Afghanistan + 2 more

Central Asia: IRIN Weekly Round-up 71 covering the period 10 - 16 Aug 2002

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
AFGHANISTAN: UNHCR office looted in Ghazni

A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in the town of Ghazni has been looted by armed gunmen, officials told IRIN on Thursday. Though no staff, including an expatriate, was physically harmed, the attack has raised security concerns in the area, 120 km southwest of the Afghan capital, Kabul, prompting the refugee agency to increase security at its offices.

AFGHANISTAN: Herat University comes to life again

Herat University is emerging again as a centre for higher learning in western Afghanistan. Like many educational institutions trying to recover recently, the university, its student body and faculty suffered heavily under the hardline Taliban.

Seyyed Qasim, a first-year law student, works as a cashier in a local shop, supporting his eight-member family and continuing his studies. "I want to become a lawyer and help in establishing the rule of law," he told IRIN. His dream sounds ambitious in a country where law courts hardly function after decades of devastating war and five years of hard line Taliban rule.

AFGHANISTAN: Focus on displacement in the western region

The massive refugee camp of Maslakh, west of Afghanistan's historical western city of Herat, stands as a sharp reminder of the challenges destitute Afghans face - even after the routing of the hard line Taliban last year. More than 100,000 men, women and children struggle to survive in the squalid camps - almost half have been there for almost a year. Their lives illustrate well the problems thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) face.

AFGHANISTAN: 11 dead in NGO warehouse explosion

At least 11 people were killed and 84 wounded following a massive explosion at an NGO warehouse in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Friday. According to initial reports, victims of the blast were either people living near the site or passing by. Ambulances provided by local NGOs rushed to the scene, while the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took the lead role in providing medical care and transport for the wounded.

TAJIKISTAN: Villagers to be relocated after mudslide

Tajik authorities will relocate about 500 people left homeless after a flash flood ripped through their village this month, killing 24 people. Aid agencies, however, are "concerned" about the new site. "We are concerned about a number of things at the new site," Rafael Wargus, CARE International deputy head, told IRIN from the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. "Apart from distance, the place they are being transferred to is not appropriate for agriculture."

PAKISTAN: Religious minorities to observe "black day" of protest

Religious minorities in Pakistan will observe a day of protest on Thursday to protest against a recent spate of terrorist attacks on Christian establishments, rights activists told IRIN on Tuesday. "On 15 August we will observe a black day against terrorism," Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance said from Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province. "We are protesting because the government has failed to provide protection."

PAKISTAN: Government to receive financial support to fight poverty

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will step up its financial support to enable Pakistan to fight rising poverty, estimated to affect more than one-third of its population, a bank official told IRIN on Tuesday. "The bank will provide US $1.1 billion financing to the country in the current calendar year," said Naved Hamid, the bank's principal economic adviser, adding that the government would receive at least $800 million up to 2006. "The support is to achieve [economic] growth and poverty reduction," he noted.

CENTRAL ASIA: Weekly News Wrap

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami concluded his official Afghan visit this week reiterating his country's resolve to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. "I would like to point out that no other country is as much interested in Afghanistan's stability and security as the Islamic Republic of Iran," Khatami told reporters on his arrival at Mehrabad airport in Iran.


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