Ariana: Islamabad will ask the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA)[Taliban] to rein in militants in Pakistan after a suicide bombing killed scores of police in a mosque, AFP reported on Saturday. Detectives have blamed an affiliate of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for Monday’s blast in Peshawar which killed more than 100 people inside a fortified police headquarters. Click here to read more (external link).
Tolo News: The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in its newly released report said that the “Taliban” derives revenue from this aid in the form of “licenses,” “taxes,” and “administrative fees” imposed on NGOs and their employees as a condition for operating in Afghanistan. Click here to read more (external link).
8am: The victims included four children, two women and one man, according to the Taliban-appointed spokesman of Balkh police. No information was immediately available on the reason and motives for this mass shooting. Since the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan, mass murders, revenge killings and criminal offenses in Afghanistan have increased unprecedentedly. Click here to read more (external link).
Ariana: The Dutch government announced Friday it will not appeal a court order to pay compensation to relatives of civilians who were killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan. The District Court of The Hague found in November that the late-night attack violated international humanitarian law. The court sided with four survivors of the attack who sued the Dutch state for compensation. Click here to read more (external link).
8am: In the announcement issued by the Taliban-appointed district governor in Nusay district of Badakhshan province, it is stated: “Regarding religious and ideological considerations, all ethnic groups in the territory of this district are instructed that from now on, no one from Sunni followers will be allowed to give a daughter to a Shia follower, nor a Shia Muslim can give a daughter to a Sunni Muslim. Some citizens see this decision as discrimination and as fueling intolerance and prejudice among religious groups. Click here to read more (external link).
Al Jazeera: Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities have detained an academic who tore up his degrees on live television in protest against a ban on women’s university education in the country, his aide said on Friday. “From today I don’t need these diplomas any more because this country is no place for an education. If my sister and my mother can’t study, then I don’t accept this education,” veteran journalism lecturer Ismail Mashal said in the video that went viral on social media last month. Mashal’s aide Farid Ahmad Fazli told AFP news agency that the academic was “mercilessly beaten” and taken away in a very disrespectful manner by members of “the Islamic Emirate”, the Taliban government. Click here to read more (external link).
Fox News: Afghanistan’s [Taliban] deputy minister of intelligence bragged on national television about his role in a 2018 suicide bombing in Kabul that killed over 100 people. During an appearance on TOLONews Jan. 28, Taj Mir Jawad [Jawad Sargar] took credit for directing the attack, along with other attacks, including car and suicide bombings. The 2018 attack involved an ambulance full of explosives traveling to an intersection in Kabul, where it detonated and killed over 100 civilians, including women and children. Click here to read more (external link).
February 2, 2023
WASHINGTON — The United Nations says its humanitarians will not leave Afghanistan and will continue delivering lifesaving aid despite Taliban restrictions on Afghan women’s work for nongovernmental organizations.
“The humanitarian community does not go on strike,” Martin Griffiths, a top U.N. official for humanitarian affairs, told representatives of member states on Wednesday.
The announcement comes as some international aid agencies have suspended their operations in Afghanistan to protest a December 24, 2022, order by the de facto Taliban government banning local women from working for NGOs.
The Taliban say the restrictions on women’s work and education are temporary until they figure out how this can be done within religious confines.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an intergovernmental body of 48 majority Muslim countries, and many Muslim scholars have condemned the Taliban’s restrictions on women as inherently against Islamic values.
Griffiths, who traveled to Afghanistan last week urging Taliban officials to reverse the ban, said some immediate exceptions have been offered for women to work in the health and education sectors.
“Where exceptions exist, we will work,” he added. “This year, the U.N. has appealed for $4.6 billion in humanitarian response to the crisis in Afghanistan.
The funding, if provided by donors, will be used to assist 28 million Afghans, 6 million of whom are close to famine, Griffiths said.
Last year, donors met nearly 60% of the $4.4 billion the U.N. requested for the Afghanistan appeal.
Despite the U.N.’s readiness to continue operating in the country, it is unclear how donors will respond to providing funding to a country under a system that women’s rights groups have called gender apartheid.
The United States, European countries and other donors have refused to recognize the Taliban government. They have imposed sanctions and have warned that there would be costs for the group’s misogynistic policies.
Over the past 18 months, the United States has given about $2 billion in humanitarian assistance to U.N. agencies and other relief organizations to feed and assist millions of Afghans who have been pushed to extreme poverty.
“The Taliban regime’s institutionalized abuse of women raises the important question for policymakers of whether the United States can continue providing aid to Afghanistan without benefiting or propping up the Taliban,” the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a report on Thursday.
Taliban authorities extract revenue from aid money to Afghanistan in the form of tax, license fees and administrative expenses, SIGAR said.
Germany, another major humanitarian donor to Afghanistan, has voiced concerns about whether aid can be delivered without violating humanitarian principles.
“It is clear to us that if women cannot continue to work and cannot participate in the implementation of humanitarian aid, then very fundamental humanitarian principles are being violated, principles that must be adhered to in the allocation of humanitarian aid,” German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andrea Sasse told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday.
“The measures by the Taliban violate all of these principles. As the federal government, we are discussing how to respond to this behavior on the part of the Taliban,” Sasse said.
Sweden, which gave roughly $32 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in 2022, may provide a similar amount this year but a decision will be made in March.
“We still hope that the edict will be rescinded, since it presents a serious obstacle to the delivery of principled humanitarian aid,” Rebecca Hedlund, a spokesperson for Swedish representation at the U.N., told VOA.
The State Department did not respond to written questions about whether Washington is considering reducing or ending humanitarian aid to a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Condemning the Taliban’s ban on women, the United States this week announced additional visa restrictions on unnamed Taliban officials and members of their families.
“We continue to coordinate closely with allies and partners around the world on an approach that makes clear to the Taliban that their actions will carry significant costs and close the path to improved relations with the international community,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday.
Activists have questioned the effectiveness of U.S. visa restrictions on Taliban leaders, saying most Taliban officials are already under a U.N. travel ban.