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US looks into having 3 Central Asian states take in at-risk Afghans

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2021)

The Biden administration is exploring having three Central Asian countries temporarily take in thousands of Afghans who worked with U.S. forces and face threats from the Taliban now that American troops are withdrawing after 20 years, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

They said Washington is in talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan about letting in the at-risk Afghan citizens. Two of the sources were U.S. officials and all requested anonymity.

The three sources said an agreement did not appear imminent with any of the countries.

The decision to move at-risk Afghans risks inflaming a sense of crisis in Afghanistan, as fighting between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban has surged in recent weeks, with the militants gaining control of large amounts of territory, Reuters reported.

Thousands of Afghan translators and interpreters face threats from the Taliban after working for two decades alongside the U.S. military.

The United States announced plans last week to seek refuge for thousands of vulnerable Afghans in countries outside Afghanistan so their U.S. visa applications could be processed from safety, but Washington did not specify where they would go.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki provided no further details on Friday, Reuters reported.

“One of the reasons that I’m not going to get into security details about what third country they might go to, and how many, is exactly for that reason, but certainly our timeline is to relocate these individuals to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown,” Psaki said.

President Joe Biden has said those who helped the United States will not be left behind, and on Thursday a senior Republican lawmaker said plans to evacuate at-risk Afghans will include their family members for a total of as many as 50,000 people.

“We are identifying a group of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants who have served as interpreters and translators, as well as other at-risk categories who have assisted us. They will be relocated to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown by September, in order to complete the visa application process,” a senior administration official said.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met his Tajik and Uzbek counterparts. The State Department said in readouts of the meetings that Afghanistan was discussed but provided no further details.

Washington agreed to withdraw in a deal negotiated last year under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden rejected advice from military leaders to hang on until an agreement could be reached between the insurgents and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government.

Biden told Ghani in Washington last week the Afghans must decide their own future. Ghani said his job was now to “manage the consequences” of the U.S. withdrawal.

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Senior IEA official voices concern over Daesh amid ongoing economic crisis

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) designated representative to UN, Suhail Shaheen, has warned the international community that the Afghanistan affiliate of ISIS (ISIS-K) could flourish if the West continues to impose economic sanctions against Afghanistan.

In an interview with Euro News, Shaheen stated that continued economic sanctions have plunged the people of Afghanistan into poverty and that this could pave the way for ISIS-K (also known as Daesh) to recruit fighters.

“The sanctions which have led to poverty in the country, are aggravating the current situation; the humanitarian crisis is providing a recruiting ground for ISIS to benefit from,” Shaheen said.

He added: “I don’t know why they (international community) are helping ISIS by continuing the sanctions and freezing our money which is the wealth of the people of Afghanistan.”

The United States has frozen over $9 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves following the collapse of the former government in mid-August.

Since then, the US and its allies have also imposed strict economic sanctions on Afghanistan, which has exacerbated an already struggling, aid-dependent economy.

Meanwhile, an IEA delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.

Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West.

IEA officials said that the Afghan and US delegations would discuss the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, humanitarian aid, education, and the reopening of embassies in Kabul among other issues.

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

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IEA delegation meet with Qatari officials in Doha

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials said on Friday night that the Afghan delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.
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Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West

Officials in Doha, who are accompanying Muttaqi, include representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Security, and Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank).

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry, confirmed the delegation’s meetings and said: “Detailed discussions were held about political, humanitarian, economic and education issues.”

According to Balkhi the Qatari officials pledged to continue to provide aid for Afghans.

“Qatari officials stated they will continue to stand by Afghans and will continue providing aid during the upcoming period,” added Balkhi

According to Balkhi, “IEA delegation thanked Qatar for their assistance and for playing a positive role during the previous negotiations.”

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