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US-Taliban peace talks resume

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(Last Updated On: January 6, 2020)

The US special envoy, Zalmai Khalilzad, recommenced negotiations with Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban political deputy, in Qatar.

Sources close to Taliban have stated that the political office of the Taliban is willing to share their decision on how to reduce the level of violence in Afghanistan.

The US-Taliban peace talks were aborted due to an attack on Bagram Airbase. However, the talks have been given another chance in Qatar to finalize the process. The focus of the talks are to identify the position of the Taliban regarding the ceasefire.

“Khalilzad is going to meet with our representatives at our political office today. The Taliban discussed over previous demand on ‘ceasefire’, and today the results will be shared,” said Jalaluddin Shinwari, the Taliban Attorney General.

In the meantime, some sources close to Taliban indicate that the Taliban leaders have denied Khalilzad’s proposed demand in which Taliban were asked to declare ceasefire before signing the Peace Agreement.

“The mechanism to reduce violence is going to be discussed in these talks. We will eventually reach to an agreement,” said Kalil Safi, the former head of Pugwash.

The Afghan government is also looking out for the results of these talks. The Afghan Chief Executive Office too seems to be on the same page with Washington on the ceasefire, signing the US-Taliban Peace Agreement, and starting the Intra-Afghan talks.

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France evacuates more than 300 people from Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

France has carried out an evacuation mission in Afghanistan, taking 258 Afghans as well as 11 French, about 60 Dutch nationals and an unspecified number of people linked to them out of the country, a French foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

The operation was organised with help from Qatar, a ministry statement said.

Since September 10, 110 French people and 396 Afghans have been evacuated from Afghanistan on 10 flights organised with the help of Qatar, the statement added.

France and Qatar jointly operated a humanitarian mission on Thursday, delivering medical equipment, food and winter supplies to international organisations operating in the country with a Qatari military plane, Reuters reported.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this week described an “alarming” socioeconomic outlook for Afghanistan for the next 13 months.

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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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Security forces rescue girl, arrest 9 kidnappers in Balkh operation

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) forces have rescued an abducted girl in northern Balkh province, officials said Friday.

Sadra. 9, was kidnapped in PD3 of Mazar-i-Sharif city, the capital of Balkh, on Tuesday while she was going to school.

IEA officials stated that Sadra had been rescued in a joint operation of security forces in the city.

One of the kidnappers was killed, and nine others were arrested during the raid, officials said.

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