Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Government of Pakistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in collaboration with Pakistan Post, started the first disbursements of emergency cash assistance to the most vulnerable refugee families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
A press release said the first distribution was carried out at Chamkani Post Office in Peshawar.
Pakistan’s Officials from the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees that the emergency cash is similar to the Federal Government’s Ehsaas emergency cash programme, where vulnerable families receive Rs.12,000. It will help the eligible refugee families to meet their urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trade between India and Afghanistan through Attari-Wagah border, 28 km from Amritsar, is expected to be resumed after Eid-ul-Fitr holidays (from May 25 to 27) in Pakistan.
“We have already got a letter from the Centre, instructing us to be prepared as the trade between the two countries will be started soon,” said a senior Indian customs official, who didn’t wish to be named.
The central government had suspended cross-border trade through the Attari integrated check-post (ICP), which facilitates India’s trade with Pakistan and Afghanistan, on March 13 as a precautionary measure amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan handed over another batch of food assistance to Afghanistan on Thursday to help the needy people celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month Ramadan.
“At this very difficult time, the whole world should work together to fight COVID-19,” Ambassador Wang Yu said at the handover ceremony attended by Kabul Governor Mohammad Yaqoob Heidari. “The virus respects neither borders nor ethnicities.”
“We have proposed to provide 2 billion U.S. dollars over the next two years for the COVID-19 response of those countries without good health systems. Afghanistan would be one of those countries,” Wang added. “We will cooperate with government offices, different organizations and Members of Parliament in Afghanistan to help the needy persons of our Afghan brothers and sisters.”
“On behalf of the Kabul government and Kabul people, I’d like to thank Ambassador Wang and the people of China for your continuing donations to Afghan people,” Governor Heidari said at the ceremony. “This is not China’s first donation. During the past 18 years, we have received donations from China in different fields.”
The food aid provided by the Chinese Embassy included cooking oil and rice, which were much-needed supplies for the impoverished population in the war-torn country, especially at a time when the fight against COVID-19 has forced many to stay at home.