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UN special envoy to Afghanistan confident of continued presence

ISLAMABAD, March 1 (AFP) - The chief of the United Nations' political wing in Afghanistan said Thursday he was confident of continued relations with the ruling Taliban militia despite an order to close its office in Kabul.

UN Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA) chief Francesc Vendrell told AFP on his return here from a meeting with Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel in Kabul that his team was still able to operate in the country.

UNSMA's office in the capital, Kabul, was ordered to close last month to avenge a similar order against the Taliban's

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Tajikistan + 2 others
Russian Army Camp in Tajikistan planned

President Rakhmonov sees the presence of a Russian division in Dushanbe as an insurance policy against any future coups d'etat
By Vladimir Davlatov in Dushanbe

Plans to establish a Russian military base in Tajikistan were approved by the State Duma last week, feeding speculation that the Kremlin is attempting to tighten its grip on the entire Central Asian region.

But the move also reflects Moscow's concern over Islamic activity in the former Soviet republics and the growing power of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The initiative dates from an agreement

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UN envoy urges Taliban not to destroy pre-Islamic statues

An envoy of Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged Taliban officials in Kabul to abandon their plans for the destruction of all pre-Islamic relics in Afghanistan.
Mr. Annan's Personal Representative, Francesc Vendrell, discussed the Taliban's recent edict calling for the destruction of all pre-Islamic statues and shrines with the group's so-called Foreign Minister, Muttawakil.

Voicing the Secretary-General's strong concern about the edict, Mr. Vendrell asked that the Taliban not carry it out. He also warned that if the edict is implemented, it would provoke international outrage.

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Albania + 2 others
Case studies - Report from the minefields - Bosnia, Albania and Afghanistan two years after Ottawa

ICRC News 01/08
While the Ottawa treaty has undoubtedly done much to diminish the devastating effects of landmines, thousands of people go on paying the price for the countless devices still hidden in the soil of mine-infested countries around the world. Though it cooperates wherever possible with mine-clearance organizations in countries with a significant mine problem, the ICRC has focused its efforts on providing surgical care for the victims and playing a preventive role by alerting people to the danger by means of wide-ranging awareness programmes. This
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Afghanistan + 33 others
60 million people in 33 countries suffer from food shortages, says FAO report

PR 01/10e
Rome, 1 March 2001 -- Some 60 million people in 33 countries are facing food emergencies of varying intensity, according to a .

FAO's Foodcrops and Shortages found sub-Saharan Africa worst off with 16 countries suffering from exceptional food emergencies caused mostly by natural disasters and civil strife. Despite improved weather conditions recently, the report says, the effects of the drought in Eastern Africa are still being felt in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania, where emergency food assistance continues to be provided

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Afghanistan + 2 others
Press conference by UN Mine Action Service

The remarkable headway achieved by recent international and regional initiatives aimed at banning, as well as curbing the sale or transfer of anti-personnel landmines, confirmed the global community's renewed sense of energy to ensure the safety of the world's people, Martin Barber, Chief of the United Nations Mine Action Service told correspondents at a Headquarters press conference this afternoon.
Mr. Barber said that today, the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel
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Afghanistan + 1 other
Afghanistan Weekly Update No. 402

Pledges and Contributions
The government of Germany has pledged 750,000 Euro for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan the neighboring countries.

The UN Co-ordinator for Afghanistan last week signed an agreement with the European Union for 3.8 million Euro for the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan.

The Afghan Technical Consultants (ATC) will use its funds to clear 6,400,000 square metres of high priority mined and former battlefield areas in Ghazni, Kabul, Kandahar, and Logar, and Halo

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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Afghanistan: top UN relief official seeks $250 million to stem crisis

Describing a colossal human tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan as a result of long-running war and severe drought, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator today urged donors to provide $250 million to avert further death and displacement among the Afghan people.
Kenzo Oshima, who visited the region earlier this month, told reporters in New York today that $250 million was the "minimum necessary requirement to provide basic
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Pakistani Islamic party sends aid to drought-hit Afghans

KARACHI, Feb 28 (AFP) - A pro-Taliban Pakistani Islamic party Wednesday despatched a 20-truck convoy of relief goods for the drought affected people of Afghanistan.

The trucks carrying sugar, rice, clothes, blankets and shoes have been sent to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar which is also the Taliban militia's base, the fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) party spokesman Khalid Soomro said.

"These items have been donated by the people of Karachi in the party's one week campaign," Somroo said, adding that a JUI team will deliver the goods to the Taliban chief Mulla

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Afghanistan + 8 others
ICVA Talk Back 3-1, 28 Feb 2001


The Newsletter of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)

EDITORIAL: HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS OVERLOOKED BY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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Press Briefing by Emergency Relief Coordinator

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, worsened by drought, required urgent action to prevent a catastrophe, Kenzo Oshima, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told correspondents at Headquarters today as he briefed them on his recent trip to that country.
Mr. Oshima was in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 13 through 15 February, acting on the Secretary-General's request to look at the current crisis and to mobilize donor funds for it.

He was shocked by what he saw, he said. The plight of tens of thousands of displaced persons, in camps in

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Afghanistan + 1 other
Pakistan: Writing workshop aims to strengthen Afghan culture

Report
IRIN
ISLAMABAD, 28 February (IRIN) - A workshop intended to help inculcate Afghan refugee children with their nation's culture and values opened in the western Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday.
"This is an opportunity to train the next generation," said Roy Herrmann, head of the UNHCR sub-office in Peshawar which supports Maaref, publisher of the children's publication of the same name, which is running the workshop.

"Given the flight of Afghan intellectuals and writers over the past 22 years, the work undertaken by Maaref allows

IRIN:

A selection of IRIN reports are posted on ReliefWeb. Find more IRIN news and analysis at http://www.irinnews.org

Une sélection d'articles d'IRIN sont publiés sur ReliefWeb. Trouvez d'autres articles et analyses d'IRIN sur http://www.irinnews.org

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. Refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use.

Cet article ne reflète pas nécessairement les vues des Nations Unies. Voir IRIN droits d'auteur pour les conditions d'utilisation.

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Afghanistan + 16 others
WHO: EHA Highlights Volume II, Issue 2, Feb 2001

The mission of the WHO Department of Emergency and Humanitarian Action is to increase, through a concerted effort across WHO, the capacity and self-reliance of countries in the prevention of disasters, preparation for emergencies, mitigation of their health consequences, and the creation of a synergy between emergency action and sustainable development.
New documents available on the EHA website (http://www.who.int/eha/disasters)
  • Weekly Update Afghanistan, 23 February
  • North Caucasus Briefing, Update Activity
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Secretary-General expresses alarm concerning Taliban edict ordering destruction of statues and non-Islamic shrines

SG/SM/7728, AFG/130
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General has learned with alarm of the edict issued yesterday by the Taliban supreme leader ordering the destruction of all statues and non-Islamic shrines in the country. This follows reports of the recent destruction of a number of precious items in the National Museum of Kabul.

The General Assembly has repeatedly called on all Afghan parties to protect the cultural and historic relics and monuments

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No report of damage yet from earthquake-hit Afghanistan

Islamabad (dpa) - Afghanistan's Taliban regime said Monday it had received no reports of any damage from the strong earthquake that shook the country on Sunday.

''We have no reports of any damage or casualties from the areas we control,'' Taliban spokesman Qari Fazle Rabbi told the private Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) agency.

The Islamic Taliban control more than 90 per cent territory of the country.

Opponents of the Islamic Taliban who control northern provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan which were worst-hit also did not report any damage.

In the past three years, the provinces

Deutsche Presse Agentur:

Copyright (c) dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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Afghanistan + 1 other
Transcript: U.S. official on suffering in Afghanistan

Alan Kreczko urges broad-based, negotiated settlement

Alan J, Kreczko, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, said in an interview on February 23 for the United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance that the U.S. will continue to take the lead in providing international assistance to the Afghan people.

"Already this year, we have contributed millions of dollars to the UNCHR, the ICRC, and several non-governmental organizations. Food from the United States continues to feed Afghans, and

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Press release regarding the continuation of the fighting in Afghanistan

We follow with deep concern and regret the continuation of the fighting in Afghanistan.

The humanitarian tragedy caused by the ongoing clashes has gained alarming proportions. Since last July, thousands of people have lost their lives, tens of thousands of people have been internally displaced mainly in northern Afghanistan, and some have sought refuge outside of the country due to the continuing clashes. The fact that hundreds of internally displaced people have lost their lives because of the cold weather is of utmost concern.

The severity of the humanitarian situation

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Afghanistan Earthquake Bulletin

Earthquake Bulletin
01/02/25 02:21:59 UTC 36.44N 70.91E Depth: 202.4 km 6.1M
HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN
45 miles (70 km) SSE of Feyzabad, Afghanistan
NB: The region name is an automatically generated name from the Flinn-Engdahl (F-E) seismic and geographical regionalization scheme, proposed in 1965, defined in 1974 and revised in 1995. The boundaries of these regions are defined at one-degree intervals and therefore differ from irregular political boundaries. For example, F-E region 545 (Northern Italy) also includes small parts of France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia
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Afghanistan - Earthquake OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2001/0048
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Afghanistan - Earthquake
25 February 2001

1. An earthquake struck Badakhshan, north-eastern Afghanistan at 6:52 a.m. local time (0222 GMT) on 25 February 2001. The Swiss Seismological Centre and the United States Geological Survey computed a magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter Scale with a depth of 200 Km, for this earthquake. Other sources recorded a higher magnitude. The epicentre of the earthquake is located at latitude 36.4 N and longitude 70.9 E, approximately 70 Km south of Faizabad.

2. According

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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No immediate reports of casualties in Afghan quake, UN says

GENEVA, Feb 25 (AFP) - There were no immediate reports of casualties Sunday after a strong earthquake jolted northeastern Afghanistan, UN reports indicated.

"According to the United Nations office in Faizabad, there are no reports of casualties and damage so far. However, this does not mean that damage and casualties can be ruled out.

"There are some remote districts which take people several days to get news out," a press release from the UN humanitarian affairs office said.

Swiss and US seismology centers said

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