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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Afghanistan Highlights: Taliban breaking promises including over women, says UN

Afghanistan-Taliban Highlights: "Importantly, and in contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women's rights, over the past three weeks, women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere," UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in her speech.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 14, 2021 7:10:59 am
Taliban, Taliban flag, 9/11, United states, US embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, world news, indian express news, indian express, current affairsThe Taliban flag is painted on a wall outside the American embassy compound in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2021. (AP)

Afghanistan crisis Highlights:  The United Nations’ human rights chief criticised Monday the Taliban’s record since seizing power in Afghanistan, saying stated commitments did not match realities on the ground such as the status of women.

“Importantly, and in contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, over the past three weeks, women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere,” UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in her speech.

Meanwhile, in a first since the Taliban’s takeover, a foreign commercial flight landed in Kabul Monday. According to Reuters, a special chartered commercial flight of Pakistan International Airlines carried officials from the World Bank and journalists. The aircraft later returned to Islamabad.

Live Blog

Afghanistan LIVE updates: UN says Taliban breaking promises including over women; First commercial flight travels between Kabul-Islamabad. Follow highlights from Afghanistan here.

21:48 (IST)13 Sep 2021
India will stand by Afghans as it did in past: S Jaishankar

With Afghanistan facing a grave humanitarian crisis, India on Monday said it will stand by Afghans just as it did in the past.

Noting that Afghanistan is passing through a “critical and challenging” phase, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also said the international community must come forward to help it.

In a virtual address at the UN high-level meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the minister said that India has consistently supported a central role of the global body in the future of the war-torn country. More details here.

21:35 (IST)13 Sep 2021
Afghans face ‘their most perilous hour’, warns UN boss

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for donors to pledge hundreds of millions of dollars for Afghanistan, saying that poverty was spiralling and many people could run out of food by the end of the month.

“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters in opening remarks at a Geneva conference where $606 million is being sought.

UN, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, Afghanistan, Afghanistan poverty, Poverty, Geneva, indian express, indian express news, world news, current affairs
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (File)
18:57 (IST)13 Sep 2021
Denmark to provide financial aid to Afghanistan via UN agencies

Denmark said at the Geneva donor conference on Afghanistan it is giving 240 million more kroner ($38.1 million) to the ailing country.

Meanwhile, neighboring Norway pledged Monday an extra 100 million kroner ($11.5 million) to be sent via different organizations of the United Nations and the International Red Cross, among others.

“More than 18 million people in Afghanistan now need protection and life-saving assistance. Half of all children are at risk of acute malnutrition,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide.

The Danish money also would be channeled through U.N. agencies and Danish organizations working in the region. (AP)

16:17 (IST)13 Sep 2021
Qatar FM says asked Taliban to respect women's rights

Qatar's foreign minister said on Monday the Gulf state has asked the Taliban to respect women's rights by giving several examples of Muslim countries where women have an active role in society.

According to Reuters, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani was speaking in a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Doha. Le Drian said dozens of French nationals are still in Afghanistan and Paris is working with Qatar to evacuate them.

15:32 (IST)13 Sep 2021
UN rights chief rebukes Taliban over treatment of women

The United Nations' human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Monday noted that the Taliban's stated commitments did not match the realities on the ground in regards to human rights, Reuters reported.

"Importantly, and in contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women's rights, over the past three weeks, women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere," she told the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Bachelet also criticised the lack of women in the newly formed Taliban government and its dominance by ethnic Pashtun.

15:06 (IST)13 Sep 2021
UNHCR Commissioner visits Kabul to access humanitarian needs

The UNHCR Commissioner Filippo Grandi visited Kabul on Monday to "assess the country’s acute humanitarian needs and the situation of 3.5 million displaced Afghans."

14:47 (IST)13 Sep 2021
PIA's commercial flight heads back to Islamabad

The Boeing 777 with the flight number PK 6429 departed from Islamabad, Pakistan, as a commercial flight chartered by the World Bank, carrying officials from the bank and journalists, airline spokesman Abdullah H. Khan said.

The aircraft later returned to Islamabad. "It was a special chartered commercial flight," Khan told Reuters. "We also accommodated other individuals who wanted to leave Afghanistan since we had space on the plane," PIA's Chief Operating Officer Arshad Malik said in a statement. (Reuters)

14:17 (IST)13 Sep 2021
Taliban’s cabinet not inclusive, say activists

Youth and civil society activists at a press conference in Kabul on Sunday said the Taliban’s cabinet is not inclusive as it lacks women, minorities and youth, TOLO News reported. The group urged the Taliban to address this.

13:41 (IST)13 Sep 2021
Russia to send food, medical aid to Afghanistan soon

Russia is planning to send food and medicine to Afghanistan soon as humanitarian aid, the RIA news agency cited Russia's foreign ministry as saying on Monday. (Reuters)

13:19 (IST)13 Sep 2021
Watch | PIA touches down in Kabul Airport

The Pakistan International Airlines said 'it is keen to resume regular commercial services to Afghanistan, but it is too soon to say how frequently flights would operate.'

11:53 (IST)13 Sep 2021
First foreign commercial flight since Taliban takeover lands in Kabul

A Pakistan International Airlines flight landed at the Kabul airport Monday, with around 10 people on board, according to AFP. 

10:55 (IST)13 Sep 2021
India acknowledges: Taliban hold positions of power, authority

In its first clear and official reference to the Taliban as a state actor, India acknowledged in a joint statement with Australia Sunday that the group holds “positions of power and authority across Afghanistan”.

This reference is a step forward for the diplomatic establishment, but falls short of officially recognising the Taliban administration as the government of Afghanistan. Sources told The Indian Express that Sunday’s formulation was arrived at after “much debate and deliberation” over the last week after the Taliban announced its Cabinet. Read more.

10:18 (IST)13 Sep 2021
Health care in Afghanistan is crumbling, aid groups warn

The health care system in Afghanistan is teetering on the edge of collapse, endangering the lives of millions and compounding a deepening humanitarian crisis, public health experts warn.

Afghanistan is already on the brink of universal poverty, according to a United Nations report Thursday, and only its richest citizens will be able to afford health care. Assuming that health care coverage is cut by half because of the funding loss, deaths among women and children will increase by at least 33% over the next year — nearly 2,000 women and more than 26,000 children per year — according to one analysis. Read the full New York Times report here.

08:47 (IST)13 Sep 2021
UN seeks $600 million to avert Afghanistan humanitarian crisis

The United Nations is convening an aid conference in Geneva on Monday in an effort to raise more than $600 million for Afghanistan, warning of a humanitarian crisis there following the Taliban takeover.

Even before the Taliban's seizure of Kabul last month, half the population - or 18 million people - was dependent on aid. That figure looks set to increase due to drought and shortages of cash and food, UN officials and aid groups warn. An abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign donations following the collapse of Afghanistan's Western-backed government and the ensuing victory of the Taliban has heaped more pressure on UN programmes.Yet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says his organisation is struggling financially: 'At the present moment the UN is not even able to pay its salaries to its own workers,' he told reporters on Friday. (Reuters)

21:50 (IST)12 Sep 2021
Qatar Foreign Minister discusses bilateral relations with Taliban

Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in his meeting with the Taliban leaders discussed bilateral relations, humanitarian assistance and interaction with the world, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen tweeted.

19:32 (IST)12 Sep 2021
Security forces to have training module on Taliban

Border forces and armed police units deployed in the counter-terrorism grid have been directed by the central security establishment to prepare and administer a new training module on the Taliban and its modus operandi to the troops in view of the "emerging" scenario following the Islamic militia taking over Afghanistan. --PTI

19:31 (IST)12 Sep 2021
Afghan musicians flee Kabul, fearing for their lives and dire future for art under Taliban rule

As the Taliban tighten its grip on power in Afghanistan, patrons of the popular Afghan music in Pakistan are shutting their offices with artistes in Kabul being forced to flee into hiding, resulting in cancellation of music programmes and huge losses for the industry. The Taliban swept across the country last month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1. On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the insurgents. The Taliban claimed victory over opposition forces in the last holdout province of Panjshir on September 6, completing their takeover of Afghanistan three weeks after capturing Kabul. --PTI

19:30 (IST)12 Sep 2021
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid says he lived in Kabul right under nose of his adversaries

Taliban's spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who appeared before the media for the first time in a decade at a press conference after the insurgent group seized Kabul last month, said that he lived in the Afghan capital right under the nose of his adversaries who considered him a 'ghost-like' figure during the war. Mujahid, who operated in the shadows for years, also admitted that he studied at the Haqqania seminary in Nowshera in northwest Pakistan, which has also been dubbed the Taliban University or the 'University of Jihad' internationally. "They (US and Afghan National Forces) used to think I did not exist," Mujahid told The Express Tribune newspaper in an interview. --PTI

15:13 (IST)12 Sep 2021
Taliban: Women can study in gender-segregated universities

Women in Afghanistan can continue to study in universities, including at post-graduate levels, but classrooms will be gender-segregated and Islamic dress is compulsory, the higher education minister in the new Taliban government said Sunday.

The minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, laid out the new policies at a news conference, several days after Afghanistan’s new rulers formed an all-male government.

The world has been watching closely to see to what extent the Taliban might act differently from their first time in power, in the late 1990s. During that era, girls and women were denied an education, and were excluded from public life. Read more

13:01 (IST)12 Sep 2021
Taliban's 'spectacularly uninclusive' govt unlikely to survive: William Dalrymple

Describing the new Afghanistan government as "spectacularly uninclusive" even within the Taliban frame, author-historian William Dalrymple says the "all-male old guard ultra-conservative Pashtun mullah, establishment is unlikely to survive.

Surprised that the Taliban talked about inclusivity but did not even "dress it up", the author of 'Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan' said the new government wouldn't appeal to either western donors', 60 per cent of Afghans or women who comprise 50 per cent of the country's population.

"It is a surprise because even if they haven't given big places to (former president) Hamid Karzai or someone from the old regime or even if they were doing but a window dressing by putting a few women in minor positions that would have been more expected given the PR they were putting out over the last month," Dalrymple told PTI in a phone interview. (PTI)

A man walks with a child through Fort Bliss' Doña Ana Village where Afghan refugees are being housed, in New Mexico, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. (AP)

The United States has halted all evacuation flights from Afghanistan after discovering a limited measles outbreak among refugees arriving in the country. The decision was made on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which cited "health safety concerns". 

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that all countries should engage with the Taliban to deliver the message that the Afghan people should live in peace under an inclusive government that respects basic human rights. Guterres highlighted that the country should not become a sanctuary for terrorism anymore. The UN rights office on Friday had said that the Taliban response to peaceful marches in Afghanistan has been increasingly violent, with authorities using live ammunition, batons and whips and causing the deaths of at least four protesters.

On the other hand, India on Friday called for an “inclusive dispensation” in Afghanistan, representing all sections of society. Underlining that it was its “immediate neighbour and a friend to its people”, New Delhi said “the current situation is of direct concern to us”. This was India’s first response to the announcement of the Taliban government, days after the Pakistan ISI chief reached Kabul and handpicked the appointments.


Meanwhile, Pakistan on Friday said that they hope the new interim Taliban government will bring "peace, security and stability" to the war-torn country and work towards taking care of humanitarian and development needs of the Afghan people.

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