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News: Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry Seeks Help From India

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Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar tweeted on Tuesday night after talking to S Jaishankar, “Spoke to Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Afghanistan in the UN Security Council. The United Nations and the international community need to take big steps against the violence and atrocities of the Taliban. We admire India as the chair of the UNSC.”

India, Afghanistan, And The UNSC

A statement issued by the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry said, “On Tuesday evening, the Afghan Foreign Minister and the Indian Foreign Minister discussed the increasing violence of the Taliban, the operation of a foreign terrorist group in Afghanistan along with human rights violations. We have requested the Indian External Affairs Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Afghanistan”. India is currently the chair of the UNSC.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Afghanistan foreign minister Mohamed Hanif Atmar has reached out to S Jaishankar for support.

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry said that Afghan Foreign Minister Atmar told Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar that the increasing brutality of the Taliban is killing many common people. During this conversation, the Afghan Foreign Minister also raised the nexus of Taliban and foreign terrorist groups. Atmar said the Taliban was flouting international rules.

The Afghan Foreign Minister said that the Taliban’s violence and the foreign aid it is receiving threatens Afghanistan’s peace and stability and will have dire consequences. The Afghan Foreign Ministry says that the Indian Foreign Minister expressed concern about the increasing violence in Afghanistan. The Afghan Foreign Ministry has said in its statement that Jaishankar is reviewing the proposal to convene an emergency meeting of the UN and will talk to the rest of the members about this. The two foreign ministers also discussed the conduct of Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar.

India is in the biggest dilemma right now regarding the crisis in Afghanistan. India is with Ashraf Ghani’s government in Afghanistan, but it has become difficult for India to ignore the Taliban. When US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in India on Tuesday last week, a Taliban delegation was on a visit to China. The Taliban delegation was led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. This delegation was met by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday last week in Tianjin, North China. Regarding the visit of the Taliban delegation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Chao Lijian said that Taliban leaders have assured China that no anti-China activity will be allowed from Afghanistan’s soil.

China And The Taliban

The Taliban also said that it wants China to play an important role in the development of Afghanistan in the future. Afghanistan is very important for China. Afghanistan is the best way to reach Central Asia. The support of the Taliban is also important for China for the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This is China’s most ambitious project in Pakistan. This $ 60 billion Chinese project is incomplete without Afghanistan and the Taliban.

In such a situation, China has kept good relations with both the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Even if the government of Afghanistan goes and the Taliban comes to power, then it does not seem difficult for China to make a deal. India, on the other hand, unofficially started talks with the Taliban late. India remained with the government of Afghanistan and looked at the Taliban the way America used to see India too

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program, wrote in Foreign Policy magazine, “India and America have common interests on many fronts, but the case of Afghanistan is different. When US President Biden decided to withdraw the army, naturally the Taliban got stronger. As the Taliban strengthened, attacks on Indian interests in Afghanistan abounded. The Taliban seems to be reaching power now and it is in the interest of Pakistan.” There have been no Pakistan-backed governments in Afghanistan since the arrival of US forces in 2001.

Michael Kugelman has written, “India has made huge investments in Afghanistan. Since 2001, India has provided financial assistance of three billion dollars to Afghanistan. After the ouster of the Taliban, all the governments of Afghanistan remained close to India. But China and Pakistan have emerged as major tensions for India. China and Pakistan seem to be filling the void that will be created after America’s departure from Afghanistan.”

India has tried to change its policy regarding Afghanistan in the last few weeks. In June, India began formal talks with the Taliban for the first time. India expanded the scope of its policy regarding Afghanistan and in Central Asia, even External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar joined the conference on Afghanistan. Many analysts say that India delayed the start of talks with the Taliban and missed important strategic opportunities.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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