KABUL (Pajhwok): Fresh humanitarian aid worth $367 million was announced for Afghanistan last week by the international community, which once again stressed the formation of an inclusive government in the country. Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi termed the release of Bashir Noorzai as the opening of a new chapter in relationsh with the United States.
Last week’s major events
- Prisoner swap deal opens a new chapter in relationship with the US
- UN and some countries stress an inclusive government in Afghansitan to ensure durable peace and stability
- Kabul spurns Shebaz Sharif’s claim of terrorist groups’ presence in Afghanistan
- Some civil society representtives demand reopening of girls’ schools
- $40 million cash humanitarian assistance reaches Kabul
- US announces additional $327 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan
- 98 people killed and injured in Afghanistan last week
Thirty-one people were killed and 67 others injured in different violent incidents across the country last week.
Seven people were killed and 41 others injured in a blast in fron of the Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan Mosque in Kabul on Friday, according to police.
Three people were killed and 13 others injured in a blast in the Dehmazang locality of Kabul last week, but a source said on condition of anonymity that seven bodies and 16 injured individuals were evacuated to Estiqlal and Aliabad Hospitals from the site of the explosion.
Two women were killed and four others injured during a search operation in Lashkargah last week. A man was killed unintentionally in gunfire by security forces in the Andkohi district of Faryab province last week.
One man was killed and two others were injured in a grendade blast in Takhar province, according to reports. Three people of a family were killed and two others wounded in a blast in Kandahar province. In Helmand, two children were killed by an explosive remnant of war (ERW) blast.
Unknown gunmen killed three people and injured on in Badghis and Faryab provinces last week.
Two security personnel were killed and a third injured in an armed ambush.
The casualty figures available to Pajhwok Afghan News are based on the basis of reports received from different sources. However, there are chances of some casualty reports being missed or soruces providing inaccurate information.
Besides claims of scores of casualties in Panjsher, 10 people were killed and 13 others injured nationwide in different violent incidents the previous week
Before the regime change in the country last year, hundreds of civilians and armed personnel from conflicting sides were killed and injured in clashes, blasts and other violent incidents every week.
New chapter in ties with US
Haji Bashir Noorzai, a national businessman and important Taliban figure who had been detained in 2005 in the US and sentenced to life improsenment, was released last week in line with a prisoner swap deal.
Addressing a gathering last week, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that Noorzai had been freed as part of a prisoner swap deal and the step would help open a new chapter in the relationship with the US.
Muttaqi said a range of issues had been discussed with a visting US delegation that handed Noorzai over to Taliban authorities.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West, during a meeting with Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Sani, hailed Doha’s role in the prisoner exchange accord.
At a meeting with UNAMA deputy head Marcus Potzel, Muttaqi said the Islmaci Emirat of Afghanistan was striving to forge cordial ties with the international community. He believed UNAMA could play a vital role in this regard.
Need for inclusive govt stressed
Last week, special envoys and representatives for Afghanistan of the US, UN, European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the UK met last week and released a joint communiqué, calling for durable stability, an inclusive government, a political system and national dialogue among Afghans.
Also, US Special Envoy for Afghan Women and Girls and Human Rights Rina Amiri met foreign ministers and senior officials from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey and Uzbekistan along with US Special Representative Thomas West on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
She said inclusive governance and respect for human rights, particularly the rights of women girls to education and work, were key to normalised relations with the the caretaker government in Kabul.
Earlier, the interim administration had said the incumbent government was inclusive.
Sharif’s claim about terrorist groups
Last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, said the international community was concerned about the threat posed by terrorist groups based in Afghanistan.
In a statement, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said: “The Islamic Emirate once again rejects these concerns and makes its position clear to the world that the Afghan soil will never be used against anyone. No armed group exists in Afghanistan.”
The ministry said foreigners must interact with the caretaker government in a positive way instead of voicing basless concerns. They were urged to share their suggestions and concerns directly instead of issuing public statements.
Former president Hamid Karzai and some other political experts rejected the claims of Sharif regarding activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
Also, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, speaking at the UN General Assembly, urged efforts to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists.
But the caretaker government insisted security had been ensured in Afghanistan and no groups would be allowed to use the Afghan territory against any other country.
Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the government, said: “The Islamic Emirate is committed to working with other countries and there is no group in Afghanistan pose threats to others.”
In March, the caretaker government shut all secondary schools for girls — hours after reopening them for the first time under their rule. The authorities promised to reopen the schools once a plan in this regard was devised. But a year on, the plan is yet to be unveiled.
During a meeting in Kabul, representatives of several civil society groups urged government officials to reopen girls’ schools above sixth grade.
The Education Department in Kandahar province, in a fresh step banned students from going to school below the sixth grade.
Continued humanitarian aid
Amid continued international humanitarian aid, 40 million dollars reached Kabul kast week. Thus, aid to Afghanistan over the last 12 months increased to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Last week, the United States pledged an additional $327 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday: “This assistance … will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries through international humanitarian organisations.”
According to reports, the 23rd shipment of medical assistance from the EU reached Kabul last week.
As part of humanitarian support, Ukraine pledged 30,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Development Programme said it was providing medical equipment to 17 drug rehabilitation centres in Afghanistan.
The first-ever train carrying commercial goods arrived in northern Balkh province last week, when a joint economic corridor of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China formally opened.
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, addressing the inaugural ceremony, said Afghanistan had become a bridge between Central Asia and South Asia and would soon become the region’s roundabout.
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