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'Sigh of relief' for Afghans who aided US military as evacuation begins

The Biden administration is set to begin evacuations of Afghan interpreters and translators who aided the US military effort in the nearly 20-year war, an administration official said.

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'Sigh of relief' for Afghans who  aided US military as evacuation begins
'Sigh of relief' for Afghans who aided US military as evacuation begins

The Operation Allies Refuge flights out of Afghanistan during the last week of July will be available first for special immigrant visa applicants already in the process of applying for U.S. residency, according to the senior administration official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

President Joe Biden has faced pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to come up with a plan to help evacuate Afghan military helpers ahead of next month’s U.S. military withdrawal. The White House began briefing lawmakers on the outlines of their plans last month.

The evacuation planning could potentially affect tens of thousands of Afghans. Several thousand Afghans who worked for the U.S. — plus their family members — are already in the application pipeline for special immigrant visas.

The Biden administration has also been working on identifying a third country or U.S. territory that could host Afghans while their visa applications are processed.

The administration is weighing using State Department-chartered commercial aircraft, not military aircraft, according to a second administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. But if the State Department requests military aircraft, the U.S. military would be ready to assist, the official said.

Tracey Jacobson, a three-time chief of mission in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kosovo, is leading the State Department coordination unit that will deliver on the president’s commitment under Operation Allies Refuge. That unit also includes representatives from the defense and homeland security departments.

Russ Travers, deputy homeland security adviser and former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, is coordinating the interagency policy process on Operation Allies Refuge, officials said.

Separately, the White House announced that Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the White House homeland security adviser, would lead a U.S. delegation to a security conference in Uzbekistan this week to discuss Afghanistan’s security issues with leaders from the Central 5 — Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia — and other regional players.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan reconciliation, are also expected to take part in the conference.

U.S. officials have said that one possibility under discussion is to relocate the Afghan visa applicants to neighboring countries in Central Asia, where they could be protected from possible retaliation by the Taliban or other groups.

The White House and State Department have declined to comment on the exact numbers to be relocated or where they might go.

Biden announced last week that the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan will end on Aug. 31.

The firming of the date to end the war comes after former President Donald Trump’s administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban to end the U.S. military mission by May 1, 2021. Biden, after taking office, announced that U.S. troops would be out by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The attacks were plotted by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan, where he had been given refuge by the Taliban.

SOURCE: AP 

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Faisal Ali Ghumman is a senior editor at GNN, known for writing top quality content which garner very high readerships and has been covering every field of journalism, including politics, media, sports and scholarly articles. Faisal Ali Ghumman is nothing less than a Veteran Editor and has been writing for GNN for the past 3 months.

Pakistan

Pakistan: Daily COVID-19 cases drop below 2,000

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

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Pakistan: Daily COVID-19 cases drop below 2,000

Islamabad: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio decreased to 4.10% from more than 11% a couple of weeks ago.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,897 cases of coronavirus were reported while 81 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 27,327. The daily Covid-19 positivity rate in Pakistan is at 4.22%.

The total number of cases has reached 1,227,905.

As many as 1,137,656 patients have recovered from the disease with 4,846 critical cases.

Punjab            

The number of patients swelled to 423,670 in the province with 12,449 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 451,448 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,289.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 171,589 in the province with 5,426 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,772 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 33,821 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 733. On the other hand, there are 10,257 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 104,348 cases in the capital city while 904 people have lost their lives.

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Pakistan

Pakistan's COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 4.22%

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

Profile Avatar

Published

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Pakistan's COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 4.22%

Islamabad: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio decreased to 4.22% from more than 11% a couple of weeks ago.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 2,167 cases of coronavirus were reported while 40 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 27,246. The daily Covid-19 positivity rate in Pakistan is at 4.22%.

The total number of cases has reached 1,226,008.

As many as 1,135,038 patients have recovered from the disease with 4,840 critical cases.

Punjab             

The number of patients swelled to 422,790 in the province with 12,407 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 450,787 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,270.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 171,388 in the province with 5,412 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,769 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 33,787 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 729. On the other hand, there are 10,245 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 104,242 cases in the capital city while 902 people have lost their lives

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Entertainment

BTS takes over UNGA, performs ‘Permission to Dance’ inside assembly hall

BTS’ speech was followed by a pre-recorded performance of their latest song ‘Permission to Dance’ which in itself is a message of positivity and hoping for an end to the pandemic.

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BTS takes over UNGA, performs ‘Permission to Dance’ inside assembly hall

New York: Acclaimed K-POP band BTS addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as the special presidential envoy for future generations and culture from their native South Korea— expressing their faith in young people's ability to imagine a better world despite pandemic.

They spoke about climate change, and sustainable development amid the pandemic. The band discussed the difficulties that the youth encountered as a result of the pandemic.

The group leader Kim Namjoon (RM) taking centrestage, began in Korean, “It is an honor to be here today, where BTS has been appointed as Special Presidential Envoy for The Republic of Korea. We’re here today to share the stories of a future generation. Before we came here, we asked the young people in their teens and 20s around the world about their past two years and about the world they find themselves in today".

BTS’ speech was followed by a pre-recorded performance of their latest song ‘Permission to Dance’ which in itself is a message of positivity and hoping for an end to the pandemic.

The artists took turns on stage during their seven-minute speech, but it wasn't all about UN goals. 

The pre-recorded video was presented soon after all members of the band- Jimin, J-Hope, Jin, Suga, RM, Jungkook, and V- spoke about the possibilities of the future generation and their ability to adapt to changing times amid a raging coronavirus pandemic.

Korean President Moon Jae-in, at the conclusion of his speech in session, introduced the seven band members as the ‘World's most loved artist’.

The UNICEF tweeted, “Today, BTS returned to #UNGA to share a powerful message on climate action, COVID-19 vaccines & the importance of taking care of ourselves and our communities. Thank you, @BTS_twt for inspiring a generation of young people. Together, we can create a better world. #BTSLoveMyself".

It is pertinent to mention here that BTS began their ‘Love Myself campaign’ with UNICEF in 2017, and it was the subject of RM's first UN speech, which he gave in English.

The band virtually attended the 75th Assembly. It took place last year and offered its message through a film that brought people comfort.

This time, the band members took turns speaking in Korean, which was simultaneously dubbed in English.

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