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Turkey criticises U.S. statement on resettlement of Afghans

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2021)

Turkey on Tuesday criticised a U.S. program to offer potential resettlement to Afghans who may be targets of Taliban violence due to their U.S. affiliations, saying the move would cause a “great migration crisis” in the region.

The U.S. State Department on Monday announced a new program under which thousands more Afghans will have a chance to resettle as refugees in the United States. Afghans in the progam would have to make their own way to a third country, where they will wait 12 to 14 months for their application to be processed.

A senior State Department official said Washington had been in discussion with neighbouring countries on potential outflows, adding it was important that Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan remain open, while others might travel to Turkey via Iran.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it rejected a reference to Turkey as a migration route for Afghans, and added that Turkey – the world’s leading host for refugees with more than 4 million migrants – would not “undertake a new migration crisis on behalf of a third country”.

“As Turkey, we do not accept the irresponsible decision taken by the United States without consulting our country. If the United States wants to take these people to its country, it is possible to transfer them directly to their country by planes,” the ministry said.

“No one should expect the Turkish nation to bear the burden of the migration crises experienced as a result of the decisions of third countries in our region,” it added.

Hundreds of Afghans have crossed into Turkey in recent weeks amid rising violence in Afghanistan, raising concerns of a fresh influx of migrants.

Ties between Ankara and Washington have been strained over a host of issues, from Ankara’s move to purchase Russian defence equipment to legal issues and policy differences in Syria, Libya, and the eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul’s Hamid Karzai international airport after the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, in a move that could create an area for cooperation between the NATO allies.

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Magnitude 5.6 quake hits western Afghanistan, killing more than 20

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2022)

An earthquake rocked western Afghanistan on Monday, killing more than 20 people and destroying hundreds of homes, local authorities said.

The 5.6 magnitude tremor shook the western province of Badghis, bordering Turkmenistan, in the afternoon, reducing brick homes to rubble, according to photos shared by local authorities, Reuters reported.

“Unfortunately, our initial reports show that 26 people, including five women and four children, have been killed and four others injured,” said Baz Mohammad Sarwari, the director of Information and Culture of the Badghis provincial administration.

“The Mujahideen have reached to some of the affected areas, but Badghis is a mountainous province, the number of casualties might go up,” he added, referring to Taliban fighters, and adding that heavy rain was also lashing the area.

Mullah Janan Saeqe, head of the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of State for Emergency Affairs, confirmed the death toll and said more than 700 houses had been damaged, Reuters reported.

Sanullah Sabit, the head of the nursing unit at the main hospital in Badghis’ capital said they had received five patients injured in the quake, mostly with broken bones and fractures.

The quake was at a depth of 30 km (18.64 miles), according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

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China’s birthrate falls to lowest level in 61 years

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

China’s birthrate has fallen to its lowest level in six decades, barely outnumbering deaths in 2021 despite major government efforts to increase population growth and stave off a demographic crisis.

Across China, 10.62 million babies were born in 2021, a rate of 7.52 per thousand people, the national bureau of statistics said on Monday.

In the same period 10.14 million deaths were recorded, a mortality rate of 7.18 per thousand, producing a population growth rate of just 0.34 per thousand head of population, the Guardian reported.

The rate of growth is the lowest since 1960, and adds to the findings of last May’s once-a-decade census, which found an average annual rise of 0.53%, down from 0.57% reported from 2000 to 2010.

China, like much of east Asia, is in the grip of a population crisis, with lowering birthrates, and predictions of imminent negative population growth and an ageing population. Monday’s figures showed the proportion of over-60s in China rose from 18.7% in 2020 to 18.9%.

Beijing has announced major reforms to address the decline, including raising the retirement age. A three-child policy has replaced the two-child policy that was introduced in 2016 and had sparked a slight increase in births before falling again.

The high cost of living, delayed marriages and lack of social mobility are frequently cited as contributing factors to young Chinese people’s reluctance to have children.

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CSTO to take anti-drug trafficking measures at Afghanistan border

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold a three-phase anti-drug trafficking operation at the border with Afghanistan, the organization’s Secretary General Stanislav Zas told Russia-24 news outlet.

He said the CSTO has a range of activities planned for 2022, including military security and the fight against terrorism, Russia-24 reported.

“These are measures of fighting against the illegal circulation of narcotics. This subject is especially important on the backdrop of the recent events in Afghanistan. Here we plan three stages of anti-drug trafficking measures,” Zas said.

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