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UNICEF launches historic $2 billion appeal to save the lives of millions of Afghans

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(Last Updated On: December 8, 2021)

UNICEF launched its largest ever single-country appeal on Tuesday to urgently respond to the humanitarian needs of over 24 million people in Afghanistan, half of whom are children.

UNICEF said in a statement issued Tuesday that the appeal for US$2 billion will help to avert the imminent collapse of health, nutrition, WASH, education and other vital social services for children and families.

This comes amid a continuing humanitarian crisis. According to UNICEF there are alarming disruptions in health and nutrition services, a disastrous food crisis, drought, outbreaks of measles, acute watery diarrhea, polio and other preventable diseases, as well as the crippling onset of winter.

“The current humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire, especially for children. Winter has already set in and, without additional funding, UNICEF and partners will be unable to reach the children and families that need us the most,” said Alice Akunga, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative.

“As families struggle to put nutritious food on the table and health systems are further strained, millions of Afghan children are at risk of starvation and death. Others struggle to access water and sanitation, are cut off from their schools and at heightened risk of violence. As the desperation of families and children increases, UNICEF is doing everything possible to save and protect children,” she said.

UNICEF estimates that 1 in 2 children under five will be acutely malnourished and that outbreaks of life-threatening diseases continue, with over 60,000 cases of measles reported in 2021.

An estimated 8 of 10 Afghans drink bacteriologically contaminated water and 10 million children are at risk of dropping out of school if teacher salaries are not paid and crippling poverty levels continue.

According to UNICEF, the organization will prioritize life-saving interventions to treat children and provide other vital services.

UNICEF plans to use the funds to scale up services to treat one million children with severe acute malnutrition; vaccinate 10.5 million children against measles; provide safe water to 11.5 million people; and ensure that 7.5 million children are accessing education. The organization will also expand the use of humanitarian cash transfers to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable families and children.

“UNICEF is strongly urging donors to support Afghanistan’s children through its humanitarian appeal,” added Akunga.

“We need to call to mind our common humanity and do everything it takes to keep children alive, well-fed, safe and learning. It won’t be easy but with the lives and wellbeing of so many children at stake, we must rise to the challenge. We appeal to the international community to stand with us, shoulder to shoulder, so that the children of Afghanistan can have the life and future that is their right.”

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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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