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World Leaders at UN Approve Plan for Refugee Crisis

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(Last Updated On: September 20, 2016)

4World leaders on Monday approved a declaration aimed at providing a more coordinated and humane response to the refugee crisis that has strained resources and sparked divisions from Africa to Europe.

The issue of what to do about the world’s 65.3 million displaced people took center stage at the U.N. General Assembly with leaders from the 193 member states taking part in the first-ever summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.

Advocacy groups worried that the New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees — an outcome document which contains no concrete commitments and is not legally binding — falls short of what is needed, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, himself a refugee during the Korean War, hailed it as historic.

“Today’s summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility,” Ban said.

Around the world, there are currently about 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million asylum seekers, and 40.8 million migrants, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. The agency defines refugees as people forced to flee due to armed conflict or persecution, while migrants choose to move in search of a better life.

Afghanistan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani during his speech has declared different factors for persecution of Afghans to leave their country, poverty, insecurity and unemployment.

The declaration seeks to standardize responses to refugee situations and provide better education prospects for the children who make up over half of the world’s refugees.

It also looks to improve working opportunities for refugees who are now spending nearly 20 years in exile on average.

There are also plans for a campaign to combat xenophobia.

All of this may prove an uphill struggle at a time when refugees and migrants have become a divisive issue in Europe and the United States.

“The overall climate is not very favorable to receiving refugees in many parts of the world but on the one hand, states committed to this so we can remind them of their obligations. On the other hand, states, just like us, need a more predictable way of responding to the refugee crisis that’s what this New York declaration proposes,” Fillipo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told The Associated Press.

Grandi said he disagreed with criticism that the declaration lacked concrete commitments. He said it expands the concept of refugee response beyond humanitarian aid — like food, medicine and tents — to include things like education and jobs.

Still, advocates for refugees expressed disappointment that the U.N.’s need for consensus meant that the stronger provisions in the declaration had been watered down.

Several countries shot down an earlier draft of the declaration that called on nations to resettle 10 percent of the refugee population each year, something that has led several human rights groups to criticize the document as a missed opportunity. The U.S. and a number of other countries also objected to language in the original draft that said children should never be detained, so the agreement now says children should seldom, if ever, be detained.

More concrete progress is expected at a follow-up summit on Tuesday called by President Barack Obama, where at least 45 countries are expected to make pledges that are in line with U.S. goals of increasing humanitarian aid by $3 billion, doubling resettlement and increasing access to education for 1 million youngsters and access to employment for another million of the displaced.

“Both summits are crucial to raising awareness of refugee and migration concerns, and both events are designed to harness the political will of member states to address the global refugee and migration crises we are all facing,” said U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby, speaking in Washington.

Published by nytimes.com

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We are committed to assisting Afghan forces as long as needed: NATO SCR

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2020)

Stefano Pontecorvo, the Senior Civilian Representative of NATO to Afghanistan said that foreign troops would continue assisting the Afghan forces “as long as needed”.

In an exclusive interview with Ariana News, Stefano Pontecorvo said that the decision in this regard would be made by the Afghan government.

Pontecorvo added that the Taliban’s high level of violence is unacceptable, noting that the government’s concerns about not releasing the remaining Taliban prisoners are legitimate.

Given the stalemate over the release of prisoners, he called on both laterals to show flexibility in achieving peace. He also legitimizes the Afghan government’s concern about the remaining Taliban prisoners.

“Although the prisoner release is slowly proceeding, we would like to see this stepped up a bit, but there are issues which are real issues on the side of the government on releasing the remaining number of prisoners. We call for flexibility from all sides,” NATO SCR Stefano Pontecorvo told Ariana News.

This high-ranking NATO civilian official considers it important to build internal consensus at the leadership level to achieve peace. He says the countries of the region and the world have agreed on a general consensus in this regard. He also says that the presence of the forces of NATO in Afghanistan will be at the request of the Afghan government.

“We don’t want to stay here forever, but we are committed to assisting for as long as we need to be here, and that will be decided by the Afghan government.”

Meanwhile, NATO Envoy called on the Taliban to remain committed and credible in achieving peace.

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Taliban attacks kill 19 Afghan forces in Kunduz, Badakhshan provinces

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2020)

The Taliban militants attacked security base and outposts in Kunduz and Badakhshan provinces on Sunday night, killing at least 19 Afghan forces.

Mohammad Yousuf Ayoubi, head of Kunduz provincial council told Ariana News that the insurgents stormed a base of Afghan forces in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province on Sunday night.

Ayoubi said, at least six army soldiers and six policemen were killed and seven policemen were wounded after several hours of clashes with the Taliban fighters.

According to him, the base fell to the hands of the Taliban for a short period and they fled and seized the equipment of the base after back-up troops arrived in the area.

Local officials, however, confirmed the incident but did not provide details about the casualties. 

In a separate incident, the Afghan forces came under attack in the Arghanchkhah district of Badakhshan province.

The attack resulted in the death of seven Afghan forces, Nek Mohammad Nazari, a spokesman for Badakhshan governor confirmed. 

The incident happened at around 11 p.m. Sunday and lasted for three hours, Nazari said, adding that at least five Taliban militants were also killed in shoot exchange.

In southern Kandahar, at least 11 Taliban insurgents were killed in the counterattack of the Afghan forces in the Shorabak district of the province.

Jamal Nasir, a provincial police spokesperson told Ariana News that five insurgents were wounded and their attack was pushed back.

Nasir noted that no casualty was imposed on the Afghan forces.

The Taliban militants yet to comment about the incidents. 

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Dozens killed, wounded as Taliban attack NDS office – Samangan

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2020)

Taliban militants attacked the office of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) in Aybak city, the capital of Samangan province, killing 11 people and wounding 70 more, local officials confirmed.

The officials said that a suicide attacker detonated an explosive-laden vehicle at the entrance gate of the NDS office at around 10:50 on Monday.

Following the blast three assailants engaged in fighting with the Afghan forces

The Taliban militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group in a statement claimed that dozens of the NDS employees were killed or wounded in the incident.

The attack comes as the group signed an agreement with the US in Qatar, pledging not to carry out attacks the Afghan forces in the big cities of the provinces.

Meanwhile, President Ghani condemned the attack and called it “Criminal, anti-human and terrorist act”.

Ghani added that the Taliban attack meant to insist on conflict and continue violence.

“ President Ghani called on the Taliban to stop fighting and killing Afghans and accept the call for peace of the government and people of Afghanistan and the international community to end the war and establish peace. 

He added that escalating violence and war would undermine progress in the peace process.

“Today’s Samangan attack killing & injuring civilians is absolutely unjustifiable. Taliban’s insistence on continuous violence is jeopardizing the unique opportunity for peace. I call on TB to cease bloodshed & engage constructively at the negotiating table, “said Stefano Pontecorvo, the NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan.

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