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Afghan officials slam Pakistan for harboring Taliban

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(Last Updated On: June 28, 2021)

Following the admission by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed about the presence of Afghan Taliban in Pakistan, and that their families live in the country, including on the outskirts of Islamabad, Afghan officials Tuesday slammed Pakistan for harboring members of the group.

In response to Ahmed’s revelations, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh implied that Afghanistan has long suspected this and asked what “more evidence [is] needed.”

“The Interior Minister of Pakistan tells BBC Persian that Taliban receive treatment in Pakistani hospitals, maintain cemeteries, Talib leaders are based in Pakistan and their children go to school there,” Saleh wrote on his Twitter.

Saleh asked in this case “who are responsible for the massacre of Afghans?”

“Any more evidence needed?” Saleh tweeted.

Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib also reacted to Ahmed’s remarks but praised him for his honesty.

“I commend Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid for exposing Pakistani support to Taliban. We need more brave Pakistanis to speak out against the onslaught on Afghanistan,” Mohib tweeted.

Pakistan’s interior minister said Sunday that the families of Taliban live in his country, including in areas around the capital, Islamabad, and that members of the insurgent group receive medical treatment in local hospitals.

The admission by Ahmed came during an interview aired by a privately-owned Pakistani television channel, Geo News.

This is a significant departure from Islamabad’s consistent rejection of allegations leveled by Afghan leaders that the Taliban use Pakistani soil to direct and sustain insurgent activities in Afghanistan.

“Taliban families live here, in Pakistan, in Rawat, Loi Ber, Bara Kahuh, and Tarnol,” Rashid told the Urdu-language network citing the names of Islamabad suburbs. “Sometimes their dead bodies arrive and sometimes they come here in hospitals to get medical treatment,” he said.

Rashid remarks however sparked an outcry among Afghans on social media.

Many Afghans slammed Pakistan for their support of the Taliban with one social media user stating: “Curse on Pakistan, which has no gift for Islamic countries except destruction.”

Another user said Pakistan runs the global terrorism system.

“This time people will choose death over migrating to Pakistan [in the event of a civil war],” another user wrote.

Recently the acting interior minister Abdul Satar Mirzakwal confirmed that there have been reports of government military tanks being moved across the border to Pakistan following the fall of districts in Afghanistan.

Mirzkwal warned that if security forces detect movement of this type the air force will target the tanks.

Afghan officials have however for years accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to the Taliban and said more recently that it is because of this that the Taliban have been able to ramp up attacks across the country.

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Pakistan’s customs agent says exports to Afghanistan dwindle

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Hundreds of trucks lined the winding, mountainous road leading to Torkhum, the Pakistan-Afghan border crossing on Thursday.

Pakistani officials say that is because exports to Afghanistan have dwindled in the days after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) take over.

But some truck drivers were upbeat because they said the vegetable and fruit season in Afghanistan had helped increase exports of these items from the war-ravaged country.

Another Pakistani official at another Pakistan-Afghan border Chaman said trade had picked up because the IEA government had reduced taxes, and also put an end to bribes that traders and truck drivers had to pay to cross the border.

Afghan new government bolstered its economic team last week, naming a commerce minister and two deputies as the group tries to revive a financial system in shock from the abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Underlining the economic pressures building on Afghanistan’s new government, prices for staples like flour, fuel, and rice have risen and long queues are still forming outside banks as they strictly ration withdrawals.

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Five climbers die in snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Five climbers died after they got caught in a sudden snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, officials said.

The other 14 members of the party were rescued on the peak in the Caucasus Mountains in high winds and low visibility amid temperatures of minus -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the regional emergency ministry said.

The group of Russian climbers sent out a mayday call just after 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, the ministry added. Eleven of the survivors were taken to hospital.

One woman fell ill and died in the arms of one of the guides, Denis Alimov, who helped organise the climb, told TASS news agency.

Another climber broke his leg as he was coming down and the party decided to split into three groups depending on who could go fastest, Alimov told TASS.

“As they descended, two more people died in one of the groups. But the decision to split up was the right one, otherwise there might have been more casualties.”

Guides with the group suffered frostbite and other injuries, Alimov was quoted as saying.

Mount Elbrus, which rises to 5,642 metres (18,510 feet) just north of the border with Georgia, is infamous for sudden changes in weather and climbing conditions.

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IEA’s defence minister orders crackdown on abuses

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s acting new defence minister has issued a rebuke over misconduct by some commanders and fighters following the IEA’s victory over the Western-backed government in Afghanistan last month, saying abuses would not be tolerated, Reuters reported.

According to the report Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob said in an audio message that some “miscreants and notorious former soldiers” had been allowed to join Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses.

“We direct you keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you,” he stated. “We don’t want such people in our ranks.”

The message from one of the IEA’s most senior ministers underlines the problems Afghanistan’s new rulers have sometimes had in controlling fighting forces as they transition from an insurgency to a peacetime administration, the report said.

Some Kabul residents have complained of abusive treatment at the hands of IEA forces who have appeared on the streets of the capital, often from other regions and unused to big cities.

There have also been reports of reprisals against members of the former government and military or civil society activists, despite promises of an amnesty by the IEA.

Yaqoob said there had been isolated reports of unauthorized executions, and he repeated that such actions would not be tolerated.

“As you all are aware, under the general amnesty announced in Afghanistan, no mujahid has the right to take revenge on anyone,” he said.

Reuters said that it was not clear precisely which incidents he was referring to, nor what prompted the message, which was published on IEA Twitter accounts and widely shared on social media.

There have been reports of tensions within the IEA between hardline battlefield commanders and political leaders more willing to seek compromise with governments outside Afghanistan, report said

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