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Afghan family stranded at Istanbul airport for three weeks

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Hurriyet Daily News
(Last Updated On: July 12, 2021)

Sixteen members of an Afghan family have been stranded at Istanbul Airport for three weeks after fleeing the country, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The family of 16, including adults, elderly people and babies, arrived in Turkey on June 22 but were left stuck at the airport because of visa irregularities.

Speaking to the BBC’s Turkish service, the family members said they arrived in Turkey without visas and their entrance was denied by authorities, but that they were now refusing to go back to Afghanistan because of concerns about political tensions and threats they received from the Taliban.

The family used to live in Herat city, according to a family member whose asked to be called only Ahmed for security reasons.

Ahmed said he worked for Blumont, a U.S.-based international aid organization in Afghanistan.

He said when one of their relatives was killed by the Taliban last month, the family decided to flee and first arrived in Kabul from Herat, and then to Istanbul but were refused entry into Turkey as they had no visas.

The family told Hurriyet they had filed an international protection application and prefer to live in the airport terminal for a “new life” in Istanbul.

“The Taliban know we have fled. If we go back, they will kill us all. In no way can we return to our country. There is no way around it. But Turkey is trying to send us back. We don’t want to die,” Ahmed told BBC Turkish.

No statement was made by the General Directorate of Migration Authority and the airport administration.

Hurriyet also reported that thousands of mostly young people fleeing from Afghanistan are crossing into Turkey via illegal routes every day due to the fear of the Taliban.

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China welcomes Huawei executive home, but silent on freed Canadians

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

Chinese state media welcomed telecoms giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, back to the “motherland” on Saturday, after more than 1,000 days under house arrest in Canada, on what they called unfounded charges of bank fraud.

But they have kept silent about Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians released from Chinese custody in an apparent act of reciprocation by Beijing.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV carried a statement by the Huawei executive, written as her plane flew over the North Pole, avoiding U.S. airspace.

Her eyes were “blurring with tears” as she approached “the embrace of the great motherland”, Meng said. “Without a strong motherland, I wouldn’t have the freedom I have today.”

Meng was arrested in December 2018 in Vancouver after a New York court issued an arrest warrant, saying she tried to cover up attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran in breach of U.S. sanctions.

After more than two years of legal wrangling, she was finally allowed to leave Canada and fly back to China on Friday, after securing a deal with U.S. prosecutors.

Huawei, founded by Meng’s father Ren Zhengfei, said in a statement that it “looked forward to seeing Ms. Meng returning home safely to be reunited with her family.” It said it would continue to defend itself against U.S. charges.

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, detained by Chinese authorities just days after Meng’s arrest, were released a few hours later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.

State news agency Xinhua formally acknowledged the end of Meng’s house arrest on Saturday, attributing her release to the “unremitting efforts of the Chinese government”.

Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the Global Times tabloid backed by the ruling Communist Party, wrote on Twitter that “international relations have fallen into chaos” as a result of Meng’s “painful three years”.

He added, “No arbitrary detention of Chinese people is allowed.”

However, neither Hu nor other media have mentioned the release of Spavor and Kovrig, and reactions on China’s Twitter-like Weibo social media platform have been few and far between.

The foreign ministry has not commented publicly.

China has previously denied engaging in “hostage diplomacy”, insisting that the arrest and detention of the two Canadians was not tied in any way to the extradition proceedings against Meng.

Spavor was accused of supplying photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced to 11 years in jail in August. Kovrig had still been awaiting sentencing.

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Four kidnappers killed by IEA forces in hostage drama

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

Herat security officials said four kidnappers had been killed in a clash with Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) forces on Saturday morning.

The incident happened during an operation to rescue a local man and his son who had been taken hostage by the kidnappers.

According to officials, the kidnapping happened in PD12 in Herat city and the hostages were then taken to PD14.

The officials did not give any further details.

IEA officials said both father and son were rescued.

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One killed, seven wounded in Nangarhar explosion

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

Nangarhar provincial officials confirmed on Saturday that an explosion was reported in PD1 in Jalalabad city.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials confirmed the explosion, but did not provide details about the casualties.

Eye witnesses said however that the incident took place when an IEA military convoy hit a roadside mine.

A source at Nangarhar regional hospital confirmed that one IEA member had been killed and seven others, including civilians, had been taken to the hospital.

According to the source, four civilians were among the wounded.

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