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EU re-establishing ‘minimal presence’ in Kabul

Embassy is being opened after five months

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EU re-establishing ‘minimal presence’ in Kabul
GNN Media: Representational Photo

The European Union on Thursday announced it had begun re-establishing a “minimal presence” in Kabul to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

“Our minimal presence in Kabul must not in any way be seen as recognition” of the Taliban government there,” EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement. 

“This has also been clearly communicated to the de facto authorities,” he added.

Afghanistan is in the grip of a humanitarian disaster, worsened by the Taliban takeover in August that prompted Western countries to freeze international aid and access to billions of dollars worth of assets held abroad.

The country was almost entirely dependent on foreign aid under the previous US-backed government, but jobs have dried up and most civil servants haven’t been paid for months.

No country has yet recognised the Taliban, with most watching to see how the hardline Islamists -– notorious for human rights abuses during their first stint in power -– restrict freedoms.

Shortly before Stano made his comments, an Afghan foreign ministry spokesman said on Twitter that the EU was reopening “an embassy” with “a permanent presence in Kabul” for the first time in five months. 

Stano said in the statement “the EU has started to re-establish a minimal presence of international EU Delegation staff to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and monitor the humanitarian situation”.

The international community is waiting to see how the Taliban Islamic fundamentalists intend to govern Afghanistan, after having largely trampled on human rights during their first stint in power between 1996 and 2001. 

While the Taliban claim to have modernised, women are still largely excluded from public employment and secondary schools for girls remain largely closed.

Several countries, including China. Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Iran have kept their embassies in Kabul open since the Taliban victory last year, but have not formally recognised their government.

Western diplomats began to evacuate their personnel in the first half of 2021, when American troops began operations to withdraw permanently from Afghanistan. 

The withdrawal culminated at the end of August with the chaotic evacuation of 120,000 people following the Taliban’s lightning conquest of the country.

Faisal Waqas

Faisal Waqas is a passionate journalist who has eight years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has previously worked with other renowned private TV channels as well as English Newspaper and now associated with GNN as Senior Content Writer. Faisal has graduated from the University of Punjab and earned his M.Phil degree in Mass Communication from Superior University of Lahore.

World

7 Indian troops perish in accident near disputed border with China

The incident happened early Friday when a vehicle carrying the soldiers skidded off the road and plunged about 50 feet into the Shyok River

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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7 Indian troops perish in accident near disputed border with China

At least seven Indian soldiers were killed and 19 others injured in a road accident in the remote Ladakh region, close to the country's disputed border with China, police said on Friday.

The world's two most populous nations redirected tens of thousands of additional troops into the high-altitude Himalayan region after a deadly hand-to-hand battle in June 2020 left at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers dead.

“Seven soldiers killed, 19 injured in the remote Nubra area,” a senior police officer in Ladakh told AFP.

The incident happened early Friday when a vehicle carrying the soldiers for deployment close to the contested frontier skidded off the road and plunged about 15 metres (50 feet) into the Shyok River, according to the official.

“Anguished by the bus accident in Ladakh in which we have lost our brave army personnel,” India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

“My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recover at the earliest. All possible assistance is being given to the affected.”

India and China, after fighting a full-scale border war in 1962, have long accused each other of trying to seize territory along their unofficial divide, which is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Relations have soured dramatically since a June 2020 clash along one section between Ladakh and Tibet.

Both sides have since reinforced the region with extra soldiers, military hardware and new infrastructure as multiple rounds of military and diplomatic talks have failed to de-escalate tensions.

SOURCE: AFP

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Pakistan

Govt coalition agrees on name of Justice (r) Maqbool Baqar as Chairman NAB

The government believes the Opposition Leader will also support the government's pick

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Govt coalition agrees on name of Justice (r) Maqbool Baqar as Chairman NAB

Islamabad: The government and its coalition partners have agreed on name of Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar as the new Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

According to sources privy with the development, the name of a former Supreme Court judge came under discussion during a meeting of Prime Minister Imran Khan and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

Sources further said that Government believes the Opposition Leader of the National Assembly will also support the government pick as Maqbool Baqar’s judicial career is spotless.

Government members are hopeful that if all goes smoothly, Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar will be the new head of the anti-graft watchdog. 

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Regional

Balochistan set to hold local government elections tomorrow

Over 2,000 polling stations declared extremely sensitive

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Balochistan set to hold local government elections tomorrow

Quetta: Balochistan is all set to hold local government elections in 32 districts on May 29 (Sunday) amid tight security arrangements.

According to details, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has declared over 2,000 polling stations sensitive and the provincial government has enhanced security to avert any untoward incident during polling.

In Balochistan, a total of 17,774 candidates are contesting the LG elections. Chief Minister Balochistan, Mir Quddus Bizenjo ordered the release of Rs600 million to meet the expenses of the elections including logistics expenditures of the election staff and law enforcement agencies.

According to Provincial Election Commission, the total number of registered voters in the 32 districts is 3,552,398 with over 2,000,000 male voters and 1,546,124 female voters.

The ECP has set up 13,533 polling booths in 5,624 polling stations across 32 districts. Election results will be announced on June 2.

The voters will exercise their votes for seven Municipal Corporations, 49 Municipal Committees, and 838 Union Councils in these districts. There are 6,259 wards including 5,345 rural and 914 urban.

On the other hand, a special security plan was made to ensure peaceful and smooth polling.

Besides, 45,438 security personnel — including members of the police, Levies, Anti-Terrorist Force and Frontier Corps (FC) — will be deployed in and around polling stations. Army troops along with FC personnel would be deployed at all tentative polling stations.

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