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UN launches ‘biggest ever appeal for single country’ of $4.4 billion for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 11, 2022)

The UN launched the “biggest ever appeal” for humanitarian aid for Afghanistan for $4.4 billion dollars on Tuesday to stop it from sinking into a humanitarian crisis.

At a news conference on Monday, Under-Secretary Martin Griffins told reporters the funding was an essential stop gap measure and the future of the country and its region was at stake.

Griffins also said that money would help the economy so that humanitarian agencies could operate in the country, Reuters reported.

This comes after last year in December the United Nations appealed 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,” Griffins said.

In a report to donors at the time, 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.

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MoF finalizes plan to collect Zakat and Usher

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said on Sunday a plan outlining the collection process of Usher (Islamic tax on certain harvests) and Zakat (Islamic tax on personal income) has been finalized and will be submitted to the council of ministers soon.

Officials said that after the approval of the plan a special board will be established to collect the Usher and Zakat from Afghan citizens.

“Two things are very important to us; first we want to collect it (Usher and Zakat) via a digital system, and second we want to spend it via a regular system based on Sharia laws,” said Ahmad Wali Haqmal, spokesman for the MoF.

Some clerics meanwhile welcomed the IEA’s plan, saying that Zakat and Usher money should be distributed to people who deserve it.

“When the officials collect Zakat from traders, it should reach deserving people, and the process should be transparent. Second, it should be done in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce, which registers traders’ properties,” said Amanullah Ahmadi, a cleric.

The move however was met by mixed reactions among the public.

One Kabul resident, Ahmad Wais Akbari said: “People’s financial situation should be understood, employment opportunities should be created, salaries should be paid, in this case, everyone is ready, but the current situation is problematic,” said Akbari.

“We accept this but employment opportunities should be created for people, there is a lot of problems,” said Abdul Ghafar, a resident of Balkh.

“We demand the Islamic Emirate to not collect Usher from poor farmers,” said Naqibullah, a farmer in Takhar.

This comes as many investors fled the country after the mid-August takeover by the IEA and Afghans who stayed behind are dealing with a severe economic crisis.

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US seeking revenge for its defeat by imposing sanctions: China envoy

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)

China’s ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu criticized the United States for seeking revenge on Afghans for its defeat by imposing economic sanctions, and said that the US was using the issues of an inclusive government, human rights, women’s rights and freedom of expression as pretexts in Afghanistan.

In a meeting with Acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, on Sunday, the envoy said that China wants to work with Afghans to help them.

During the meeting Wang called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to ensure that Afghan soil will not be used against any country, the interior ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Afghan interior ministry officials thanked China for its humanitarian assistance and called on China to continue its assistance to the Afghan people during this difficult time.

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Five million Afghans fell victim to drugs in the past 20 years: Deputy PM

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials said Sunday that five million Afghans have become addicted to drugs in the past 20 years but that these addicts will be provided with treatment.

Speaking at an event in Kabul on Saturday, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister of Afghanistan said: “We have seen that nothing was done for Afghanistan during the occupation period, however, our youths are addicts and social problems increased.”

Meanwhile, the minister of information and culture of IEA, Khairullah Khairkhwa said that in addition to sanctions, some foreign countries launched propaganda campaigns against the IEA after their defeat.

“Experience has shown that countries which faced sanctions, built their own countries. We will solve the current problems,” said Khairkhwa.

IEA officials also welcomed humanitarian assistance being provided by the international community but reiterated that they would not accept conditions based assistance.

Officials also called on the people to accelerate their efforts to improve the current economic, social and health crisis

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