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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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Pakistan NSA claims Afghan soil still being used against Pakistan, IEA denies

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf has claimed Thursday that Afghan soil was still being used against Pakistan, Dawn News reported.

Briefing Pakistan’s National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yusuf has also claimed that “organized terrorist networks” are operating in the country.

“Had a very productive discussion on the National Security Policy (NSP) and Afghanistan. I am grateful for the appreciation we received for our work from members of the committee,” Yusuf tweeted.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), however, has consistently emphasized that Afghanistan’s territory is not a threat to any country and that no terrorist group is allowed to operate against other countries from inside Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Emirate has good relations with all countries in the region and we do not want any country to be threatened by Afghanistan,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.

Pakistani NSA, meanwhile, informed lawmakers that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had unilaterally broken the month-long ceasefire agreement with the government.

“Those who declare war on the country will be dealt with an iron fist,” said Yusuf quoted by the Dawn News.

 

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Qatar, Turkiye, IEA agree on ‘several key issues’ to run Kabul airport

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

Qatar, Turkiye, and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) agreed on “several key issues” to operate the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul on Thursday.

“The delegations of the State of Qatar, the Republic of Turkey and the Afghan caretaker government concluded Thursday in Doha a tripartite meeting on the management and operation of Kabul International Airport,” a Qatari Foreign Ministry statement said.

“They agreed on several key issues on how to manage and operate the airport,” the ministry added.

The ministry said that the meeting in Doha came as a continuation of previous talks, the latest round of which took place in Kabul last week.

The final round of negotiations will take place next week, it added.

Flights were suspended at Afghanistan’s main international airport in Kabul after the IEA took over power last August and the US troops destroyed equipment and a radar system at the facility before leaving the country.

In late December 2021, diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency that Turkiye and Qatar agreed to jointly operate the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan.

After talks between committees from both countries, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Turkish and Qatari companies to operate the airport in collaboration on the basis of equal partnership.

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Bus services restart in Kabul and provinces: officials

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

Meli Bus company officials said on Thursday that they have restarted bus services in Kabul and some provinces in the country.

According to officials, 100 buses in Kabul city are back on the road and 32 others are operational in Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar, Laghman, Parwan and Paktia provinces.

“Buses are running in Kabul city on many routes, and will continue in the future. We are working on [restoring services] in the province also,” said Mohammad Ayoub Mohammadi, head of Meli Bus company.

Kabul residents welcomed the move and many said that their transport problems will now be resolved.

“It is a positive step in this bad economic situation. Facilitation should be brought to people’s lives,” said Zakriya, a resident of Kabul.

“Before that the officials were renting these cars (buses), it was not good. Now it should be managed very well,” said Anayatullah, a Kabul resident.

Kabul municipality officials meanwhile said that they have removed many concrete barriers in the city, and that efforts are underway to make things easier for commuters.

“We have cleared many of the places and routes in coordination with the Ministry of Interior,” said Namatullah Barakzai, spokesman for the Kabul municipality.

This comes amid complaints by Kabul residents of high taxi fares.

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