nearly 9 million of them are at risk of famine,” the statement read.

The organization emphasized that providing food supplies is an “immediate priority” to help avoid widespread starvation in the country.

“This year, UNHCR has assisted some 700,000 displaced people across the country the majority since mid-August. The race is on to reach more. Currently, we are able to reach nearly 60,000 people every week.”

“Further resources are urgently needed for the most vulnerable -single mothers with no shelter or food for their children, older persons who have been displaced are left to take care of orphaned grandchildren, and those taking care of loved ones with special needs.”

UNHCR has been bringing in relief supplies by road through Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and through humanitarian airlifts.

The organization noted that five more flights carrying UNHCR winter supplies from its global stockpiles in Amman are scheduled next week.

“UNHCR support will continue throughout the cold season until February 2022 to help forcibly displaced families cope with the extreme conditions. The response includes core relief items, such as thermal blankets and warm winter clothing. Shelters are being repaired and reinforced, while people are also being provided plastic sheeting and insulation materials to help weather-proof their shelters,” the statement said.

The organization added that vulnerable families are also being provided with cash assistance to meet additional needs during the coldest months, such as fuel for heating.

“Further support is urgently needed for UNHCR to continue delivering lifesaving aid this winter as we head into the coldest weeks of the season. UNHCR’s funding needs for the Afghanistan Situation in 2022 – including continued winter response – amount to US$374.9 million,” the statement concluded.

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Security forces rescue girl, arrest 9 kidnappers in Balkh operation

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) forces have rescued an abducted girl in northern Balkh province, officials said Friday.

Sadra. 9, was kidnapped in PD3 of Mazar-i-Sharif city, the capital of Balkh, on Tuesday while she was going to school.

IEA officials stated that Sadra had been rescued in a joint operation of security forces in the city.

One of the kidnappers was killed, and nine others were arrested during the raid, officials said.

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