Author Elif Shafak on vaccine tribalism, inherited pain and talking trees
13 January 2022 | 6:44 am
Afghanistan is the world's top producer of opium and the illegal drug trade has helped finance the ruling Taliban. Over the past decades, millions of Afghans have fallen into drug addiction. The Taliban now claim they want to eradicate the use of narcotics. When they were in power from 1996 to 2001, the fundamentalists had banned poppy cultivation. But the intervention of US-led troops in 2001 relaunched opium production. Today, it remains permitted and is even intensifying in a country on the brink of economic collapse. Our team on the ground reports.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Foreign Affairs Committee that the previous presidency left Joe Biden little choice but to complete the withdrawal. Republicans called it "an unmitigated disaster."
Around 5,000 people every day are crossing the border from Afghanistan into Iran. While Tehran is deporting thousands every week, many are still setting out on the perilous journey that often begins in the city of Herat.
The assault on police officers guarding a polio vaccination team took place a day after the militants had called an end to their truce with the Pakistani government.
More Afghans facing extreme poverty are turning to opium production as a means of survival. Despite promises to the contrary, the Taliban are unlikely to oppose cultivation of the narcotic cash crop.
A new report by Amnesty international has documented war crimes and atrocities committed during the fall of the internationally backed Afghan government in August.
It's been four months since the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan, something they did faster than anyone anticipated. Since August, they have had to make a rapid transition to running the day-to-day business of a struggling state. From Kabul to the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar and the mountainous Wardak province, our team have witnessed the grim reality of Taliban rule. FRANCE 24's senior reporters Catherine Norris Trent and Roméo Langlois bring us this exclusive full-length documentary.
What's it really like inside the new Afghanistan? Four months after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, FRANCE 24 went to the capital and beyond to speak to citizens from all walks of life. What they heard was a mix: relief that the guns have gone quiet but worry over the prospect of a bleak winter, with more than half the population facing acute food shortages. Meanwhile, Afghanistan remains isolated on the world stage and its new rulers have yet to let women return to school and work. The Taliban also still have to prove that they can run a country.
Pakistan hosted a conference of Muslim countries pledging financial assistance to stave off "chaos" in Afghanistan. They vowed to unlock frozen aid funds and set up a humanitarian trust.
German doctors and their staff have been facing aggression and threats from vaccine opponents. They have described having frayed nerves as pandemic fatigue sets in among patients and medical staff.
The court has agreed to hear arguments about the Biden administration's vaccine or testing requirement for large employers, and a separate vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
The head of the World Health Organization says rich countries are merely prolonging the pandemic by fueling vaccine inequality. "No country can boost its way out of the pandemic," he says.
Instead, mRNA vaccines use mRNA created in a laboratory to teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
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