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Afghan Defense Minister Announces His Conditions for Peace Talks

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(Last Updated On: April 17, 2019)

The Afghan Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid says he supports the peace talks only if the sacrifices of Afghan forces are respected.

“We support the ongoing peace talks in anywhere, but there must be no other war under the name of peace. Our sacrifices must not be ignored. The achievements of nearly last two decades must not be destroyed,” Khalid said while speaking at the graduation of special forces in Kabul.

Khalid further says that there are several terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and are being supported by regional countries.

He emphasizes that rumors about the elimination of the Afghan National Army (ANA) are just “nonsense talks”.

“Whatever nonsense talks you hear from any irresponsible person regarding the elimination of the army is not true. If peace comes you soldiers will be the owner of that,” Khalid added.

This comes as both the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgent group have announced their military operation. However, intra-Afghan peace talks are also expected to be held between the government delegation and Taliban representatives in Qatar this weekend.

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North Korea has probably developed nuclear devices to fit ballistic missiles: UN report

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

North Korea is pressing on with its nuclear weapons program and several countries believe it has “probably developed miniaturized nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles,” according to a confidential U.N. report.

The report by an independent panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions said the countries, which it did not identify, believed North Korea’s past six nuclear tests had likely helped it develop miniaturized nuclear devices. Pyongyang has not conducted a nuclear test since September 2017.

The interim report, seen by Reuters, was submitted to the 15-member U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee on Monday.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing its nuclear program, including the production of highly enriched uranium and construction of an experimental light water reactor. A Member State assessed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is continuing production of nuclear weapons,” the report said.

North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the U.N. report.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last week there would be no more war as the country’s nuclear weapons guarantee its safety and future despite unabated outside pressure and military threats.

The U.N. report said one country, which it did not identify, assessed that North Korea “may seek to further develop miniaturisation in order to allow incorporation of technological improvements such as penetration aid packages or, potentially, to develop multiple warhead systems.”

‘LUCRATIVE’ CYBERATTACKS

North Korea has been subjected to U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. While the Security Council has steadily strengthened sanctions in a bid to cut off funding for those programs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump have met three times since 2018, but failed to make progress on U.S. calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and North Korea’s demands for an end to sanctions.

In May 2018 North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its main nuclear test site, Punggye-ri, which Pyongyang said was proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing. But they did not allow experts to witness the dismantlement of the site.

The U.N. report said that as only tunnel entrances were known to have been destroyed and there is no indication of a comprehensive demolition, one country had assessed that North Korea could rebuild and reinstall within three months the infrastructure needed to support a nuclear test.

The U.N. experts said North Korea is violating sanctions, including “through illicit maritime exports of coal, though it suspended these temporarily between late January and early March 2020” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year the U.N. experts said North Korea has generated an estimated $2 billion using widespread and sophisticated cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

“The Panel continues to assess that virtual asset service providers and virtual assets will continue to remain lucrative targets for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to generate revenue, as well as mining cryptocurrencies,” the latest report said.

Source: Rueters

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Three killed in clash with Taliban over rape accusation

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

At least three civilians were killed and three more wounded in a clash between residents and Taliban militants in Khwaja Ghar district of northeastern Takhar province.

Khalil Asir, a spokesman for Takhar police, told Ariana News that the clash broke out after local residents stormed a Taliban prison on Monday afternoon.

According to Asir, members of the community attempted to get access to Taliban insurgents who allegedly raped two girls in the district two weeks ago.

He said the militants opened fire on the residents which resulted in the death of three people. Three more were wounded.

Two weeks ago, a resident of Khwaja Ghar claimed that Taliban fighters raped two of his teenage daughters.

The local Taliban reportedly denied any wrongdoing.

The Taliban has not commented on the incident.

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Andarabi claims new Daesh leader is a Haqqani member

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

Masoud Andarabi, the acting minister of interior, said Monday night that Shahab al-Muhajir, the newly appointed leader of Daesh in Afghanistan, was in fact a member of the Haqqani Network.

Commenting on Twitter, Andarabi said: “Haqqani and the Taliban carry out their terrorism on a daily basis across Afg and when their terrorist activities does not suit them politically they rebrand it under ISKP (Daesh Afghanistan).”

Andarabi’s tweet came just hours after security forces brought an end to the Jalalabad prison siege in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

The attack started on Sunday night shortly after 6.30 pm and carried on throughout the night and most of Monday.

Soon after militants detonated a car bomb at the gates of the prison, and gunmen stormed the facility, Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sunday was also the final day of a three-day Eid ceasefire that had been called by both the Taliban and the Afghan government.

However, the prison siege resulted in the death of at least 30 people, including civilians, security force members, and prisoners.

In addition, prisoners escaped during the chaos but security forces said they rounded hundreds of them up.

The attack came just a day after the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Security Directorate (NDS), killed a senior Daesh group commander near Jalalabad.

A statement late Saturday by the National Directorate of Security said the slain militant was Assadullah Orakzai, an intelligence leader for the IS affiliate (Daesh) in Afghanistan. The statement said he was killed near Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. IS has its headquarters in the province.

Orakzai was suspected of being involved in several deadly attacks against both military and civilian targets in Afghanistan.

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