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UNHCR warns of looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2021)
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as the escalating conflict brings increased human suffering and civilian displacement.
 
An estimated 270,000 Afghans have been newly displaced inside the country since January 2021 – primarily due to insecurity and violence –  bringing the total uprooted population to over 3.5 million, the UNHCR said in a statement Tuesday.
 
Families forced to flee their homes in recent weeks cite the worsening security situation as the predominant reason for their flight.
 
In addition to ongoing fighting, displaced civilians have told UNHCR and partners of incidents of extortion by non-state armed groups and the presence of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on major roads. Many have reported interruptions to social services and a loss of income due to rising insecurity.
 
The number of civilian casualties has risen 29 percent during the first quarter of this year compared to 2020, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). An increasing proportion of women and children were among those targeted.  
 
The needs of those who have had to flee suddenly are acute, UNHCR said in the statement adding that the organization and its partners are assisting newly displaced Afghans with emergency shelter, food, health, water and sanitation support and cash assistance.
 
The UNHCR also warned that a failure to reach a peace agreement in Afghanistan and stem the current violence will lead to further displacement within the country, as well as to neighbouring countries and beyond.
 
The organization in turn called on the international community to step up support to the Afghan government and the people at this critical moment, in a spirit of solidarity and burden-sharing.
 
“Humanitarian resources are currently falling dramatically short. UNHCR’s financial appeal for the Afghanistan situation (including operations for Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran) remains acutely underfunded, at only 43 percent of a total $337 million required,” the statement read.

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Turkey could run Kabul airport, says Erdogan

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

Having previously run Kabul airport, Turkey can take similar steps in the future with Qatar and Afghanistan if the three countries reach a deal, the Turkish president said on Friday.

“So far, we have had a lot of effort in Afghanistan’s infrastructure and superstructure … We were operating the Kabul Airport. In the future, if agreements can be reached, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan, we can take such steps,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters.

About the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s recent visit to Turkey, Erdogan said the group asked for humanitarian aid and “made requests concerning the functionality of new process in Afghanistan.”

Erdogan vowed to provide “all manner of support” to the Afghan people as long as the interim administration “takes a just stance in protecting the rights of the Afghan people.”

He said the IEA should also take a fair stance in their relations with Turkey.

An IEA delegation visited Turkey on Thursday to discuss bilateral issues, as well as cooperation on the future of Afghanistan.

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UN says shelter supplies land at Uzbek border for northern Afghans

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

The first of three planned aid flights landed in Uzbekistan on Friday, carrying shelter supplies to be taken by truck for tens of thousands of displaced people in Mazar-i-Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, the U.N. refugee agency said.

“The first flight landed in Termez,” UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told Reuters in a message from Kabul, referring to the Uzbek border town.

The flight carried 32 tonnes of relief supplies from UNHCR’s warehouse in Dubai – mainly shelter items, kitchen sets, plastic tarpaulin – or one-third of the cargo planned in the operation, he said. In all they will be distributed to 18,000 families or 126,000 people, he added.

“We are racing against time to give people assistance before winter … If you are out there in the open without any help that cold can kill you,” Baloch told a briefing earlier in the day.

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Daesh claims responsibility for mosque attack in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

Islamic State (Daesh) claimed responsibility for a suicide bomber attack at a Shi’ite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar which left dozens killed and injured, a statement posted by the group’s Amaq news agency said on Friday.

The statement added that two Daesh fighters shot the guards of the mosque dead, broke in and blew themselves up between two groups of worshippers, one of which consisted of around 300 people.

It was the second week in a row that Daesh militants bombed Friday prayers and killed dozens of worshippers.

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