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Posts tagged as Afghanistan

Community Grain Bank Staves off Hunger in Food Insecure Households

Food insecure households in a district in Kabul Province have found relief in community grain banks, which are being set up across the country.The project is supported by government funds, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, and the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.
GULDARA DISTRICT, Kabul Province – Farmer Wazir Gul, 43, from Tolat village examines the nicked and shriveled grape vines damaged by hail in the spring and drought in the summer. He looks doubtful that he will have enough good grapes to sell to support his family.Aware of the plight of Gul and his family, the community grain bank in his village, a philanthropic community food reserve initiated under the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (Citizens’ Charter), leapt into action and distributed food and other basic necessities to Gul and other food insecure families like his.“When I found out our family’s name was with the grain bank, I was so relieved and happy because they brought food to our home and I could buy medicine for my wife,” says Wazir Gul.Villagers, like Wazir Gul, with small farms are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hail storm.

“Even a small shock can adversely affect their livelihood,” says Saleh Mohammad Samit, Head of Vulnerable Groups Division of the Citizens’ Charter.“The grain bank is designed and established particularly for such situations—to assist people in dire need of help.” Fighting Seasonal Hunger,The community grain bank is set up by the village Community Development Council (CDC), with support from the Citizens’ Charter, to fight seasonal hunger by assisting the most vulnerable households in the community, including internally displaced persons and returnees.

The CDC assesses and identifies the households most in need.The Citizens’ Charter aims to improve the delivery of core infrastructure and social services to participating communities through strengthened CDCs.It is implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) in rural areas and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance in the four major cities of Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, and Mazar-e-Sharif.The project is supported by funds from the government budget, as well as the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), administered by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors, and the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.

The community grain bank initiative is part of the Citizens’ Charter Emergency Regional Displacement Response, which supports collective community action aimed at improving social inclusion and protecting the ultra-poor and vulnerable.The initiative has developed and strengthened significantly since it started in June 2017.
Grain banks have been established in over 4,000 villages in 114 districts across Afghanistan. In Guldara district, 42 out of 45 villages have community grain banks and the Citizens’ Charter plans to cover the remaining three villages within the next few months.So far, an estimated 60 percent of Guldara district’s population have benefited from the project’s efforts. * *Identifying Those in NeedEid Mohammad, 22, a laborer from Tolat village, also has received help from the grain bank.
“I am the sole earner in my household of eight,” he says. “I couldn’t get enough work to provide for Ramadan and Eid, but when the grain bank came with aid and food to my home, we felt we had been blessed with the happiness of three Eids.”Yet, asking for help is not always so simple, and because hunger is a silent threat, identifying those who need help can also be difficult. Krishma Askari, 24, CDC Deputy Chairperson from Nal Ab village, says her work is particularly important to highlight the struggles of households headed by women within her community, who could be overlooked inadvertently, such as widows.

“There are families in our community that, because they don’t have a male head of household, do not always find it easy to ask for help,” she says. “No one can see the widows and orphans going hungry in their homes.As a woman, I can reach out to these families, find out about their problems, and help them get assistance through the council.”Her point is evident in the case of Hafiza Samadi, 20, and her widowed sister, Firozah Samadi, 22, from Deh Naw village, who did not know where or how to ask for help when the family’s earnings came up short one month.The sisters say they could manage their own hunger, but worried about the three children in their family. When the village CDC identified the Samadi family as needing assistance and brought food to their home, “it was like they gave us the world”, says Hafiza.Najibullah Hashimi, 34, the Citizens’ Charter district manager in Guldara, is pleased that community action through the grain bank can be of such vital help. “We are glad that our efforts could give happiness to poor people, even if they just need help for a short time,” he says.

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Shane Warne reveals three spinners he enjoys watching in limited overs, read to find out

New Delhi: Shane Warne doesn't like defensive bowlers in limited overs cricket and that's the reason three of his current favourites are India's Kuldeep Yadav, Pakistan's Yasir Shah and Afghanistan's Rashid Khan, who are 'not at all scared of getting hit'.

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Modi, media, military a dangerous combination

Bollywood has a strange effect of taking you away from reality and that is exactly what sells in a country of 1.4 billion people. Unfortunately, in the electioneering season it can also cloud the judgement of beleaguered political leaders.
What follows for the next three weeks is a classic example of falling prey to deceitful narratives, built on flawed intelligence information.It is here that the role of the Indian media in fanning war hysteria comes in. If the spin doctors could embroil the US and the West in Iraq and countless other conflicts, why couldn’t this be done in India? With over 400 TV channels and 200 million whatsApp users, the world’s largest, this was easy.
To justify military action, a new terminology of non-military pre-emptive strikes’ was coined.While the air incursion had all the elements of copying the US- Israeli airpower model used against benign victims, the Indians ignored Pakistan’s resolve and military potential.The Indian Air force tasked to boost Mr Modis vote-bank must have put in their Tom Cruises in their best machines, to undertake the task of eliminating battle-hardened terrorists. How the incursion was executed and where the bombs were ultimately thrown is another story.
Of consequence is how the Pakistan Air Force clinically struck back. Taking on six targets, shooting down two aircraft and capturing one pilot is a rare feat and an embarrassment which will haunt the IAF for decades.Meanwhile, sensing a nuclear showdown, the world powers which had edged India pulled back to their own agendas; the Trump-Kim summit, Brexit, Venezuela and so on. The release of the Indian pilot and calls for talks by the Pakistani Prime minister have fallen on deaf ears.
With the BJP chief Amit Shah asking people to vote for Modi, a mere eight hours after the Jaba fiasco, the realisation of a plot has finally dawned on the Indian opposition. The media-bollywood hypnotized public is slowly waking up to reality.As Modi bemoans for the Rafale machines, it is clear that a semblance of sanity has crept in. It is now an Indian battle of the sane voices versus the insane.The sane club is appalled at the combined failure of the strong Indian political and military systems, and calls for reappraisal and restraint. It is bewildered at the brazen use of military might for political gains.The ordinary Indian realizes that without a resolution of the Kashmir issue the region will remain embroiled in a brutal circle of violence. It yearns for the Gandhi, Nehru and later, Mother Teresa era, when India had some character.
The non-aligned movement, support for the Palestinians were at least a semblance of Indian balance and a just and righteous image.The sanity propagators are also deeply concerned about the rise of Hindutva doctrine, the slow painful death of Indian secularism and the perils of playing around with Pakistan’s deterrence regime.They recognise gains of an engagement strategy with Pakistan and understand that the only way forward is to coexist in harmony. It is only then that the potential of seemingly endless possibilities of prospering together, sharing benefits of mutual trade and energy with Afghanistan and Central Asia can be realised.
The insane club led by Modi, media and the military is sluggishly coming out of stunned disbelief. They very well know that the world supports India for its money, and not for its principles.
It’s already put the contingency plan in motion. The events have not gone as portrayed in the movies.It’s time for the media wizards to sound the victory mantra on every event. Spin a web of lies and deceit.Consequently, the fantasy of Abhinandan’ the hero, who shot an F-16; in reality, the poor guy didn’t know what hit him. The assumption that Pakistan is down on its knees, India must get new intel capabilities and weapons ASAP.
Get Rafale’s or whatever from the experienced Israelis to exact revenge, accelerate the covert operations and hybrid war in Pakistan, isolate it internationally, and if all else fails, plan another Pulwama to settle scores.With dreams of Indian grandeur, it is the insane group currently in majority which worries Pakistan.After Pulwama, the BJP under a struggling Modi is deaf, dumb and blind. A very thin line separates the regimes policies from active coercive terrorism.Practically, with no international condemnation for its actions, it feels emboldened to go a step further.This would again be a serious miscalculation.
But then again it’s a forty- day Indian style election season. Under the circumstances, who so ever wins the contest has implications not only for the region alone but also for the world? In the meantime, it would be prudent to keep Mr Modi away from the movies.The writer is director of policy and doctrine at the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies. He can be reached at The 14th February Pulwama incident handling reflects the implausible chain of events, which has ensnared the Indian government in a dangerous vicious cycle.What follows for the next three weeks is a classic example of falling prey to deceitful narratives, built on flawed intelligence information. It is here that the role of the Indian media in fanning war hysteria comes in.
If the spin doctors could embroil the US and the West in Iraq and countless other conflicts, why couldn’t this be done in India? With over 400 TV channels and 200 million whatsApp users, the world’s largest, this was easy. To justify military action, a new terminology of ‘non-military pre-emptive strikes’ was coined.
While the air incursion had all the elements of copying the US- Israeli airpower model used against benign victims, the Indians ignored Pakistan’s resolve and military potential. The Indian Air force tasked to boost Mr Modis vote-bank must have put in their Tom Cruises in their best machines, to undertake the task of eliminating battle-hardened terrorists.How the incursion was executed and where the bombs were ultimately thrown is another story. Of consequence is how the Pakistan Air Force clinically struck back.Taking on six targets, shooting down two aircraft and capturing one pilot is a rare feat and an embarrassment which will haunt the IAF for decades.Meanwhile, sensing a nuclear showdown, the world powers which had edged India pulled back to their own agendas; the Trump-Kim summit, Brexit, Venezuela and so on.
The release of the Indian pilot and calls for talks by the Pakistani Prime minister have fallen on deaf ears. With the BJP chief Amit Shah asking people to vote for Modi, a mere eight hours after the Jaba fiasco, the realisation of a plot has finally dawned on the Indian opposition.The media-bollywood hypnotized public is slowly waking up to reality. As Modi bemoans for the Rafale machines, it is clear that a semblance of sanity has crept in.
It is now an Indian battle of the sane voices versus the insane.The sane club is appalled at the combined failure of the strong Indian political and military systems, and calls for reappraisal and restraint.It is bewildered at the brazen use of military might for political gains. The ordinary Indian realizes that without a resolution of the Kashmir issue the region will remain embroiled in a brutal circle of violence.It yearns for the Gandhi, Nehru and later, Mother Teresa era, when India had some character. The non-aligned movement, support for the Palestinians were at least a semblance of Indian balance and a just and righteous image.
The sanity propagators are also deeply concerned about the rise of Hindutva doctrine, the slow painful death of Indian secularism and the perils of playing around with Pakistan’s deterrence regime. They recognise gains of an engagement strategy with Pakistan and understand that the only way forward is to coexist in harmony.
It is only then that the potential of seemingly endless possibilities of prospering together, sharing benefits of mutual trade and energy with Afghanistan and Central Asia can be realised.The insane club led by Modi, media and the military is sluggishly coming out of stunned disbelief.
They very well know that the world supports India for its money, and not for its principles. It’s already put the contingency plan in motion.The events have not gone as portrayed in the movies. It’s time for the media wizards to sound the victory mantra on every event.Spin a web of lies and deceit. Consequently, the fantasy of ‘Abhinandan’ the hero, who shot an F-16; in reality, the poor guy didn’t know what hit him.The assumption that Pakistan is down on its knees, India must get new intel capabilities and weapons ASAP. Get Rafale’s or whatever from the experienced Israelis to exact revenge, accelerate the covert operations and hybrid war in Pakistan, isolate it internationally, and if all else fails, plan another Pulwama to settle scores.With dreams of Indian grandeur, it is the insane group currently in majority which worries Pakistan. After Pulwama, the BJP under a struggling Modi is deaf, dumb and blind.A very thin line separates the regimes policies from active coercive terrorism. Practically, with no international condemnation for its actions, it feels emboldened to go a step further.This would again be a serious miscalculation. But then again it’s a forty- day Indian style election season.

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Crisis with India can have unintended impact on Afghan peace process: Maleeha

NEW YORK: The ongoing crisis with India means that Pakistan’s full focus has to be on its eastern frontier and that has implications for the nascent Afghan peace process, Pakistan’s Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said.
Although she stopped short of saying this would affect Pakistans role in the process, her message was clear that the shift in focus could have that unintended results.
Our attention is going to be where we feel there is a military threat to us,” Ambassador Lodhi said in response to a question about the possible impact of the simmering India-Pakistan tensions stemming from the Kashmir dispute.Qatar offers mediation to de-escalate tensions between Pak, IndiaThat ongoing threat, she clarified, was from India.
The latest round of Afghan peace talks is taking place in Doha, Qatar, between Zalmay Khalilzad, the American special envoy, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy leader, who for the first time is taking a more direct role in the process.“Both (Afghanistan) and (Kashmir) issues are important in their own right.
But it is the eastern border, from where India attacked Pakistan. They sent planes into our territory.That’s a hot border,” the envoy added.“Afghanistan is a different situation.We would like that war to end. But we don’t perceive a threat from our western border.
It’s our eastern border from where we continue to perceive a threat.“We are in the midst of a very tense situation, a very fraught situation,” the Pakistani envoy continued.The Indian leadership is failing to respond to Prime Minister Imran Khans repeated gestures (for peace), which included freeing and releasing the Indian pilot.”The turmoil in Kashmir escalated on February 14, after a suicide bombing killed more than 40 Indian paramilitary troops in Kashmir.Pakistan categorically denied any involvement and offered to investigate, but India still went ahead and dropped bombs inside Pakistani territory.We kept asking the Indians to give us what you have and we will act on it, Ambassador Lodhi said, adding that only couple of days ago, the so-called dossier has been handed over Pakistan.Theresa May lauds PM Imran’s peace overtures amid Pak-India tensionsWe are examining that dossier to see if there is anything there on which we need to act, and we will act if there is any solid evidence, but we cannot act on the basis of allegations, she said.Replying to a question about Kashmir, the Pakistani envoy said the dispute has been there for the past 70 years.
“It has to be addressed, in its own right and (on) its own merits because it will remain an issue that will lead to repeated tensions between India and Pakistan and in any case, it is an issue that is on the Security Council agenda and it has resolutions that remain unimplemented.

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Celebrating diversity through fashion

Sonia Sadiq Gandhi is the force behind Fashions of Multicultural Australia (FOMA), a national initiative supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The event’s aim is to foster social cohesion and strengthen bilateral trade between participating nations through fashion and cultural diplomacy.
A free daytime exhibition and runway being held in Sydney will showcase 30 different cultures that make up Australia. People will also be able to wear traditional clothing and taste food from all around the world.Ms Sadiq Gandhi said it’s an immersive experience. “I mean imagine learning how to wear a sari, a 5.5 metre material, or going to the Korean stall and learning how to wear a hanbok,” Ms Gandhi said. It allows people to engage directly with local and emerging designers and Foreign Embassies, including South Korea, Russia and India – to name a few.Katya Komarova is a Russian fashion designer living in Australia, and is one of 15 designers taking part in the fashion parade on Friday. She was invited by the Embassy of Russian Federation to represent her home country on the runway.
“To actually show a wider audience what we’re actually doing here as immigrants and new people of the fashion community is just great,” Ms Komarova said. “I feel very supported as an immigrant.” Her pieces are a contemporary take on her Russian heritage.Russian fashion designer Katya KomarovaSBS Fashion designer Anjilla Seddeqi representing Afghanistan at the FOMA exhibit and on the runway.She specialises in the design of bespoke pieces. “It represents the culture and the traditions.
Usually worn during celebratory times in Afghanistan, during a wedding, during Eid celebration and times like that.Ms Seddeqi moved to Australia when she was seven years old and has since embraced her identity as an Afghan Australia – especially through fashion.
SBSIt’s nice to have that representation so girls who look like me can see this and say look this is what I can achieve if I set my mind to it.Academic and feminist Susan Carland is a supporter of the designer’s self-titled label.”She received a lot of positive feedback so that’s nice to see as well.” FOMA founder Sonia Sadiq Gandhi said diversity doesn’t stop at the design level.”Our models are walking talking diversity too.”We have models that are over age 50 on the runway show, we have a Paralympic winner who is walking with a prosthetic leg, and that is the sort of stereotype that we want to break.“Breaking down the stereotype of what you wear is where you come from, which makes the exhibition and show such an important opportunity to reflect on the fashions of the world and help develop a public appreciation for different cultures.”

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