Mini-Gulf: In Pakistani desert district, quarter of residents work in Middle East

Mini-Gulf: In Pakistani desert district, quarter of residents work in Middle East
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The exterior view of a travel agency located in Johi town in Sindh’s Kachho Desert, Pakistan. (AN photo by Zulfiqar Kunbhar)
Mini-Gulf: In Pakistani desert district, quarter of residents work in Middle East
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A farmer poses at a tube well installed at an agricultural field near the Wahi Pandhi area of Sindh’s Kachho Desert, Pakistan. (AN photo by Zulfiqar Kunbhar)
Mini-Gulf: In Pakistani desert district, quarter of residents work in Middle East
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Sanaullah Lashari, who returned from Saudi Arabia after working for six years, poses next to a water treatment plant, located in Kachho Desert’s Wahi Pandhi area in Sindh, Pakistan. (AN photo by Zulfiqar Kunbhar)
Mini-Gulf: In Pakistani desert district, quarter of residents work in Middle East
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A herdsman walks with camels near the Wahi Pandhi area of Sindh’s Kachho Desert, Pakistan. (AN photo by Zulfiqar Kunbhar)
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Updated 17 October 2020

Mini-Gulf: In Pakistani desert district, quarter of residents work in Middle East

Mini-Gulf: In Pakistani desert district, quarter of residents work in Middle East
  • People from Johi district started moving to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries in the 1970s after the Middle East oil job market boomed
  • Every household in the impoverished region has one or two family members living and working in Gulf countries, locals say

JOHI: One-fourth of the population of a remote desert district in southern Pakistan lives and works in Saudi Arabia or the UAE, throwing a lifeline to the inhabitants of the barren land and earning it the moniker of the “Mini-Gulf.”

Like other areas surrounding the vast Kachho Desert, Johi in Dadu district relies on rainwater for agriculture. But rains are rare and long spells of drought have often pushed local communities into hunger. Change, they say, came in the 1970s with a boom in the Middle East oil job market.

“Out of Johi subdistrict’s total estimated population of 300,000, there are around 60,000 to 80,000 people in the Gulf,” said Shahmeer Gadehi, who worked in the UAE for two decades and now manages a travel agency that specializes in sending people to the Middle East.

“It is the local-expat population ratio that has made Kachho’s Johi region earn the ‘Mini-Gulf’ title by the public,” he said.

Every household in the region, Gadehi said, had one or two family members living and working in Gulf countries.

The travel agent’s business, located near Jeddah Bazaar in Johi, has quickly picked up since Saudi Arabia relaxed coronavirus-related travel restrictions last month, and he has sent 400 workers to the Middle East since. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Gadehi said that he would send 50-60 workers abroad a day.

Most laborers from Johi who travel with Gadehi’s company go to Saudi Arabia, currently home to more than 3 million Pakistani expats.

One of them, a driver called Altaf Gadehi, said that he had secured a work visa and would be leaving for the Kingdom this week.

“At home, my earnings from driving are not enough to make ends meet,” said the 30-year-old, who supports his family and siblings.

“I have decided to try my luck at Saudi Arabia like many other people from the area.”

Many, such as Shaukat Ali Gedehi, also opt to move to the UAE.

After reaching Dubai, I will hunt for a job, taking the help of my Johi family and friends already present there.

Shaukat Ali Gadehi

“As visas are open now, many of my Johi friends have already reached Dubai again after a break,” said Gedehi, who worked in Dubai as a caretaker of racing camels before he lost his job to the coronavirus outbreak.

He said that he was sure he would find a new job in Dubai with the help of his “Mini-Gulf” community there.

“After reaching Dubai I will hunt for a job, taking the help of my Johi family and friends already present there,” Gedehi said.

Indeed, helping the community back home is a common story for Johi locals.

Haji Beero, 70, traveled to Saudi Arabia by ship in the early 1970s on an Umrah pilgrimage visa, which he later converted into a work visa.

He did odd jobs, and even worked as a watchman, but once he was settled he and 60 others from Johi helped others from their hometown to find work abroad.

“Lack of water and prolonged droughts brought joblessness  .... our agriculture sector was not flourishing. It brought extreme poverty,” Beero said.

“I used my reference to bring around 2,800 Johi locals to Saudi Arabia for jobs.”

There are also those who have returned home after years of working in the Gulf, wanting to give back to their parched hometown.

Sanaullah Lashari spent six years working as a driver in Jeddah and is now back in Johi where he oversees a government-owned groundwater pump in Peer Baksh Lashari village, which he says that he repaired using his own savings and donations from other locals.

“The government is not giving any help in this regard so we have to manage ourselves,” said Lashari, standing next to the pump wearing a traditional Saudi thobe.

“When I returned from Saudi Arabia, I saw the plant was dysfunctional. I spent 80,000 rupees from my remittance savings and collected money from other people in the area to make this pump run.”

 

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Australia: France’s recall of ambassador over scrapped submarines deal regretful

Australia: France’s recall of ambassador over scrapped submarines deal regretful
Updated 18 September 2021

Australia: France’s recall of ambassador over scrapped submarines deal regretful

Australia: France’s recall of ambassador over scrapped submarines deal regretful
  • Australia scrapped its $66 billion contract with France in favor of a deal with the US and UK for at least 8 nuclear-power subs

CANBERRA: Australia said Saturday it was noting with regret France’s recall of its ambassador over the surprise cancelation of a submarine contract in favor of a US deal.
France recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the United States on Friday in an unprecedented show of anger over a deal among the United States, Australia and Britain to provide Australia with a fleet of at least eight nuclear-power submarines.
The deal scraps a 90 billion Australian dollar ($66 billion) contract with French majority state-owned Naval Group, signed in 2016, to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s office said in a statement: “We note with regret France’s decision to recall its Ambassador to Australia for consultations following the decision on the Attack Class project.”
“Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests,” the statement said. It added that Australia valued its relationship to France and looked forward to future engagements together.
Payne and Defense Minister Peter Dutton are currently in the United States for annual talks with their US counterparts and their first with President Joe Biden’s administration.
French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault said Australia never mentioned that the project could be scrapped.
Thebault told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview recorded on Friday that he found out about the US submarine deal: “Like everybody, thanks to the Australian press.”
“We never were informed about any substantial changes,” Thebault said. “There were many opportunities and many channels. Never was such a change mentioned.”
After the US deal was made public this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he told French President Emanuel Macron in June that there were “very real issues about whether a conventional submarine capability” would address Australia’s strategic security needs in the Indo-Pacific.
Morrison was in Paris on his way home from a Group of Seven nations summit in Britain where he had talks with soon-to-be-alliance partners Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Thebault said he had also been at the meeting with Macron and Morrison.
Morrison mentioned “there were changes in the regional situation,” but gave no indication that Australia was considering changing to nuclear propulsion, Thebault said.
“The relationship between France and Australia was built on trust,” Thebault said.
“So fundamentally, everything was built on trust. Everything was supposed to be done in full transparency between the two partners,” he added.
Thebault said difficulties the project had encountered were normal for its scale and large transfers of technologies.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement on Friday that recalling the two ambassadors, on request from Macron, “is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements” made by Australia and the United States.
Le Drian said Australia’s decision to scrap the submarine purchase in favor of nuclear subs built with US technology is “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners.”
Senior opposition lawmaker Mark Dreyfus called on the Australian government to fix its relationship with France.
“The impact on our relationship with France is a concern, particularly as a country with important interests in our region,” Dreyfus said.
“The French were blindsided by this decision and Mr. Morrison should have done much more to protect the relationship. The ... government needs to explain what it is going to do to fix this important relationship,” he added.

 

In this Feb. 11, 2019, photo, Australia's PM Scott Morrison (C) shakes hands with France's Defense Minister Florence Parly (R) and Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne after signing a $66 billion deal in Canberra. (AFP)


US panel recommends Covid boosters for people 65 and older

US panel recommends Covid boosters for people 65 and older
Updated 18 September 2021

US panel recommends Covid boosters for people 65 and older

US panel recommends Covid boosters for people 65 and older
  • The panel voted 16-2 against granting a third dose full approval
  • Tens of millions of Americans will soon be eligible for a third shot

WASHINGTON: A panel of leading US medical experts advising the government voted in favor of authorizing boosters of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for everyone aged 65 and up, as well as people at high risk of developing severe Covid.
The same committee however rejected an initial proposal, submitted by Pfizer and backed by President Joe Biden’s administration, to fully approve boosters to everyone aged 16 and over.
The decisions came after a day-long meeting full of data presentations and at times charged debate that was convened by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tens of millions of Americans will soon be eligible for a third shot.
“I think this should demonstrate to the public that the members of this committee are independent of the FDA, and that in fact we do bring our voices to the table,” said Archana Chatterjee, dean of Chicago Medical School.
The panel — which included vaccinologists, infectious disease researchers, and epidemiologists — concluded that the benefit-risk balance differed for younger people, especially males at risk for myocarditis.
A clinical trial for the booster involved just over 300 people, which they felt was too small to be able to draw firm conclusions about safety.
The panel voted 16-2 against granting a third dose full approval.
They were then presented with a new motion, and voted 18-0 for granting emergency authorization for people aged over 65 and those at high risk. They agreed this should extend to health care workers and people at high risk of occupational exposure.
Now the issue turns to another committee, this time convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 22-23 to further define who is eligible and decide on rollout.
Pfizer will work with the FDA to address the committee’s questions as “we continue to believe in the benefits of a booster dose for a broader population,” Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at the company, said in a statement.
Even prior to the meeting, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had struck a cautious note.
In its briefing document, the FDA stated: “Data indicate that currently US-licensed or authorized Covid-19 vaccines still afford protection against severe Covid-19 disease and death.”
Two senior FDA officials meanwhile co-signed a Viewpoint in The Lancet this week opposing boosters for the general population, in what was seen as a rebuke of the White House for taking a decision before consulting its scientific agencies, effectively placing the cart before the horse.
At the meeting, Pfizer officials cited studies that demonstrated waning immunity against infection several months out from the first two doses.
“The demonstrated safety and effectiveness of a third dose support adding a booster dose to the vaccination schedule,” said Donna Boyce, Pfizer’s senior vice president of global regulatory affairs.
But a growing body of US research — including a dataset presented by Pfizer itself at Friday’s meeting — has shown two doses continue to confer high protection against severe outcomes, albeit at slightly diminished levels for the elderly.
Pfizer also presented data showing boosters increased antibody levels against the Delta variant, but an FDA scientist countered that these lab studies could not translate directly to efficacy estimates.
Sharon Alroy Preis, an official with Israel’s health ministry, presented data from her country which ran a booster campaign after experiencing a Delta wave, and has approved boosters for everyone aged 12 and up.
Jay Portnoy, a pediatrician with Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, said the Israeli experience should serve as a warning beacon and that the United States should follow its lead.
But most of the panel did not see the two countries as closely analogous. Because the US has a much lower overall vaccination rate, the unvaccinated are the primary drivers of spread, rather than breakthrough cases among the vaccinated.


Pakistani scientists bring new hope to dementia patients through virtual reality

Dr. Ali Jawaid tests a program and equipment for VR-based therapy for dementia patients during a study at Lahore University of Management Sciences. (Supplied)
Dr. Ali Jawaid tests a program and equipment for VR-based therapy for dementia patients during a study at Lahore University of Management Sciences. (Supplied)
Updated 18 September 2021

Pakistani scientists bring new hope to dementia patients through virtual reality

Dr. Ali Jawaid tests a program and equipment for VR-based therapy for dementia patients during a study at Lahore University of Management Sciences. (Supplied)
  • Study results show how VR could slow disease progression, decline in cognitive function
  • Experts make patients’ surroundings more complex, challenging to help stimulate brain

WARSAW: Two Pakistani scientists have brought new hope to dementia patients around the world through the use of virtual reality technology.

The experts recently published the results of a study showing that the decline in brain functions of dementia sufferers could be controlled, or slowed, with the application of VR.

Affecting 55 million people worldwide, dementia, which is less a disease and more a group of related syndromes, is a neurological disorder that manifests itself in a steep decline in brain functions.

The condition destroys memories and personalities, robbing families of their loved ones and sapping patience and finances. With populations ageing, the number of patients worldwide is projected to rise to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050, the World Health Organization said in a recent report.

There is no known cure for dementia and the focus of therapy has largely remained on slowing its progression.

But now, in a study published in the Brain Sciences journal’s August edition, Pakistani neuroscientist Dr. Ali Jawaid and computer scientist Dr. Suleman Shahid have demonstrated how VR could help those living with dementia cope with their condition.

Jawaid, who is based in Warsaw, Poland, where he leads neuropsychiatric disorders research at the BRAINCITY center at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, told Arab News: “Usually, dementia patients progressively deteriorate in cognitive functions, but what we assessed was that during the whole study, which was more than six months, there was no deterioration.”

His collaborator Shahid directs the Computer Human Interaction and Social Experience Lab at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan.

At the core of the two scientists’ latest work has been the employment of VR for environmental enrichment, a term used to describe changing a person’s surroundings to make them more complex, dynamic, and challenging in order to stimulate the brain.

Research on animals has variously found that environmental enrichment could aid the treatment and recovery of brain-related dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s disease and others related to aging.

“In animals, we have discovered that environmental enrichment is one of the strongest protector factors against cognitive impairment induced by aging. The challenge was how to bring this environmental enrichment to humans,” Jawaid said.

He pointed out that exercise and brain quizzes could work but noted that they were stressful and hardly ever engaging enough for dementia patients to do them regularly or for long periods of time.

What Jawaid and Shahid did instead was to immerse their study’s participants, all with mild dementia, in virtual environments depicting real-world landmarks familiar to them. As all those taking part were Pakistani, the three environments used were the Great Wall of China, the Grand Mosque in Makkah, and the pyramids of Egypt.

In each of the virtual worlds, the patients had to perform tasks designed to stimulate different domains impaired in dementia, such as short-term memory, attention, navigation, motor coordination, or decision making.

For example, in one scenario, a participant would see balloons in the sky as they walked along the Great Wall of China wearing a VR headset. As the sight triggered a childhood memory of shooting balloons, a virtual pistol or a bow and arrow would appear. Once the participant shot the balloons, the next task would be presented.

“We were giving them all this cognitive training in the VR environment, and the results have been extremely encouraging. One of our patients was like, ‘I miss playing golf.’ We arranged that he could play golf in the virtual reality environment. That was really motivating for him,” Jawaid added.

BRAINCITY vice president, Dr. Ewelina Knapska, told Arab News that the way the therapy was designed kept participants engaged much longer than in most other studies of its kind.

“What was done here was the development of a task that was attractive to older people,” she said.

The longer dementia patients were willing to be in therapy that increased brain activity, the more possible it was for them to remain independent, but the cost of such care and therapists is very high. Dementia costs the world $1.3 trillion a year, the WHO report said.

“It (dementia treatment) is very expensive. Such VR therapies are much cheaper and therefore much more accessible,” Knapska added.

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Franco-American tension over submarine deal puts fresh strain on trans-Atlantic ties

Franco-American tension over submarine deal puts fresh strain on trans-Atlantic ties
Updated 18 September 2021

Franco-American tension over submarine deal puts fresh strain on trans-Atlantic ties

Franco-American tension over submarine deal puts fresh strain on trans-Atlantic ties
  • France feels excluded from AUKUS and robbed of chance to land a lucrative submarine deal
  • Macron recalls ambassadors from the US and Australia for consultation in show of anger

LONDON: The French foreign minister’s reaction to the new trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and the US brings to mind a powerful cartoon published by an American newspaper during the Trump years, when the president was ruling by executive order to evade Congress.

The cartoon, which appeared in the Buffalo News, depicted the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France to the US, stabbed in the back not with a dagger but with the president’s pen. Just like Lady Liberty in this cutting depiction, the French must feel as though a dagger is buried between their shoulder blades.

In fact French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian likened the new Indo-Pacific security alliance, known as AUKUS, to a “stab in the back” and the sort of betrayal that “is not something allies do to each other.”

Because of “the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on Sept. 15 by Australia and the United States,” Le Drian announced on Friday that Paris would immediately recall its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultation.

French grievances over the deal relate both to its strategic and financial implications. Paris was not only excluded from the Indo-Pacific strategy but has also lost out on a hugely lucrative contract with Australia to build nuclear submarines. Canberra is tapping American tech instead.

The new alliance, announced during a virtual meeting of US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has ignited a firestorm of criticism from France.

While many observers in Washington applauded the pact as a clear challenge to China, others warned that the agreement marks the beginning of a new arms race in the region, or perhaps even a strategic blunder following hot on the heels of America’s Afghanistan withdrawal debacle.

US President Joe Biden participates is a virtual press conference on national security with British PM Boris Johnson (R) and Australian PM Scott Morrison on Sept. 15, 2021. (AFP)

Since taking office, Biden has sought to reset America’s frigid relations with its oldest European allies, yet the AUKUS move appears to have had the opposite effect, alienating France and the wider EU.

It has also exposed a potential rift between the US and its European allies on how to handle the growing influence of China. Differing positions on whether to confront or cooperate with Beijing might, as the New York Times recently put it, “redraw the global strategic map.”

The timing of the AUKUS deal could not have been more critical, coming as it did on “the eve of the publication of the EU strategy in the Indo-Pacific, and as Paris has risen as the main EU strategic actor in the region,” wrote Benjamin Haddad, director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council.

France's ambassador to the US, Philippe Etienne, has been recalled to Paris for consultations amid a US-France diplomatic row over the sale of submarines to Australia. (AFP file photo)

He predicts the new dynamic will “create a blow to transatlantic strategy in the region and create a lasting hurdle in US-French relations.”

Next week, the White House is due to host the first in-person meeting of leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a strategic alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India. “The Quad,” as it is known, is another important pillar of Biden’s China policy.

Beijing views the Quad, and the new AUKUS, as a “clique based on a Cold War ideology and detrimental to the international order.” China’s regional rival India, meanwhile, predictably welcomed the new alliance.

Although Biden, Johnson and Scott did not mention China in their AUKUS announcement, the pact was described in the US as part of the president’s policy to “refocus” American national security and to reorient its military posture toward the Chinese threat.

China's increasingly expanding navy and aggressive actions beyond its borders has spurred the US, Japan, Australia and India to form a strategic alliance. (Shutterstock image)

The administration has sought to justify its abrupt departure from Afghanistan on the grounds that it needs to pool its resources to address the threat emanating from China. Critics might have given the Biden team the benefit of the doubt had the new strategic architecture in the Indo-Pacific not come at the expense of US-French relations.

France has good reason to be upset. The new deal with Australia, described as “historic” by the US media and “another step by Western allies to counter China’s strength,” torpedoed the largest military contract Australia has ever awarded — a deal for nuclear submarines worth 90 billion Australian dollars ($65.5 billion), signed in 2017 with the French defense contractor Naval Group.

The US media played down the French reaction to AUKUS and chose not to ruminate over what sort of message the deal might send to America’s allies elsewhere. Instead it focused on the historic nature of the sharing of US nuclear-propulsion technology with Australia.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 15, 2021. (AFP)

Defense News hailed the deal as the first time the US has shared this type of technology with any ally since the US-UK Mutual Defense Agreement of 1958.

Barry Pavel, director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, likewise drew a parallel between the new pact and the Eisenhower administration’s policy of sharing nuclear technology with the UK, a policy that caused French President Charles de Gaulle to decry “Anglo-Saxon nuclear cooperation and propelled France to develop its own nuclear capabilities.”

Indeed, much like de Gaulle, French President Emmanuel Macron might well interpret the AUKUS deal as a deliberate Anglo-Saxon snub that undermines its strategic posture in the Indo-Pacific.

France is not a minor player in the region. It is the only European country with a big presence in the Indo-Pacific, including about 7,000 soldiers on active deployment.

Cutting France out of the new strategic architecture represents a blow both to Paris and to Macron, who had prided himself on fostering a good relationship with Biden. The perceived snub could backfire badly for the Anglo-Saxon trio by pushing the French president to seek alliances elsewhere.

Daphné class French submarine under construction in Lorient, France. (Shutterstock photo)

Defense News hailed the deal as the first time the US has shared this type of technology with any ally since the US-UK Mutual Defense Agreement of 1958.

Barry Pavel, director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, likewise drew a parallel between the new pact and the Eisenhower administration’s policy of sharing nuclear technology with the UK, a policy that caused French President Charles de Gaulle to decry “Anglo-Saxon nuclear cooperation and propelled France to develop its own nuclear capabilities.”

Many observers had expected more from the Biden administration after its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the damage this caused to America’s global standing and perceptions of its commitment to its allies. Instead, AUKUS looks like more of the same.

Biden’s secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, is a francophone who grew up in Paris and has long enjoyed good relations with the French. This had raised hopes of a new flourishing of ties between the two governments. Instead, relations have hit rock bottom.

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron meeting like long-lost friends during then G-7 summit in Cornwall, UK on June 13. (GETTY IMAGES/AFP/File Photo)

The perceived betrayal seems all the more cruel when one takes into consideration how much America has gained from its French connection during the war on terror. In Africa especially, it is French forces who have led operations against Daesh affiliates. Only this week, Macron announced the assassination of Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi, the leader of Daesh in the Sahara, who had been accused of killing four Americans.

In Washington, foreign policy watchers currently interpret the rift with Paris as a “tactical error and not a strategic mistake.” But the French beg to differ.

When Blinken recently posted a tweet calling France a “vital partner” in the Pacific, Gerard Araud, the outspoken French former ambassador to Washington, responded sarcastically: “We are deeply moved.”

As Washington sets about redrawing the strategic map in the Indo-Pacific, it would perhaps be wise not to take its oldest friendships for granted. Indeed, if America cannot be counted on to stand by its allies, Washington could find itself short of friends when push comes to shove.

 

 


Taliban shut down ministry for women

Taliban shut down ministry for women
Updated 18 September 2021

Taliban shut down ministry for women

Taliban shut down ministry for women
  • Militia bring back vice department

KABUL: The Taliban appeared on Friday to have shut down the government’s ministry of women’s affairs and replaced it with a department notorious for enforcing strict religious doctrine during their first rule two decades ago.
And in a further sign the Taliban’s approach to women and girls had not softened, the Education Ministry said only classes for boys would restart on Saturday.
In Kabul, workers were seen raising a sign for the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice at the old Women’s Affairs building.
Several posts have appeared on Twitter in the last 24 hours showing women workers from the ministry protesting outside the building, saying they had lost their jobs.
No official from the Taliban responded to requests for comment.
Also on Friday, the Education Ministry issued a statement ordering male teachers back to work and said secondary school classes for boys would resume on Saturday.
Despite insisting they will rule more moderately this time around, the Taliban have not allowed women to return to work and introduced rules for what they can wear at university.
The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution saying that the Taliban need to establish an inclusive government that has “the full, equal and meaningful participation of women” and upholds human rights.
The resolution adopted by the UN’s most powerful body also extends the current mandate of the UN political mission in Afghanistan for six months and delivers a clear message that its 15 members will be watching closely what the Taliban do going forward.
The resolution also calls for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to some 14 million Afghans needing aid and demands “unhindered humanitarian access” for the UN and other aid agencies. It also reaffirms “the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan ... and ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, to plan or finance terrorist acts, or to shelter and train terrorists” in the future.
Russian and China’s leaders urged the Taliban government to remain peaceful to their neighbors and combat terrorism and drug trafficking.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke via video link at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Putin said the organization, holding its meeting in Tajikistan, should “use its potential” to “stimulate the new Afghan authorities” in fulfilling their promises on normalizing life and bringing security in Afghanistan.
Xi said it was necessary to “encourage Afghanistan to put in place a broad-based and inclusive political framework” and to “resolutely fight all forms of terrorism” and live in peace with its neighbors.