‘Don’t be afraid,’ girls chant on Afghanistan’s streets in protest towards the Taliban. | Latest News Table

‘Don’t be afraid,’ girls chant on Afghanistan’s streets in protest towards the Taliban.

Outside a bank branch in Kabul on Monday. Long lines seeking to withdraw money have become a daily norm.
Credit score…Victor J. Blue for The New York Occasions

The US and its allies are working to recalibrate their relationship with the Taliban — a bunch that continues to be on terrorist watch lists world wide, even because it prepares to call a brand new Afghan authorities — amid a steadily worsening state of affairs for the individuals of Afghanistan.

In latest weeks, the US cooperated with the group to make sure the evacuation of tens of hundreds of individuals from the Kabul airport, and protection officers have mentioned there’s a chance the menace posed by the militant group Islamic State Khorasan may require future cooperation.

A rising humanitarian and financial disaster could push much more Afghans to hunt a approach out. Costs for probably the most primary meals, like eggs and flour, have surged. The emergency meals the United Nations distributes to tons of of hundreds of Afghans in want is anticipated to expire by the top of the month. Overseas support has dried up. Lengthy strains on the financial institution are the brand new every day norm.

On Wednesday, prime U.S. protection officers expressed wariness about persevering with to work with Taliban leaders, who had been cooperative throughout the evacuation.

Protection Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III informed reporters that whereas the US had labored with the Taliban on a slender set of priorities, “It’s laborious to foretell the place this can go sooner or later with respect to the Taliban.”

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, referred to as the Taliban “a ruthless group,” however added, “In struggle, you do what it’s essential to.”

When requested whether or not the US would cooperate with the Taliban towards Islamic State Khorasan, also called ISIS-Okay, Common Milley mentioned that was a chance. Whether or not the Taliban can management the group had turn into a matter of main worldwide concern, after ISIS-Okay claimed duty for an assault on the Kabul airport that left 170 civilians and 13 U.S. navy members useless within the ultimate days of the U.S. evacuation.

Different nations are working to map out a approach ahead for cooperation with both the Taliban or regional companions to get remaining civilians who want to depart in a foreign country. On Thursday, Britain’s international secretary, Dominic Raab, was in Doha, Qatar, assembly with Qatari leaders to debate the state of affairs in Afghanistan and how one can safe secure passage for individuals who stay. Qatar beforehand hosted Taliban leaders, and was the positioning of peace talks between the Taliban and the US.

In a information convention after the assembly, Mr. Raab mentioned that Britain “is not going to be recognizing the Taliban any time within the foreseeable future,” however added: “We do see the necessity for direct engagement,” in keeping with the BBC.

Mr. Raab spoke with the Qataris on whether or not they consider a functioning airport can be attainable in Kabul within the quick time period, which would supply a key route for high-risk Afghans nonetheless seeking to depart, Britain’s international ministry mentioned in an announcement. The international secretary additionally mentioned the feasibility of secure passage for international nationals and Afghans throughout land borders.

Simon Gass, Britain’s particular envoy for the Afghan transition, has held talks in latest days with senior Taliban political representatives, the international ministry mentioned.

Afghan women protesting in Herat on Thursday.
Credit score…Agence France-Presse — Getty Photographs

Dozens of girls gathered on the streets of Herat, a metropolis in western Afghanistan, on Thursday, protesting towards the Taliban and demanding extra rights and inclusion in a brand new future authorities which may be introduced as quickly as tomorrow.

“Don’t be afraid,” the ladies chanted as they marched towards the governor’s workplace, holding indicators. “We’re all collectively.”

Town of Herat is without doubt one of the nation’s most liberal, and hundreds of younger girls there attended universities and labored outdoors their properties earlier than the insurgents’ victory two weeks in the past.

Whereas the Taliban have maintained that they help girls’s rights, many stay skeptical. The final time the group ran the nation, girls have been banned from training, most work and practically all features of public life.

“We needed to point out our energy to the Taliban,” mentioned Maryam, an organizer of the protest. “If we keep in our homes, we will’t present our energy however the Taliban can impose extra restrictions on us to take away us from society and politics slowly.”

The protest in Herat comes at some point after Sher Mohammed Abas Stanekzai, a Taliban chief, informed the BBC’s Persian service that ladies can have no ministerial place within the Taliban authorities.

“The objective of the protest was to inform the Taliban to incorporate girls within the authorities and that no authorities can final with out their presence,” mentioned Basira, a human-rights activist and principal who helped arrange the protest. “We received’t be silent anymore.”

She mentioned that the group of girls would proceed to battle and hoped the protests would pressure the Taliban to just accept their calls for.

“We’ll stand for our rights to the loss of life,” she mentioned.

The protesters walked within the streets, chanting slogans and holding indicators.

“Schooling, work and safety are our — inalienable rights,” an indication held by a protester learn.

Talking from Herat, the organizers mentioned they have been planning to broaden the protests into all 34 provinces throughout the nation.

Small teams of younger ladies and men have protested towards the Taliban throughout Afghanistan, together with within the capital Kabul, for the reason that group seized management of the nation. However the protest in Herat appeared completely different, as a result of bigger numbers of girls took half in it and the message it delivered was extra clear: The Taliban ought to permit all working girls to return to work.

The Taliban have to this point requested solely feminine well being employees to return to work. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s prime spokesman, mentioned the choice to not permit different girls to begin working is “momentary.” He promised that each one girls would have the ability to return to their workplaces as soon as the Taliban trains its fighters to respect girls.

The protesters referred to as on the Taliban to permit all girls to return to work “instantly.”

Wali Arian contributed reporting.

Afghan evacuees at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany this week.
Credit score…Gordon Welters for The New York Occasions

WASHINGTON — Greater than 38,000 Afghans have undergone background safety checks since arriving at American navy bases in Europe after the evacuation from Kabul. Just one has raised critical sufficient considerations to warrant being turned over to the authorities for additional investigation, the highest American commander in Europe mentioned on Thursday.

Gen. Tod D. Wolters, the pinnacle of the navy’s European Command, informed reporters that 58 different Afghans have been now present process extra screening however that he anticipated all of them to be cleared.

Common Wolters mentioned one Afghan, whom he didn’t establish, had been positioned within the custody of the authorities for additional investigation however didn’t signify “a excessive menace.”

The paucity of potential safety dangers discovered among the many tens of hundreds of Afghans evacuated on navy and different plane has come as a shock to some American officers. It additionally seems to undercut the arguments of some conservative lawmakers and immigration opponents who say that bringing massive numbers of Afghans to the US in such a frenetic evacuation may pose a safety threat if some transform terrorists.

Common Wolters mentioned the Afghans arriving from intermediate staging bases within the Center East, similar to Qatar, twice bear background checks: as soon as upon arrival at bases in Germany, Italy and Spain, and once more a couple of days later earlier than they board flights to the US.

These checks embrace fingerprinting and retina scans, that are matched towards immigration, legislation enforcement and counterterrorism databases, he mentioned.

With the American navy ending its deployment to Afghanistan late Monday night time after 20 years, the circulate of Afghans evacuated from Kabul is making its approach first to bases within the Center East, then to Europe, and at last the US.

Common Wolters mentioned he anticipated about 500 to 600 Afghans to reach in Europe every day for the subsequent few days. The variety of Afghans leaving for the US, after a keep at bases in Europe of as much as 10 days, will develop to 2,500 to three,000 individuals per day, he mentioned.

Money changers working with customers at their stalls in Kabul in August. Halawa, the informal banking network, is crucial to many Afghans.
Credit score…Victor J. Blue for The New York Occasions

As Afghans pay surging costs for eggs and flour and stand in lengthy strains on the financial institution, cash changers like Enayatullah and his underground monetary lifeline have discovered themselves in determined demand.

Enayatullah — his household title withheld — holds down a tiny level in a sprawling international community of casual lenders and back-room bankers referred to as hawala. The Taliban used hawala to assist fund their in the end profitable insurgency. Many households use it to get assist from family in Istanbul, London and Doha. With out money from hawala, financial life in complete swaths of Afghanistan would come to a crashing halt.

That’s now an actual chance. Overseas support has dried up. Costs are surging. The worth of the afghani foreign money is tumbling. The nation’s $9.4 billion in reserves have been frozen.

And hawala received’t be sufficient, mentioned Enayatullah, who says individuals’s want for cash has turn into so determined within the final week that he has raised his fee to 4 p.c per transaction, about eight occasions his regular price. The system is now fighting an absence of cash, main the Taliban and sellers themselves to rein in exercise to protect money.

“The demand,” Enayatullah mentioned, “is an excessive amount of.”

The Taliban received the struggle in Afghanistan, and an financial disaster could also be their prize. They’ve been lower off from the worldwide banking system and from the nation’s earlier funding sources, just like the Worldwide Financial Fund, the World Financial institution and the US authorities. Overseas support makes up practically half of financial output.

With out different sources of cash, thousands and thousands of Afghan individuals may lose the positive factors they made, in suits and begins, over the previous twenty years. Already, drought situations have created an actual threat of starvation.

“We have now battle. We have now struggle. That is one other distress,” mentioned Shah Mehrabi, a board member of Afghanistan’s central financial institution. “You’ll have a monetary disaster and it’ll push households additional into poverty.”

Shoppers making their way through a market in Kabul last week.
Credit score…Victor J. Blue for The New York Occasions

In Afghanistan, as in different economically struggling international locations, many Afghans have lengthy trusted family and friends who go overseas to search out jobs to ship a reimbursement dwelling. However two weeks in the past, simply because the nation’s monetary struggles have been rising ever extra dire, the circulate of cash instantly dried up.

Amid the chaos that adopted the Taliban takeover, Western Union, which handles extra money transfers than another firm on this planet, mentioned it was suspending the service for Afghanistan.

“Western Union understands the pressing want individuals must obtain funds,” the corporate mentioned in an announcement to Reuters on Aug. 19, “and we’re dedicated to resuming operations for our prospects in Afghanistan as situations allow.”

On Thursday, the company said the payments, generally known as remittances, have been being allowed once more.

“Western Union is happy to announce that it’s resuming its cash switch companies into Afghanistan, enabling our prospects from 200 international locations and territories to as soon as once more ship cash to their family members,” it mentioned.

The announcement adopted phrase from the Treasury Division that it will not oppose remittances to Afghanistan, even because the U.S. authorities indicators that it intends to take care of its financial sanctions towards the Taliban.

In 2020, remittances from Afghans residing overseas totaled virtually $789 million, in keeping with the World Financial institution.

In suspending the cash transfers, Western Union cited financial institution closures there and challenges for its brokers.

Taliban fighters guarding Kabul’s main currency exchange last week.
Credit score…Victor J. Blue for The New York Occasions

The Biden administration just isn’t contemplating lowering sanctions on the ruling Taliban authorities in Afghanistan or reopening its entry to the worldwide monetary system, White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki informed reporters on Thursday.

In latest weeks, the US has moved to dam the Taliban’s entry to almost $10 billion in worldwide reserves, and the Worldwide Financial Fund has stopped plans to distribute $400 million in support to Afghanistan. These strikes have despatched the worth of the nation’s foreign money plunging and drawn warnings that an Afghan economic system that has closely relied on international support may rapidly spiral into disaster to go along with its political turmoil.

Ms. Psaki mentioned in a information briefing that the administration wouldn’t reverse course, even because it evaluates its choices in coping with Taliban leaders at a time when the administration estimates about 100 Americans who wish to depart Afghanistan stay trapped within the nation. “That’s not actively being mentioned or pursued,” she mentioned.

“We’re going to decide the Taliban by their actions and can keep in shut coordination with the worldwide neighborhood,” she mentioned. However, she added, “we additionally wish to guarantee that there’s help to the Afghan individuals, humanitarian help, and different help to maintain them afloat and ensure we offer that from the worldwide neighborhood at the moment.”

Ms. Psaki mentioned that help can be coordinated not with the Taliban however with “outdoors organizations.”

Taliban forces on a Kabul street on Monday.
Credit score…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Occasions

Ahmad, 27, lingered in mattress. He didn’t wish to face the day. His sister Haanya, 20, had no urge for food for breakfast. She regarded out the window, the place 4 Taliban fighters have been patrolling the block, AK-47 rifles swung over their shoulders.

It was Tuesday morning in Kabul, a day after the US accomplished its navy withdrawal, and there was little question who was in cost now.

In phone interviews, the 2 siblings recounted what their lives regarded like on Day 1 of Taliban rule, after twenty years of U.S. occupation. Like many odd Afghans, they have been already attempting to learn to navigate the brand new Afghanistan.

“Our life simply two weeks in the past appears 10 years away,” Ahmad mentioned. “For 20 years the U.S. lied to us and mentioned: ‘We’re with you. We is not going to depart the Afghan individuals.’ Who’s with us now? Solely the Taliban.”

Simply two weeks in the past, earlier than the Taliban entered the capital, Ahmad was a authorities worker. He misplaced his job and entry to his authorities checking account together with his financial savings. His spouse had a miscarriage.

Haanya, a contract journalist, used to roam cafes freely and talked to strangers for her tales. Now, her story pitches are turned down, and he or she hasn’t left the home in 10 days. Nervous about Taliban harassment, her father will let her go outdoors solely with a male family member.

On Tuesday morning, Ahmad ventured out with two associates. Outlets have been open and site visitors flowed. The crowds that lately mobbed the airport in hopes of leaving the nation have been gone.

However the Taliban made their presence recognized with checkpoints at roundabouts. Few girls have been out alone on the road. A good friend drove Ahmad to a few financial institution branches searching for money, however he gave up after seeing strains that stretched for blocks.

Once they headed towards a good friend’s home in a neighborhood the place a outstanding politician has a house, they discovered that Taliban fighters had blocked entry to the highway. They parked the automobile and walked to their good friend’s home, the place they drank tea and mentioned potential exit plans.

Making use of for visa to India? Making an attempt to cross the border into Pakistan? Becoming a member of the resistance in Panjshir?

There have been no good choices.

Later, Ahmad mentioned, the Taliban stopped them at two checkpoints on their option to dinner, and requested them the place they have been going, the place they lived and the place they labored.

Caught at dwelling, Haanya texted Ahmad each hour, urgent him for particulars about what Kabul regarded like now.

Different associates texted him with related questions: “Who’s out? What’s the state of affairs within the metropolis?”

At a virtually empty restaurant, Ahmad took {a photograph} of his sandwich and his soda and despatched it to his associates, asking them to hitch him. “I didn’t inform them concerning the waves of emotion hitting me up and down all day,” Ahmad mentioned.

Haanya was stressed. She regarded out the window. She checked her messages on her telephone. She wandered from room to room.

“I’m in my home, and I really feel like I’ve no dwelling,” she mentioned. “I miss the little issues I used to do this I can by no means do once more: go to a bookstore alone, sit in a restaurant and discuss to individuals.”

She posted an essay she wrote in Dari to a non-public group for associates. “After 20 years of struggle and bloodshed, the struggle didn’t finish,” it started. “The whole lot returned to twenty years in the past and we’re again at sq. one.”

By early night Ahmad was again. A good friend referred to as him and mentioned she had misplaced her job. They cried on the telephone collectively.

They heard President Biden was giving a speech. He was asserting the top of the lengthy struggle in Afghanistan — or, a minimum of, America’s half in it.

Neither brother nor sister needed to listen to it.

What may he probably say, puzzled Haanya, that will make any distinction for Afghans like them now?

Ambassador Ross Wilson at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in late July.
Credit score…Reuters

Ross Wilson, the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul who helped handle the evacuation from the Kabul airport, has examined constructive for the coronavirus, in keeping with an individual aware of his situation who was not licensed to talk on the document.

Mr. Wilson was considered one of quite a few officers who continued working within the nation as Taliban fighters swept into the capital, prompting the evacuation of round 123,000 individuals. The final American diplomat to depart Kabul, he continued working on the airport to course of the paperwork of Afghans who needed to depart for 2 weeks after the embassy shut down on Aug. 15.

Mr. Wilson’s situation on Thursday was not instantly clear.

Within the rush to finish the evacuation, navy and diplomatic officers have scrambled to place in place a system for screening these airlifted in a foreign country for the virus. Many have arrived in the US.

Pentagon officers have mentioned that they established temperature checks and different Covid protocols on the airfield in Kabul. Final week, the White Home press secretary, Jen Psaki, mentioned that each one evacuees would even be examined and provided vaccines upon arrival.

“With reference to Covid, the Afghans coming from the Center East into our places that now we have stood up are all being examined, truly, a number of occasions,” Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, the commander of the North American Aerospace Protection Command, mentioned final week.

Of those that arrived final week, roughly one out of 1,200 had examined constructive, he mentioned.

Addressing the evacuation efforts on Monday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken thanked Mr. Wilson, whom he credited for “distinctive, brave work throughout a extremely difficult time.”

Mr. Blinken additionally acknowledged the heavy toll that the pandemic had taken on Afghanistan, the place vaccines have been scarce and a summer time surge simply months in the past badly strained the nation’s hospitals.

Lara Jakes contributed reporting.

A vehicle flying a Taliban flag near the runway at the Kabul airport on Tuesday.
Credit score…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Occasions

Qatar is in talks with the Taliban and dealing with Turkey to offer technical help to restart operations in Kabul airport, the Qatari international minister mentioned on Thursday.

The international minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, mentioned throughout a information convention with the British international secretary that efforts have been underway to reopen the airport.

“We try our greatest to help now bringing again the airport to be up and operating and that is remaining our focus within the subsequent quick time period interval,” he mentioned in Doha, the Qatari capital.

On Thursday afternoon, the previous V.I.P. terminal of Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport was bustling. Below a large billboard of Ashraf Ghani, till lately Afghanistan’s president, armored Land Cruisers pushed by Qatari safety personnel ferried their airport technicians backwards and forwards.

Others have been loading gear from a rusty flat mattress whereas Taliban fighters in commando uniforms offered tight safety.

“The airport will open very quickly,” Daoud Sharifi, the chief working officer of Kam Air, Afghanistan’s largest privately owned airline, mentioned on Thursday. Staff of the corporate have been additionally at work on the civilian aspect of the airport. “We’re even flying considered one of our planes in from Mazar-i-Sharif tomorrow.”

On Monday, forward of the ultimate phases of the U.S. navy withdrawal from the airport, the Qatari Air Drive flew in airport technicians in addition to gear and safety personnel to Kabul. One other airplane landed on Wednesday, and a guard on the airport mentioned a 3rd airplane was on the way in which on Thursday.

Turkey’s international minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, mentioned at a information convention on Thursday in Ankara that Turkey may play a future function on the Kabul airport.

“There are requests from Taliban and a few international locations to cooperate with us. We’re evaluating all of those,” he mentioned. “An important factor, as now we have underlined earlier than, is the safety of the airport.”

He famous that whereas the Taliban mentioned to this point that they wish to preserve safety inside and out of doors the airport, the safety particularly contained in the airport have to be maintained to present confidence to the worldwide neighborhood.

As the US and its allies evacuated tens of hundreds of individuals forward of an Aug. 31 deadline for his or her withdrawal, the airport amenities — the positioning of a significant navy base and a passenger terminal — have been broken. However for the reason that Taliban took over management, the group has assured the world that operations there would proceed.

Nonetheless, questions have arisen over whether or not the Taliban has the experience or capability to run the advanced hub.

Information ANALYSIS

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, asserted last week that the United States should not keep any troops in Afghanistan but then suggested that it should have held onto Bagram Air Base. 
Credit score…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Occasions

WASHINGTON — Early final yr, Consultant Kevin McCarthy of California, the Home minority chief, praised former President Donald J. Trump’s deal to drag American troops out of Afghanistan as “a positive step.” As secretary of state, Mike Pompeo helped negotiate that settlement with the Taliban. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri pressed final November for a withdrawal as quickly as attainable.

Now, the three are amongst dozens of outstanding Republicans who, with President Biden seeing the pullout via, have sharply reversed themselves — assailing Mr. Biden whilst he retains a promise that Mr. Trump had made, and carries out a coverage to which they’d given their full-throated help.

The collective U-turn displays Republicans’ eagerness to assault Mr. Biden and make sure that he pays a political value for the way in which he ended the struggle. With Mr. Trump reversing himself because the withdrawal grew chaotic and, in its endgame, lethal, it additionally provides new proof of how allegiance to the previous president has come to override compunctions about coverage flip-flops or political hypocrisy.

“You possibly can’t be going on the market and saying, ‘This struggle was nugatory and we have to carry the troops dwelling’ in Might, and now hitting Biden for doing simply that,” mentioned Consultant Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a Republican who broke with Mr. Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and has lengthy favored sustaining a navy presence in Afghanistan. “There’s no disgrace anymore.”

Zakia Khudadadi of Afghanistan, in blue, during her bout with Viktoriia Marchuk of Ukraine on Thursday.
Credit score…Chang W. Lee/The New York Occasions

After an arduous escape from Afghanistan involving a number of governments and organizations and a secret keep in Paris, Zakia Khudadadi competed in taekwondo on the Tokyo Paralympic Video games on Thursday.

Ms. Khudadadi, 22, appeared within the very first match of the day as taekwondo additionally made its Paralympic debut. She misplaced to Ziyodakhon Isakova, 23, of Uzbekistan, within the girls’s under-49 kilogram class on the Makuhari Messe Corridor in Chiba. Ms. Khudadadi returned for a repechage spherical within the quarterfinals Thursday afternoon towards Viktoriia Marchuk of Ukraine, who received the match 48-34.

Ms. Khudadadi is considered one of two Afghan athletes who have been evacuated from Kabul after the nation’s authorities fell to the Taliban. On Tuesday, Hossain Rasouli, 26, competed within the lengthy soar in Tokyo. He had initially been scheduled to run a 100 meter occasion however missed his race.

The chaos in Afghanistan initially imperiled the athletes’ participation within the Paralympics as they may not safe a secure flight out of Kabul. Ms. Khudadadi had traveled from Herat, her dwelling province, and was staying with prolonged household within the capital. In a video requesting help earlier than she was evacuated, she pleaded: “Please maintain my hand and assist me.”

Chungwon Choue, president of World Taekwondo, mentioned the sports activities federation’s vice chairman, Usman Dildar, was initially from Afghanistan and had helped coordinate with different organizations in Australia, France and Britain that had labored to evacuate dozens of Afghan athletes, together with the Paralympians.

Mr. Choue mentioned that he suspected that jet lag and the stress of worldwide media consideration could have affected Ms. Khudadadi’s efficiency however that he was happy with her. “We’re actually, actually joyful to see her take part within the Paralympic Video games,” he mentioned.

After her ultimate competitors on Thursday, Mr. Choue met with the Afghan athlete and offered her with a black belt imprinted together with her title. “She regarded very drained,” he mentioned. However when he informed her to “intention for the Paris Paralympic Video games” in 2024, “Lastly she was smiling and saying ‘Sure, president, I’ll do it.’”

“I feel she has an incredible likelihood after she settles down in a sure nation,” mentioned Mr. Choue, who mentioned that a number of international locations had provided her asylum. “If she practices, she has expertise and she’s going to do it.”

In interviews earlier than the video games, Ms. Khudadadi has mentioned she was impressed to start working towards taekwondo by Rohullah Nikpai, the one Afghan to win a medal in an Olympic competitors, with a bronze in taekwondo in Beijing in 2008 and once more in London in 2012.

In an interview posted on the I.P.C.’s web site, Ms. Khudadadi mentioned she solely had two months to coach for the Paralympics in Tokyo. After being evacuated from Kabul to Paris earlier this month, she and Mr. Hossain skilled on the Nationwide Institute of Sport, Experience and Efficiency for per week earlier than flying to Tokyo.

Ms. Khudadadi is just the second lady to signify Afghanistan on the Paralympic Video games. Mareena Karim competed on the Paralympic Video games in Athens in 2004, operating a 100-meter occasion.

Ms. Khudadadi got here out sturdy and received her first bout towards Ms. Marchuk, however in the end the Ukrainian prevailed. After the match, Ms. Marchuk mentioned that the extraordinary consideration on the Afghan athletes had not been a distraction.

“In fact I fear and I’ve considerations relating to the state of affairs in Afghanistan proper now,” she mentioned. “And I’m very glad my opponent managed to return and to compete with me.”

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