• Afghanistan in April 2021; Key News

Afghanistan in April 2021; Key News

20 May 2021

Peace and Politics 

The peace conference arranged by Turkey, Qatar and the United Nations which was set to be hosted in Istanbul, Turkey was postponed because of Taliban’s non-participation. Last year, the Taliban and US agreed that all the foreign troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the 1st May, this date has now been pushed back to September. The Taliban leader had previously refused taking part in any peace talks until the full withdrawal of foreign troops. "Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said on Twitter.[1]

No new date has been set for the conference, meanwhile, on 23rd the foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan had a joint discussion and “called on all parties, in particular, the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment for achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan desired by the Afghan people, the region and the international community”.[2]

 

Security

On 28th April, Gen. Haibatullah Alizai, the Commander of Special Operations Command of the Afghan National Army (ANA) assured the country that the ANA is already leading the operations and is capable of quashing Taliban aggression after the foreign forces leave. [3]

On 27th, the US Department of State had advised US citizens against travel to Afghanistan due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict and that the US citizens should leave the country as soon as possible. Earlier on 21st, the UK government made the same announcement, advising against any travel to the whole of Afghanistan based on security reasons, as well as considering leaving the country by any commercial means, following the public statements by the Taliban about the possibility of attacks after 1 May. 

According to the New York Times casualty report, at least 225 pro-government forces and 42 civilians were killed in Afghanistan this month.

 

Humanitarian and Development News

According to the recent World Bank’s recovery report, Afghanistan faces a sluggish economic recovery from COVID-19 amid continued political uncertainties and a possible decline in international aid.  The economy has shrunk by two per cent, the Growth is expected to reach one per cent in 2021 and top around three per cent in 2022 as the COVID-19 crisis fades. 

 As Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan says “The current political and security uncertainties have created serious hurdles to Afghanistan’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. A slower pace of recovery means higher unemployment, lower government revenues, and – ultimately – more difficult living conditions for Afghans”. [4]

Also, a third of the population is facing acute food insecurity, more than 14 million people are facing food insecurity due to conflict, COVID-19, high food prices, and unemployment. 10 million people are in Crisis and 4.2 million people are in Emergency food insecurity and consequently, nearly half of all children under-five are expected to face acute malnutrition in 2021. [5]

From January to April, 89,899 individuals has been displaced due to the ongoing conflict. [6]

 

People & Culture 

A couple from Jaghori of Ghazni spent 350,000 AFN to build an irrigation dam in their village. They had saved the money for Hajj but then decided to use the money instead to help everyone in their village. The initiative encouraged other village members to volunteer in constructing the dam. after the news got a lot of attention on social media, more individuals had announced their donations for the completion of the dam construction. 

This report is developed based on media reports. Although BAAG has taken necessary precautions to include only credible sources, it does not take responsibility for incorrect content. 


[1]  https://twitter.com/IeaOffice/status/1382060804162400259 

[2] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/23/istanbul-meeting-calls-on-taliban-to-commit-to-afghan-peace-talks 

[3] https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-171774 

[4] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/04/05/world-bank-political-and-security-uncertainty-slow-down-afghanistan-s-economic-recovery# 

[5] https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/afghanistan/document/afghanistan-weekly-humanitarian-update-19-%E2%80%93-25-april-2021 

[6] https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/afghanistan/idps