Afghans resettled in US fear being sent back as pathway to legal status stalls in Congress

 in Sacramento

The Guardian

Tue 28 Mar 2023 06.00 EDT

On the day he turned 24 earlier this month, Asmatullah checked the status of his asylum request online, hoping that an approval would be his birthday gift.

When he realized that his case was still pending, he took a deep breath and looked up at the California sky, more than 7,000 miles away from the city he grew up in but that he fears returning to.

It’s been more than 18 months since Asmatullah and some members of his family rushed to Kabul’s besieged international airport after Taliban fighters stormed into the capital and retook control of Afghanistan.

“It was crowded and I saw a little boy that lost his parents,” he told the Guardian, speaking in a park in Sacramento during a break between rainstorms last week. “I grabbed him and started yelling ‘whose son is this?’ whose son is this?’”

In the crush and mortal danger from so many directions, he knew he needed to get himself out. Asmatullah managed to board an evacuation flight after showing an American soldier a certificate his father had received for his work as a civil engineer in several US military construction projects in the country, which would put him and his family in peril as Afghanistan came back under Taliban control.

Asmatullah asked for his last name to be withheld out of concerns for the safety of his father, who remains in Afghanistan.

The plane took off and he, his mother, sister and two brothers escaped, flown first to Qatar for vetting then the US via the government’s humanitarian parole system, a special immigration authority that the Biden administration used to resettle tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees, dubbed Operation Allies Welcome.

Within six days of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, Asmatullah arrived in Pennsylvania. He was later taken to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where he was offered temporary housing and medical care for four months until he was able to travel to Sacramento, home to several relatives who had emigrated to California following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, after Al-Qaida’s terrorist attacks on the US on September 11.

Asmatullah was given permission to live and work in the country legally for two years.

That period runs out this September and he’s increasingly concerned that if his asylum request is not approved he – along with tens of thousands of other Afghan evacuees in the US – is at risk of losing his work permit and protection from deportation and he dreads the prospect of having to return to a Taliban-controlled nation gripped by humanitarian crises.

But nearly two years since the fall of Kabul, only a small percentage of evacuated Afghans have managed to secure permanent legal status in the US’s clogged immigration system.

“We are strongly pushing for an extension of parole status. This is very much within the power of the [Biden] administration,” said Tara Rangarajan, executive director of the the International Rescue Committee in Northern California, a resettlement organization that assisted 11,612 of the more than 78,000 Afghan refugees relocated to the US as part of Operation Allies Welcome.

“There’s an unbelievable mental instability of not knowing what the future holds. It’s our responsibility as a country to help ensure their stability,” she added.

In the Sacramento area alone, IRC has helped resettle 1,164 Afghans.

Asmatullah watched his little brother ride a bike near a tennis court in busy Swanston Park, in a part of Sacramento with a growing Afghan population, in the county with the highest concentration of Afghan immigrants nationwide.

“Sacramento feels like home and I love it,” he said. “Here, we are not concerned about getting killed, I just want to worry about getting an education.”

Nearby is bustling Fulton Avenue, notable for its Afghan stores and restaurants, where Asmatullah and his family enjoy spending free time, he said.

Asmatullah’s ambition in the US is to become a computer scientist and he recently enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at American River College, a Sacramento public community college.

His 14-year-old sister is one of more than 2,000 Afghan refugee children in the local public school district and he said she’s eager to pursue higher education, an opportunity now out of reach for women in Afghanistan.

He also hopes that his asylum request is approved so that he can apply for a green card and ultimately find a legal path for his father to come to the US and be reunited with the family.

Meanwhile, legislation that would help Asmatullah and thousands of other Afghans out of their nerve-racking wait with a clear pathway to permanent residency, the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act, stalled in Congress last year.

The law would provide the evacuees a sure pathway to permanent US residency. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar called it “the right and necessary thing to do”, while Republican Lisa Murkowski called on the US to “keep our promises” adding she was proud of legislation designed “to give innocent Afghans hope for a safer, brighter future”.

But Chuck Grassley, the Senate judiciary committee’s top Republican, blocked the bill, seeking tougher vetting.

Almost 4,500 Afghans have received permanent residency through the Special Immigrant Visa program for those who directly assisted the US war effort, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

And as of 12 March this year, USCIS has received approximately 15,000 asylum applications from Afghans who arrived under Operation Allies Welcome, but has so far approved only 1,400, according to agency data provided to the Guardian.

Asmatullah said he always knew that starting again in America from scratch would be a challenge.

But he said: “I just want to show my siblings that a better life is possible.”

Afghans resettled in US fear being sent back as pathway to legal status stalls in Congress
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Afghan girls struggle with poor internet as they turn to online classes

27 March 2023
Internet fails thwart Afghan girls’ online study

KABUL, March 27 (Reuters) – Sofia logs in to class on a laptop in Kabul for an online English course run by one of a growing number of educational institutes trying to reach Afghanistan’s girls and women digitally in their homes.

But when the teacher calls on Sofia to read a passage her computer screen freezes.

“Can you hear me?” she asks repeatedly, checking her connection.

After a while, her computer stutters back to life.

“As usual,” a fellow student equally frustrated with the poor communications sighs as the class gets going again.

Sofia, 22, is one of a growing stream of Afghan girls and women going online as a last resort to get around the Taliban administration’s restrictions on studying and working.

Taliban officials, citing what they call problems including issues related to Islamic dress, have closed girls’ highschools, barred their access to universities and stopped most women from working at non-governmental organisations.

Virtually no one had access to the internet when the Taliban were forced from power in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

After nearly two decades of Western-led intervention and engagement with the world, 18% of the population had internet access, according to the World Bank.

The Taliban administration has allowed girls to study individually at home and has not moved to ban the internet, which its officials use to make announcements via social media.

But girls and women face a host of problems from power cuts, to cripplingly slow internet speeds, let alone the cost of computers and wifi in a country where 97% of people live in poverty.

“For girls in Afghanistan, we have a bad, awful internet problem,” Sofia said.

It has had hundreds more applications but cannot enrol them for now because of a lack of funds for teachers and to pay for equipment and internet packages, a representative of the academy said.


Sakina Nazari tried a virtual language class at her home in the west of Kabul for a week after she was forced to leave her university in December. But she abandoned it in frustration after battling the problems.

“I couldn’t continue,” she said. “It’s too hard to access internet in Afghanistan and sometimes we have half an hour of power in 24 hours.”

Seattle-based Ookla, which compiles global internet speeds, put Afghanistan’s mobile internet as the slowest of 137 countries and its fixed internet as the second slowest of 180 countries.

Some Afghans have started calling on SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk to introduce its satellite internet service Starlink to Afghanistan, as it has done in Ukraine and Iran, posting requests for help on Twitter, which he owns.

“We also call on Elon Musk to help us,” Sofia said.

“If they would be able to (introduce) that in Afghanistan, it would be very, very impactful for women.”

SpaceX spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.

Online schools are trying their best to accommodate Afghanistan’s pupils.

Daniel Kalmanson, spokesperson for online University of the People, which has had more than 15,000 applications from Afghan girls and women since the Taliban took over, said students could attend lectures at any time that conditions allowed them to, and professors granted extensions for assignments and exams when students faced connection problems.

The non-profit group Learn Afghanistan, which runs several community-based schools in which some teachers run classes remotely, makes its curriculum available for free in Afghanistan’s main languages.

Executive director Pashtana Durrani said the group also ensured that lessons were available via radio, which is widely used in rural areas. She was working with international companies to find solutions to poor internet access but said she could not elaborate.

“Afghanistan needs to be a country where the internet is accessible, digital devices need to be pumped in,” Durrani said.

Sofia said Afghan women had grown used to problems over years of war and they would persevere no matter what.

“We still have dreams and we will not give up, ever.”

Afghan girls struggle with poor internet as they turn to online classes
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Blast Near Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sparks Widespread Reactions

Former President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and called it against human and Islamic values.

The blast near the Foreign Ministry in Malik Asghar Roundabout in downtown Kabul on Monday has sparked reactions from Afghan politicians and Kabul-based diplomatic missions.

At least six people were killed and several more, including three Islamic Emirate forces, were wounded in a suicide attack near a checkpoint on the Foreign Ministry’s road.

The Interior Ministry’s spokesman Abdul Nafay Takor said the attacker was gunned down reaching his target but explosives attached to his body were detonated.

Former President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and called it against human and Islamic values.

Former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, also condemned the attack and called it an attack organized by the “enemies of the Afghan people”.

He said the attack contradicts all human and Islamic values.

The UN mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, in a statement condemned the attack and said “it is unacceptable that ordinary Afghans continue to be targeted as they go about their daily lives.”

The third deputy prime minister, Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, also condemned the attack.

He said that such attacks reveal the real faces of the enemies of Islam and Afghans.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The Daesh phenomenon existing in Afghanistan has almost been suppressed, by 90 percent, and the Islamic Emirate is trying to root it out from all over the country. Such small incidents that happen are common all over the world,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

A former Afghan diplomat, Asadullah Rahmani, who served as diplomat in Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Japan was among the six killed people.

“They (family members) were shocked and arrived soon. My brother in-law, sisters and mother arrived. They were not allowed. Only my brother-in-law went inside. Then a military vehicle came out and my father was at its back,” said Abdullah, son of Rahmani.

Rahmani was buried on Tuesday.

“They were also working in the archive department of the Foreign Ministry. He worked there for the past 15 to 20 years,” said Fahim, son in-law of Rahmani.

In reaction to the attack, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West said on Twitter that “Afghans have suffered enough, and terrorism for any reason at any place is indefensible.

Sincerest condolences to the families of the victims and to those injured.”

Blast Near Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sparks Widespread Reactions
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Decker: US has Provided About $1.5 Billion to Afghanistan So Far

According to Decker, Washington will continue its aid to Afghanistan to prevent a humanitarian crisis.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission to Afghanistan, Karen Decker, said that in the past eighteen months the US has contributed nearly $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Speaking at a virtual meeting, Decker noted that this aid has been spent on education, nutrition, health, and in the areas of internally displaced persons and the reintegration of immigrants.

“One of the most important, and I think really important thing, that I took away from the conversations we had in Dubai was the need for a really robust, ongoing set of discussions with the Afghan private sector,” Decker said.

According to Decker, Washington will continue its aid to Afghanistan to prevent a humanitarian crisis.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission to Afghanistan said she considered the Doha agreement unfulfilled and called for an intra-Afghan dialogue.

“I agree with you that the Doha agreements are unfinished, and that we still believe there is both a requirement for intra-Afghan dialogue to determine the future government for Afghanistan,” Decker added.

“Afghans’ internal issues are related to Afghans themselves. Internal and political issues should not be used as a means of political pressure. Political issues are distinct from these issues, and if there are any, the Islamic Emirate engages in active diplomacy and will resolve them through understanding,” said Bilal Karimi, the Islamic Emirate’s deputy spokesman.

Political analysts have diverse views on aid to Afghanistan.

“I’m sure we would have been in a lot worse situation if there hadn’t been assistance. Any kind of assistance is useful. Even if it’s a very modest sum of money, the arrival of aid and money has an impact on a nation’s economy,” said a political analyst Wali Frozan.

“Afghans, unfortunately, endure incredibly severe poverty, and I don’t believe that humanitarian aid can help to reduce this suffering. If that worked, the problems of the people would have been resolved in the last 20 years,” said Mohammad Salim Kakar, another political analyst.

Following the political shift in Afghanistan, the majority of US aid has been sent in packages of $40 million in cash under the heading of humanitarian assistance and each has been deposited in one of the country’s commercial banks.

Decker: US has Provided About $1.5 Billion to Afghanistan So Far
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State Dept: Restrictions on Women Will Delay Kabul’s Intl Relations

The Islamic Emirate said that the rights of women are fully secured in Afghanistan and other countries should not interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

The deputy spokesman of the US State Department said that Washington “deplores the edicts that the Taliban have promulgated regularly that fundamentally repress the right of Afghan women and girls.”

“We’ve seen this now time and time again – denying them education, denying them the ability to work, denying them the ability to participate in the provision of humanitarian assistance that benefits all Afghans,” said Vedant Patel, a spokesman for the US Department of State.

“And it’s safe to say from conversations among countries around the world that to the extent that the Taliban is looking for more normal relations with countries around the world, that will not happen in a long time, so as they continue to advance these repressive edicts against women and girls,” said Patel.

Meanwhile the Islamic Emirate said that the rights of women are fully secured in Afghanistan and other countries should not interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

“Women’s fundamental rights are secure based on interests of the country, and the Islamic Emirate is making efforts to ensure them. Thus, there is no problem in this regard. The internal affairs should be left to the Afghans,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

Some political analysts and women right activists in the country urged the Islamic Emirate to show flexibility for the sake of the normalization of relations with the international community.

“The government of the Taliban must inevitably show flexibility for the continuation of their work (engagement). If they don’t show essential flexibility, the continuation of governance will be challenging,” said Sayed Jawad Sajadi, political analyst.

After the Islamic Emirate takeover, more than 20 decrees and orders have been issued by the current government in the fields of education, work and other sectors for women and girls.

State Dept: Restrictions on Women Will Delay Kabul’s Intl Relations
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UN says Afghan girls’ education activist arrested in Kabul


Associated Press

March 28, 2023

ISLAMABAD (AP) — An Afghan rights activist who has campaigned for girls’ education has been arrested in Kabul, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The U.N. mission in Afghanistan said Matiullah Wesa, founder and president of Pen Path — a local nongovernmental group that travels across Afghanistan with a mobile school and library — was arrested in the Afghan capital on Monday.

Local reports said Taliban security forces detained Wesa after his return from a trip to Europe.

The U.N. urged authorities in Kabul to clarify Wesa’s whereabouts, reasons for his arrest and ensure his access to legal representation and contact with family. There was no immediate word from the Taliban on the arrest.

Since their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban have imposed restrictions on women’s and minority rights. Girls are barred from school beyond the sixth grade and last year, the Taliban banned women from going to university.

Wesa’s brother, Attaullah Wesa, said the Taliban forces surrounded their family’s house on Tuesday. They beat up the Wesas’ other two brothers, insulted their mother and confiscated the arrested activist’s mobile phone.

Social media activists later created a hashtag to campaign for Wesa’s release. Many posts condemned his detention and demanded immediate freedom for the activist.Wesa has been outspoken in his demands for girls to have the right to go to school and learn, and has repeatedly called on the Taliban-led government to reverse its bans. His most recent tweets about female education coincided with the start of the new academic year in Afghanistan, with girls remaining shut out of classrooms and campuses.

Wesa and others from the Pen Path launched a door-to-door campaign to promote girls’ education.

“We have been volunteering for 14 years to reach people and convey the message for girls education, Wesa had said in recent posts. “During the past 18 months we campaigned house to house in order to eliminate illiteracy and to end all our miseries,” he added.

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, said he was alarmed by Wesa’s detention.

“His safety is paramount & all his legal rights must be respected,” Bennett tweeted.

Also Tuesday, Amnesty International raised the alarm about the deterioration of human rights in South Asian countries. In a new report released Tuesday the London-based watchdog also criticized the Taliban for imposing restrictions on women and minority rights since their takeover of Afghanistan in 2021.

Peaceful protesters have faced arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearance while journalists faced arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as torture and other ill-treatment for reporting that was critical of the Taliban, said Amnesty.

“Women have been at the forefront of protests in the region, often challenging patriarchal control over their bodies, lives, choices and sexuality on behalf of the state, society and family,” said Yamini Mishra, the group’s regional director.

The failure of South Asian countries “to uphold gender justice leaves a terrible legacy of suppression, violence and stunted potential,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near the foreign ministry in Kabul the previous day, when six people were killed and about a dozen wounded. It was the second time this year that IS staged an attack near the ministry. In mid-January, the militant group killed five people there and wounded several others.

The regional IS affiliate — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province — is a key rival of the Taliban and has frequently targeted Taliban officials and patrols, as well as members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.

IS has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.

UN says Afghan girls’ education activist arrested in Kabul
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The Taliban needs to start an intra-Afghan dialogue but with who?

For the past year and a half, the Taliban has taken the international community and the Afghan population on a ride – a ride so wild that it has left its own high-ranking officials dizzy as well. The Taliban government has consistently backtracked on promises and stripped citizens of more and more rights.

The policies it has introduced have been getting progressively worse – each new policy overshadowing the previous one with its grave consequences. Education for girls and women has been gradually restricted, employment for women has been limited, freedom of expression has been violated, dissidents have been detained and tortured and the intelligence directorate has only grown in strength.

The socioeconomic failures and rights violations by the Taliban have naturally attracted the most international attention – and rightly so. But there is another issue that is quite important in which the Taliban has also failed to make any progress: national dialogue and the formation of an inclusive government.

To be inclusive in government is a big ask from an Islamist group that has come to power on the heels of a total military victory. And it is hardly surprising that after the initial conversations with some political groups, the Taliban announced a cabinet excluding all of them.

Since then, there has been little willingness from the Taliban to have any meaningful formal dialogue with other Afghans regarding governing the country. And yet, much of the international community has made inclusivity a condition for the normalisation of relations and recognition of the government.

What is more, a national dialogue will have to take place when the Taliban decides to finally sit down and draft a new constitution. Currently, the country does not have a constitution because the one adopted in 2004, under which the previous regime operated, was suspended after the Taliban takeover. For the constitution-writing process to be legitimate, it would require the inclusion of other political actors.

That said, ongoing efforts from some quarters to push for such a national dialogue by imposing certain individuals or groups on the Taliban to negotiate with have been counterproductive, to say the least.

There have been plenty of bad ideas from the West about who the Taliban should talk to. There have been meetings between Western officials and exiled Afghan warlords in an effort to breathe relevance into them. There has been Western backing for groups like the National Resistance Front, headed by Ahmad Massoud, the son of a late anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban military leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud. His group recently organised a conference in Tajikistan, attended by Western diplomats.

Other prominent Afghans associated with the Afghan Republic have also been busy forming political parties and associations, hoping to attract Western support and eventually a seat at the negotiating table. Among them are Rahmatullah Nabil, former chief of the National Directorate of Security, Hanif Atmar, an ex-foreign minister and a few failed warlords. Most of these “new” political parties and other groupings of Afghans are a mere repackaging of old figures that were central to the failure of the past 20 years.

If the main reason to demand inclusivity is to achieve better representation of the interests of the Afghan population in government, then these individuals and groups are the obviously wrong answer.

A quick glance at Afghanistan’s history over the past 40 years would show how most of those standing in line for an invitation to the national dialogue do not represent the Afghan population. Their participation in coups, the civil war and the failed and corrupt democratic system discredits them.

Even the leaders and parties of the Afghan fight against the Soviets, such as Hezbi Islami, Jamiat Islami, and others, who used to enjoy the support of a large portion of the population, have now lost their legitimacy.

Most of these individuals were eventually given immunity for their past crimes and were given a fresh start at the 2001 Bonn conference where Afghanistan’s post-Taliban government was arranged. In the following 20 years, they joined others in forming a kleptocratic elite and gaining positions of power through electoral fraud. The result was an unstable, inefficient regime which collapsed like a house of cards in the face of the Taliban surge.

One of the blessings of the Taliban takeover was the expulsion of these corrupt politicians and warlords. There is little wisdom in politically resuscitating groups and individuals that have been rejected by the nation and are meeting their natural political deaths.

The international community’s obsession with including those who have never done right by the country distracts us from the very few who did an honourable job inside the country. There are individuals such as former MP Ramazan Bashardost, former MP Syed Selab and Chief Executive of the National Development State Owned Corporation Abdur Rehman Attash, who did not flee the country after the fall of Kabul and continue to serve the country through their public commentary, aid work and governmental positions respectively.

The international community also seems to be ignoring the fact that Afghanistan has all the potential to grow a native, grassroots opposition led by the young generation. Many young people and members of civil society have decided to stay behind and work hard to make a difference. Their efforts should be recognised and they should be given space for growth and development. They are now laying the foundations of forces that the Taliban will eventually have to recognise and engage with.

It should press the Taliban to agree to a national dialogue in principle and let it choose who it will talk to and include in the government. Loose conditions of ethnic and gender inclusion should be made which the Taliban should meet of its own accord. Those that are chosen to be included are unlikely to be given meaningful roles anyways.

It is better to have a national dialogue led by the Taliban with little progress than one with bad apples from the past imposed on it. The latter would just plunge the country back into bottomless corruption, but this time without any international oversight. At the same time, allowing the Taliban to lead the process will give time for an organic opposition to take root in the country so that a true national dialogue can eventually be held and legitimate political processes established in Afghanistan.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

The Taliban needs to start an intra-Afghan dialogue but with who?
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Islamabad Calls on Kabul to Take Action Against ‘Terrorist Entities’

The deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, said that there is no threat from Afghan soil toward any country.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch called on the Afghan interim government to take steps against “terrorist entities and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to Pakistani people and Pakistani security forces.”

Speaking at a press conference, Baloch said they are in “contact with the Afghan interim authorities on security and counter-terrorism matters including our concerns regarding terrorist entities which have hideouts in Afghanistan.”

“We expect the Afghan authorities to take action against these terrorist entities and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to Pakistani people and Pakistani security forces,” she said.

“There is a possibility that Pakistan is not sure about the promises, steps or remarks of the Islamic Emirate. Or it has not been ensured and therefore, it has been repeating such comments,” said Tahir Khan, a Pakistani journalist.

The deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, said that there is no threat from Afghan soil toward any country.

“Peace and security have been ensured all over the country. There is no such group to make threats from this country to other countries. There is no evidence in this regard and the Islamic Emirate does not allow Afghan territory to be used against other countries,” Karimi said.

“If Pakistan really wants to solve problems in this region, all of these problems that exist against Afghanistan and Pakistan should be addressed jointly,” said Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political analyst.

Nearly one month ago, a senior delegation from Pakistan, led by the country’s Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, visited Kabul and met with several top Islamic Emirate officials.

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that a delegation from Afghanistan will travel to Pakistan to discuss the economic and political issues with the country’s officials.

“Whenever their delegation comes to Afghanistan, this side also promises to send a delegation, comprised of officials, who will visit Pakistan to fully discuss political and trade issues. The time for their travel will be determined later,” he said.

Islamabad Calls on Kabul to Take Action Against ‘Terrorist Entities’
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McCaul Gives Monday Deadline to Blinken in Afghan Subpoena Threat

Previously, Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson of the US State Department, said that the department is committed to cooperate with the committee’s work.

The Republican chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday gave the State Department until Monday to produce documents related to the August 2021 US withdrawal from Afghanistan or face a subpoena.

“I have the subpoena. it’s right here. And I’m prepared to serve this. We had discussions and I think as a federal prosecutor you want to work things out but when you can’t, you have to go forward with the subpoena, and arrest warrant and indictment. So, sir, I’m going to give you until of close of business on Monday…,” Representative Michael McCaul told Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he testified to the committee about the department’s budget request.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he will provide this information to the committee by mid-April.

Analysts have different views on the departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

“One of the major contributing elements was the fact that Americans and other foreigners in general were sick of the war in Afghanistan and no longer wanted to remain here. The deal was quickly signed and they departed Afghanistan as a result,” said Wahid Faqiri, a political analyst.

“The proof of the irresponsibility of America’s departure from the war in Afghanistan is the fall of the system, sovereignty, and administration, and notably the fall of a 300,000-member national army,” said Wais Nasiri, another political analyst.

Previously, Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson of the US State Department, said that the department is committed to cooperate with the committee’s work. And we have since provided hundreds of pages of documents responsive to the chairman’s request regarding Afghanistan, and we will continue to do so.

McCaul Gives Monday Deadline to Blinken in Afghan Subpoena Threat
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Calls Mount to Reopen Afghan Schools for Girls

Several Kabul and Khost residents asked the Islamic Emirate to comply with the people’s demand to open schools for girls.

Female students in Kabul said on the opening day of the 1402 academic year that they once again felt hopeless as a result of the closing of their schools.

They asked the Islamic Emirate to reopen girls’ schools above sixth grade across the country.

Maryam, who was waiting for the schools to open along with thousands other students, said: “Why are schools closed to girls? When there is no female doctor, a woman should go to a male doctor?”

“Today is the day of despair for us. We were waiting to go to school on this day, but we were not allowed to go to school,” Sadaf, a student told TOLOnews.

“Today, I have a very bad feeling, because I could not go to school. When I see someone go to school, I feel bad that why I cannot go,” Amina, another student in Kabul said.

Meanwhile, male students are asking the current government to allow girls to be educated as well.

“We went to school, it was great. One thing that made me sad was that girls’ schools did not open,” said Faizullah, a student.

“We ask the Islamic Emirate to reopen girls’ schools because girls also have a right to education, so they serve their country,” said Rouhullah, a student.

Several Kabul and Khost residents asked the Islamic Emirate to comply with the people’s demand to open schools for girls.

“This is the demand of all the people and serious attention should be paid to these demands,” said Haji Adam Khan, a tribal elder of Khost.

“Girls’ schools should be opened so that we have a bright future,” said Mohammad Hossein, a resident of Kabul.

Earlier, the head of the security department in Parwan, Azizullah Omar, told TOLOnews that schools for female students will reopen soon after the work on the curriculum is finished.

“There is no problem about the start of schooling. There is only a problem in the curriculum. And therefore, a committee has been formed for its reform. After the confirmation of the clerics, the schools will start,” he said.

Calls Mount to Reopen Afghan Schools for Girls
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