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World Refugee Day: about 6.5 million Afghans are refugees across globe

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(Last Updated On: June 20, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) says that an estimated 6.5 million Afghans are living as migrants or asylum seekers in about 70 countries.

Addressing a press conference on the occasion of World Refugee Day (June 20), Abdul Basit Ansari, a spokesman for the MoRR, said that Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey host the largest number of Afghan refugees.

“Currently, about 6.5 Afghans are living as migrants in more than 70 countries, and that most of them have migrated to Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey,” Ansari said.

He added that more than four million Afghans, have been forced to flee their homes due to ongoing clashes across the country.

Meanwhile, at an event organized by the Afghan government and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to mark World Refugee Day, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, reaffirmed the government’s strong commitment to enabling voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity, and sustainable reintegration of Afghan refugees. 

“They are an integral part of Afghanistan and without them, the Afghan nation is incomplete”, Ghani said.

The UNHCR in a statement stated that Afghans constitute the world’s largest protracted refugee situation around the globe, with millions displaced at different time intervals. 

According to the statement 2020 recorded about 132,700 Afghan refugees, though an overall reduction in numbers in 2020, Afghans still remain the third-largest population displaced across borders with a total of about 2.6 million refugees. 

More than 85 percent of Afghan refugees are hosted in Iran and Pakistan, the statement noted.

“Afghan refugees and diaspora abroad have accumulated a wealth of human capital, skills, and assets with which they can play an important role in the nation-building, and reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” President Ghani said.

Speaking on the occasion of World Refugee Day, Caroline Van Buren, UNHCR’s Representative in Afghanistan commended Government’s efforts in including returnees and displaced Afghans in the national priority programs particularly health, education, and livelihood sectors. 

“Inclusion and addressing the vulnerabilities of returnees displaced population through coordinated and comprehensive area-based humanitarian and development investments to build the resilient communities is at the heart of our (government and UNHCR’s) strategies in Afghanistan,” she said.

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Five wounded in Kabul explosion

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

At least five people including Islamic Emirate (IE) forces were wounded on Monday morning when a roadside mine detonated in PD7 along Darulaman Road.

The explosion took place at about 9.45am local time close to Habibia High School and the target appeared to have been a Hilux vehicle.

According to eyewitnesses, the explosion had been from a roadside mine and caused casualties.

Some eyewitnesses said the Hilux vehicle was being driven by IE forces at the time of the explosion.

An Ariana News reporter in the area said according to eyewitnesses at least five people were wounded in the explosion including IE forces.

Immediately after the explosion, IE forces cordoned off the area, and ambulances were seen arriving at the scene.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the explosion but ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan (ISIS-K), known locally as Daesh, have been responsible for a number of explosions in Kabul in recent months.

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Export of Afghanistan’s talc resumes: Industrial Association

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

Afghanistan Industrial Association said Monday that Kabul recently exported 500 tons of talc powder to a number of countries including China, Spain and the UK.

Abdul Jabbar Safi, the head of the association, said: “Afghanistan has recently exported talc to Pakistan, Turkey, India, China, Spain, and the UK. Exports have resumed and we want to expand our exports.”

The association meanwhile also called for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to focus on the mining sector and provide facilities for the extraction of minerals in order to boost investment.

They also called on government to establish new policies around mining, also to boost investment in the sector.

Safi meanwhile said that since the mid-August takeover by the IEA, “illegal extractions of mines, as well as smuggling, have been prevented.”

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Lush cosmetics shuts down its social media accounts globally

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

UK cosmetics company Lush shut down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts globally on Friday, citing its concern about the harms of social media in the wake of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations.

CEO Mark Constantine told the Guardian he was happy to lose $13 million that the company expects to lose by shutting their accounts.

“In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now,” the company said in a press release.

Lush’s announcement came just ahead of one of the biggest days of shopping all year, and the brand fully expected that losing its pipelines to millions of customers could harm its business.

Lush’s Facebook and Instagram accounts had a combined 10.6 million followers, according to The Guardian.

“We’ve tightened up over the Covid period, it won’t destroy us,” Constantine told The Guardian, adding that Lush had “no choice” given Meta’s own research about Instagram’s adverse impact on teenage girls’ mental health.

“We’re talking about suicide here, not spots or whether someone should dye their hair blonde,” Constantine continued, telling The Guardian: “How could we possibly suggest we’re a caring business if we look at that and don’t care?”

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