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Afghan refugees in Turkey scammed by Afghan criminals: report

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2020)

Afghan refugees living in Turkey are being scammed by their countrymen when they try to send money to their families in Afghanistan, a Turkish newspaper reported.

Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) has determined that Afghan criminals engaged in drug smuggling and the funding of terror operations are exploiting Afghan refugees in Turkey via bank transfers.

Referring to a probe by MASAK, Turkish Duvar English reported that two Afghan nationals have been arrested on charges of money laundering attempts.

According to the report, the suspects allegedly were using the bank transfers to launder money from drug sales in addition to other illegal activities.

Turkey has been a host country and transit hub for hundreds of thousands of refugees. Afghans constitute the second-largest group of refugees in Turkey after Syrian.

They usually manage to send money home to their relatives via Hawala brokers, an informal money transfer system, as they often cannot open bank accounts. 

MASAK has determined that the transfer system has been used to aid in drug dealing, money laundering, and terror operations, the report noted.

MASAK experts examined incoming transfers denominated in large amounts as well as international transfer transactions in accounts of the Turkish state-run Ziraat Bank belonging to Afghan nationals. 

Connections to the supply and sale of drugs were identified in the transactions, and the Ziraat Bank accounts of the two Afghan nationals in question were frozen. 

According to the report, MASAK had previously determined that members of the terrorist organization ISIS were engaged in similar banking operations in Turkey and Syria, and 22 people were detained to that end in Sept. 2019. 

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District governor killed in an ambush in Logar

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(Last Updated On: October 20, 2020)

Abdul Hai Zazai, the governor of Zazai Maidan district in Khost province, was killed in a targeted attack in Logar province.

According to local officials, Zazai was ambushed and killed by unknown armed men in Logar’s Altamur area while he was traveling to the capital Kabul.

The incident took place on Monday afternoon.

The officials stated that one of the Zazai’s bodyguards was also killed and another one was wounded in the attack.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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NATO reaffirms financial support for Afghan forces through 2024

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2020)

NATO reiterated commitment to providing financial support to the Afghan security forces through 2024.

In a statement released on Monday, NATO said that its allies and partners met at the plenary meeting of the Afghan National Army Trust Fund Board to review the implementation of their financial contributions in support of the Afghan security forces.

According to the statement, the members of the organization discussed their financial contributions to the Afghan forces for 2021 and “reiterated their commitment to providing financial support to the Afghan security forces through 2024.”

“Today’s commitments help underpin the confidence that our financial support to the Afghan security forces will continue to be strong beyond 2020,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated in the meeting.

“International funding support to the Afghan forces is a key pillar of our commitment to Afghan security. As of 5 October 2020, total cumulative contributions made to the Trust Fund since its establishment amount to over 3,2 billion US dollars,” Stoltenberg pointed out.  

The NATO-run Afghan National Army Trust Fund was created in 2007. It has played a vital role to enhance the effectiveness and sustainment of the Afghan security forces by funding activities ranging from installation of donated equipment to training, literacy courses, professional military education, and capacity building.

The Trust Fund is open for contributions by the broader international community. It is one of three funding streams used by the international community to channel its financial support to Afghanistan’s security forces and institutions.

The other two are the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA), administered by the United Nations Development Programm, and the United States Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF).

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Global coronavirus caseload crosses the 40 million mark

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2020)

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide passed the 40 million mark on Monday, according to a Reuters tally. 

Reuters reported that this comes as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere appears to have fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease. 

Experts however believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential under-reporting by some countries.

The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic continues to increase as it took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 to 30 million, the 44 days between 10 and 20 million, and the three months it took to reach 10 million cases from when the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in early January.

Reuters also reported that record one-day increases in new infections were seen at the end of last week, with global coronavirus cases rising above 400,000 for the first time.

The United States, India, and Brazil remain the worst affected countries in the world. 

 

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