Opposition claims success in raid on Aibak
7/28/2001 11:52:08 AM
KABUL (Agencies): Afghan opposition forces claimed success in an overnight raid against the Taliban militia in a northern provincial capital.Opposition spokesman Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem said a small group of anti-Taliban fighters infiltrated Samangan provincial capital Aibak late Wednesday night and launched the surprise attack.
"Nine Taliban were killed and commander Paigham along with his seven men were captured," Nadeem told Agency by satellite phone from northern Afghanistan.
He said the raid was in retaliation for a Taliban attack against opposition forces in Keshendeh, 75 kilometers west of Aibak in neighbouring Balkh province.
Taliban officials were not available to comment on the opposition's claims.
The Taliban militia seized Kabul in 1996 and controls most of the country, except for various pockets of resistance from a range of loosely affiliated opposition forces.
WHO sends missions to epidemic-hit areas
7/28/2001 11:52:08 AM
PESHAWAR: World Health Organisation this week sent three missions from Mazar-I-Sharif to Samangan, Saripul and Sheberghan provinces to assess the cholera outbreak, conduct health education campaigns and distribute medical supplies.
According to report released by UN Agency the teams met with governors of these provinces and briefed them on the situation.
The governors expressed their full support in control of the epidemic.
Since the outbreak of cholera in northern region of Afghanistan, a total of 1,123 cases were registered in Aibak, Huzrati Sultan and Khulm districts and nine deaths were reported.
In Sheberghan and Saripul provinces, WHO team briefed the participants on diarrhea and cholera control and preventive measures, health education, sanitation, chlorinating of water sources, wells in villages and early referral of patients to hospitals.
The team's members added that they staged health education campaigns through mosques (Imams), schools, and health facilities.
WHO in co-operation with UNICEF, MoPH, UN agencies, and NGOs chlorinated water sources and provided medical supplies to health facilities functioning in Aibak, Hazrat-Sultan, Khulm, Aq-Kubrek Keshendeh Districts and Sheberghan and Samangan hospitals where the cholera outbreak was reported.
On July 13, the first reports of severe diarrhea were received from Aq Kubrek, Keshendeh District of Balkh Province.
MoPH team carrying ORS and chlorine donated by UNICEF and drugs and IV solutions donated by WHO left Mazar- i-Sharif to investigate and control the out-break.
They set up treatment sites and treated 90 cases of dehydration due to watery diarrhea, and there were no deaths among those patients.
On July 14, the situation in Khulm and Feroz Nakhchir of Samangan Province was under control.
The cases are decreased to normal seasonal diarrhea.
In Aibak District the hospital still receives acute gastro-enteritis cases with severe dehydration, mostly from IDP camps.
In all villages of Hazrat Sultan district, chlorination of water sources (pools and wells) was completed.
The local people were trained on cholera and diarrhoea preventive measures.
7/28/2001 11:52:08 AM
Islamabad (PPI): The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Kuroyanagi, who has just returned from a visit to Afghanistan has said that the displaced Afghan people badly needed tents, food and water.During her week-long visit, Kuroyanagi intended to observe condition of Afghan children and women in Afghanistan.
She said she held talks with the Heart Governor about children education.
She said ``I met many displaced people in that camp of Heart city which is hosting one Lakh and thirty Five thousand refugees where the refugees told me that they neither have tents nor food nor water''.
The Japaneese artist said that a condition of girls was a matter of concern.
She said there was no school in the Heart camp but some girls in Heart city were getting education in private schools.
She said that the Afghan children had still some hope but their hopes could be fulfiled only when there is peace in the country.
Kuroyanagi also visited Faizabad city of Badakhshan where she also held talks with former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani.
UNICEF goodwill ambassador urges
Islamabad, July 28, IRNA -- UNICEF goodwill ambassador for Afghanistan, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, on Saturday urged the world community to help war-weary and drought-stricken Afghans, as hope among the Afghans is gradually dying. Speaking at a press conference after her six-day trip to Afghanistan, the Japanese TV star said Afghans believe that there is no way out of their miseries and that a thinking of sheer disappointment has developed among them. "I have been visiting many refugee camps in Africa, Asia and Europe since 1984 as a goodwill ambassador, but I never observed the kind of situation as in Herat during my 17-year career," said the Japanese celebrity. "A majority of Afghan children and women, who are experiencing worst conditions of life, do not have any other option but to survive on insufficient food and contaminated water," Kuroyanagi added. To a question, she said hundreds of thousands of dollars are required for immediate support programs in health and educational sectors in war-torn Afghanistan. Bringing some painful memories from Afghanistan, she expressed grave concern over the plight of internally displaced people, particularly women and children, who are being attacked by various fatal diseases. She said she visited camps in Kunduz, Faizabad and Herat in Afghanistan and found that the people are living in pathetic condition. "All the camps are overcrowded by the war victims."
To a question, she said that most of the Afghan women had held the `war' responsible for their miseries. "Most of the women who lost their husbands in the war had showed immense displeasure with internal conflicts in Afghanistan. A number of widows have seen their children dying with their own eyes, which provoked anti-war sentiments among them." The other major factor what they held responsible for their poor plight was drought conditions in the whole country, the goodwill ambassador said. Portraying a gloomy picture of Heart and Faizabad camps, she said the children are suffering from fatal diseases of cholera and malaria, whereas the medical clinics in the camps have failed to provide satisfactory healthcare services. When asked about her personnel opinion regarding the reports that U.N Security Council may impose further sanctions on Taliban, she parried the question saying she is not concerned with the business of UNSC. She termed her visit a real success and pledged to persuade the Japanese people to make their contribution in lessening the agonies of Afghan people. "We have prepared an hour long documentary, which will be telecasted in Japan, with an aim to bring the people forward to help the deserving people of Afghanistan," she concluded. TK-422/AH End ::irna 16:34
Food distributed in southern provinces
7/28/2001 11:52:08 AM
PESHAWAR: Over 900 tons of food were distributed to 9,914 families in Kandahar, Helmand and Zabul Provinces.
According to report released by UN Agency in addition, 115 tons of food weredelivered to 575 families through a FOODAC project in the Panjwai district of Kandahar.
A total of 231 tons of wheat was delivered to FAO for the implementation of a food-for-seed project.
World Food Programme provided about 27 tons of wheat to 181 refugee families returning from Pakistan to Kandahar under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) voluntary repatriation programme.
Tehran, June 28, IRNA -- `Iran News,' in its editorial on Saturday, totally disagreed with the idea that the presence of Afghans in the country is the main cause of its unemployment problem and put the blame instead on authorities that run its economic and industrial sectors. The English-language daily further denounced the use of force against those employing Afghans in their establishments and the "improper" treatment meted to some of these refugees. It reminded the country's officials that it is the flawed economic and industrial policy as well as the inability of pertinent officials to create job opportunities as well as the slump in the economy which have led to the unemployment crisis.
Noting the country's comparatively high income during the post war (Iran-Iraq) years, the paper cited statistics: "Average GNP for the last thirteen years has been dlrs 20 billion per annum," adding that such GNP should have been enough to supply the needed cash to invigorate industries, create jobs and train the needed labor force as well as boost industries, banking and financial sectors, construction, farming, tourism and a number of other fields. Blaming Afghans for competing with the Iranian labor force and resorting to force against them is not going to provide the estimated "3 million jobless people with employment, nor will it open up opportunities for another 3 million to 5 million who earn a meager living in the hidden unemployment sector with a nominal wage, besides the 200,000 graduates who join the work force in Iran every year," reminded the paper. It strongly advised concerned officials not to make these refugees scapegoats for their own or any other's mistakes. They must remember that these Afghans have been doing all sorts of menial and strenuous jobs for many years just because they work hard and settle for less in the construction trade, industry and on farms, while Iranians prefer to take up less strenuous jobs, pointed out the paper. Another fact that must be borne in mind is that the latest acts against these Afghans have already pushed wage rates and production costs higher and aggravated the already biting inflation, it warned.
Latest disputes on the presence of Afghans in the country have jeopardized the lifestyle of this refugee community in the country and have forced them to hide, it said. "Their only alternative to stay alive will be to turn to crime and drugs," it warned, adding that if they are arrested and jailed the the already bulging population of the jails in the country will then exacerbate. Besides other problems that these Afghans are already facing, it is indeed regrettable that they are also victims of a repatriation program that has turned out to be a flop, the daily continued. "Pakistan's move to contain its Afghan dilemma by confining the refugees to encampments, although praiseworthy, is also a temporary solution," it said. What these refugees need is further "help and assistance, particularly from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)," stressed the paper, and blamed the UN agency for the limited funds as well as personnel that are involved in the repatriation program for these refugees. "The UNHCR program for Afghan refugee repatriation is outdated, insufficient and incapable of grappling with the problems on the ground," it concluded. FH/LS End ::irna 14:11
Cholera toll mounts to 183
7/28/2001 11:52:08 AM
KABUL (Agencies): Fifty-three more people have died of cholera in northern Afghanistan, bringing the toll from the epidemic over the past 10 days to 183, opposition sources said Thursday.At least 43 people died since Tuesday in Aq Kupruk district, 75 kilometers south of Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province, opposition spokesman Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem said.
The disease, which broke out in Aq Kupruk on July 17, has also spread to the nearby town of Zari where 10 people have died since Tuesday, he said.
Nadeem said another 50 people, mostly ethnic Baloch, were infected in Zari district.
Dozens of people were dying daily because of the unavailability of any doctor or medicine in the remote area, which was besieged by the Taliban militia.
Nadeem alleged the militia, which rules most of Afghanistan, had blocked supply of relief items to the opposition-held area.
Police kill 58 Afghan bandits in four months, free 65 hostages
Tehran, July 28, IRNA -- Police have killed 58 armed Afghan bandits and released 65 hostages in their captivity in the (eastern) border region of Taibad over the past four months, a press report said Saturday. "Over the same period, police and Afghans were involved in 106 shoot-outs which led to seizure of nearly half a ton of drugs and arrest of five Afghan bandits," the daily Khorassan quoted local police chief Colonel Ali-Asghar Khajouie as saying. Iran is facing security problems along its 900-kilometer eastern borders with Afghanistan. Armed bandits usually hold civilians in the region hostage for ransom or as drug sellers. The residents of over 1,100 villages along the border with Afghanistan have been armed in a bid to fight armed Afghan bandits. Iran is a major transit route for drugs originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan to markets in the Persian Gulf, Europe and as well as Central Asian nations. Official reports say more than 3,100 Iranian police officers have lost their lives in drug-related battles throughout Iran over the past twenty years. AK/HM End ::irna 11:41
7/28/2001 11:52:08 AM
KANDAHAR (Agencies): The Head of Taliban's Anti-Narcotics Commission, Mullah Abdul Hameed Akhundzada has said that the ban on poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was permanent.He demanded emergent humanitarian economic assistance for the Afghan farmers.
In an interview, Mulla Hameed Akhundzada said that in his meeting with the Ambassadors of the member countries of the Afghan Support Group, the prevailing humanitarian crisis of Afghanistan was discussed.
He said the meeting also took stock of problems of the Afghan farmers.
"They said that they were unanimous that the ban on poppy cultivation has fully been implemented.
They agreed that the Afghan people be provided aid.
They also agreed to provide help to the Afghan farmers by providing them seeds and other help" he added.
Mullah Hameed however, quoted the envoys as saying that provision of aid to the Afghan farmers would take some time.
He said all the envoys seemed to be fully acquainted with the situation in Afghanistan and problems of the Afghan farmers.
He said they wanted to provide assistance to them.
He said that he assured the participants that the ban on poppy cultivation was final and permanent.
Hameed added that the issue of old opium stocks in Afghanistan was also discussed.
"The ban on poppy cultivation was aimed at eliminating opium.
So we are not in favour of presence of opium with the Afghan farmers.
However, if ban is imposed on possession of old opium stock, it will greatly affect the people as the ban on poppy cultivation has already affected 60 per cent farmers." He further said that their proposal was that a reasonable way should be found to resolve the issue.
We proposed that there are many factories in different countries which use opium for manufacturing different medicines.
If the UN asks these firms to procure the opium from the Afghan farmers, the issue would be resolved forever.
It will help solve the problem.
"The members of the Afghan Support Group said that they would consider the issue and make efforts for resolving the problem" Hameed added.
Mulla Hameed said that the Taliban have also provided help to the farmers in construction of roads and establishment of factories.
He said the UN sanction on Afghanistan have also affected the farmers because pomegranates and grapes could not be exported due to the restrictions.
Similarly, sale of other crops was also badly affected.
UNICEF holds education moot
7/28/2001 11:52:08 AM
PESHAWAR: UNICEF held a technical working group meeting on education in Mazar-i-Sharif, where the main points included advocacy for universal education with local authorities, quality control in home-based schools, and the 'brain drain' from public schools.
This comes in wake of closure this month of all home-based schools, including those run by the community fora development organisation (CFDO) in Mazar-i-Sharif, by local authorities.
It was also confirmed that all courses run by international agencies have been instructed to cease.
A meeting is being organised with the local education department in Mazar-i-Sharif to discuss ways to address the situation.
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