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West has inflicted catastrophic damage on Afghanistan: UK’s Miliband

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(Last Updated On: February 21, 2022)

The West has inflicted catastrophic damage on Afghanistan and its own reputation by imposing a policy of starvation on the country, said the UK’s former foreign secretary David Miliband, who is now chief executive of the International Rescue Committee.

“If we wanted to create a failed state we could not have a more effective policy mix than the one we have at the moment,” he told the Guardian.

Miliband has been instrumental in lobbying the Biden administration and the World Bank to release Afghanistan’s frozen assets, not only for humanitarian aid but also to start reconstructing the economy, the Guardian reported.

“I simply do not understand the lack of urgency to get this thing moving. It genuinely befuddles me that we should have allowed this to get so much worse so quickly,” he said.

He told the Guardian the crisis was so deep that the UN’s appeal for $4bn this year, due to be addressed at a pledging conference next month, was likely to rise to $10bn next year.

The Guardian reported however that reports have emerged that the World Bank board may meet in March to release as much as $1.3 billion that it has so far refused to release.

“What we are doing is not making it worse for the Taliban (IEA), it is making it worse for the people. We are not punishing the Taliban (IEA). It is ordinary Afghans that are paying the price of peace. It is not just a catastrophe of choice, but a catastrophe of reputation. This is a starvation policy,” Miliband said.

He said four problems needed to be addressed urgently if the country was to survive the remainder of the winter.

“There is no money to pay salaries. Some teachers and hospital workers have not been paid since April. That has to change.

“The US sanctions continue to have a chilling effect on commercial activity even though there are carve-outs in US and international sanctions for humanitarian purposes. The carve-out does not touch commercial entities so if you are a private agricultural or food importer who has to touch the government at the border in some way you are scared you are going to get caught up in the sanctions.

“Then there is the liquidity crisis, so there is no capital underpinning the banking system so no one can lend or pay for imports. Finally there are no technocrats or expertise in the Central Bank – they have all left. All this can be done without having to get into the issue of recognition of the Taliban (IEA).

“Together this is causing an economic freeze and in these tragic circumstances you can give more aid until you are blue in the face, and it will not solve the structural problems. I am in the ridiculous position of running an aid agency and I am saying ‘don’t just give out humanitarian aid, you have to underpin the economy’,” he told the Guardian.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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Uzbekistan to host international conference on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Tashkent will host a high-level international conference on Afghanistan at the end of July, Uzbekistan’s interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Norov announced.

Norov said the key focus would be on security, political stability and the socio-economic development of the region.

“As for Afghanistan, unfortunately, we are seeing a decrease in the attention of the international community to the situation in this country. Meanwhile, the situation there remains difficult, due to the acute economic crisis and the difficult humanitarian situation, challenges to regional security and stability remain,” he said.

Tashkent Times reported that Norov felt the international community should take responsibility for the present and future of Afghanistan and provide continued assistance to resolve problems in the country.

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IEA says it is open to considering advice from its neighbors

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(Last Updated On: May 15, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has urged the country’s neighbors to engage in bilateral talks with them in order to resolve common problems in a more coordinated way.

A spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that domestic issues concern Afghans but countries concerned with Afghanistan’s political structure can advise the IEA, which will consider suggestions.

However, he said that Afghans know best what is suited to them in terms of the formation of their government.

“We will not allow anyone to pose a threat to neighbors or other countries from Afghanistan. We are serious and committed in this,” said Mujahid.

“Another issue is that some countries have certain recommendations on the formation of government and its composition. We heard those which were in the form of advice and we will consider it.

“But we reiterate that Afghans know well who should be involved and how the government should be,” he said.

Political analysts, however, see Afghanistan’s engagement with its neighbors as a necessity to achieve global legitimacy.

It has been nine months since the Islamic Emirate came into power, but countries, especially Afghanistan’s neighbors, still have unilateral demands, critics have said.

IEA officials have made it clear that the new Afghan government attaches great importance to relations with its neighbors. In line with this, the IEA has called on neighboring countries to work at expanding relations with Kabul so that problems can be addressed jointly.

The formation of an inclusive government is one of the key conditions for the international community to recognize the ruling government of Afghanistan.

According to experts, so far the government has not been able to satisfy the international community and countries in the region.

Some religious scholars have said that the establishment of bilateral economic and diplomatic relations with countries is a basic need for the Islamic Emirate.

Although no country has officially stated that it recognizes the Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan has political representatives in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Uzbekistan and China.

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