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West claims IEA letter to US Congress ‘misconstrued the facts’

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(Last Updated On: November 20, 2021)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said on Friday the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) letter to Congress this week “misconstrued the facts” about the country’s economic and humanitarian crises.

In a series of tweets, West said: “The Taliban’s (IEA) letter to Congress earlier this week misconstrued the facts re Afghanistan’s economic & humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, & the pandemic.”

This comes after Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi warned Wednesday that continued “sanctions” will not help the current situation and could instead lead to a major crisis including a mass migration.

In a letter addressed to the United States Congress, Muttaqi said after suffering decades of war, the Afghan people now “have a right to financial security.”

“Currently the fundamental challenge of our people is financial security and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government,” he said.

He also said that following the signing of the Doha Agreement in February last year, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) “no longer find ourselves in direct conflict with one another nor are we a military opposition, what logic could possibly exist behind the freezing of our assets?”

However, West said on Friday that “U.S. officials made clear to the Taliban (IEA) for years that if they pursued a military takeover rather than a negotiated settlement with fellow Afghans…then critical non-humanitarian aid provided by the international community – in an economy enormously dependent on aid, including for basic services – would all but cease. That is what occurred.”

He said the U.S. would “continue clear-eyed, candid diplomacy with the Taliban (IEA). Legitimacy and support must be earned by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government, and respect the rights of minorities, women and girls – including equal access to education and employment.”

West also stated that the U.S. will continue to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid. “We’ve provided $474 million this year, applaud the robust efforts of Allies and partners in this space, and are making every effort to help the UN and humanitarian actors scale up to meet needs this winter,” he said.

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Islamic countries to meet on Afghanistan crisis on Dec. 19

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Pakistan’s foreign minister called on Saturday for a fresh effort to stop neighboring Afghanistan sliding further into crisis as he announced an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) later this month. 

The meeting of foreign ministers from Islamic countries will be held in Islamabad on Dec. 19, with delegations from the European Union and the so-called P5 group of the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China also invited.

“To abandon Afghanistan at this stage would be a historic mistake,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad, warning that half the country was facing the risk of starvation that could trigger further chaos.

“Instability could give way to renewed conflict, it could trigger an exodus of refugees,” he said.

There have been growing warnings of the humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan since international aid was abruptly cut following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover on Aug. 15 and fears of disaster if the situation is not brought under control.

However, getting help in has been hindered by sanctions on dealing with the IEA, the U.S. decision to freeze billions of dollars of central bank reserves held outside Afghanistan and the collapse of much of the country’s banking system.

Pakistan recently agreed to allow 50,000 tonnes of wheat to transit through its territory from India to help Afghanistan but aid agencies have warned that much more help is urgently needed.

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Pakistan to let Afghan trucks transport wheat from India to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Pakistan’s has allowed India to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines through Wagah as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, the Pakistani government said in a statement Saturday.

“With a view to further facilitate Pakistan’s decision to allow transportation of 50,000 MT of wheat and life-saving medicines from India to Afghanistan via Wagah border on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes, it has been decided to also allow the use of Afghan trucks for transportation from Wagah border to Torkham,” read the statement.

“This demonstrates the commitment and seriousness of the Government of Pakistan to facilitate the proposed humanitarian assistance.”

The statement noted that the decision was conveyed to the Charge d’ Affaires of India on Saturday at the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs adding that “the Indian government was also urged to proceed quickly to take necessary steps to expeditiously undertake the delivery of the humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.”

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France, Europeans working to open joint mission in Afghanistan: Macron

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Several European countries are working on opening up a joint diplomatic mission in Afghanistan that would enable their ambassadors to return to the country, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday.

Western countries have been grappling with how to engage with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) after they took power in Afghanistan in mid-August.

The United States and other Western countries shut their embassies and withdrew their diplomats when the previous government collapsed, following which the IEA declared an interim government whose top members are under U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

“We are thinking of an organisation between several European countries… a common location for several Europeans, which would allow our ambassadors to be present,” Macron told reporters in Doha before heading to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.

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