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Al-Qaeda could rebuild in Afghanistan in a year or two: US officials

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(Last Updated On: September 15, 2021)

Al-Qaeda could rebuild inside Afghanistan in one to two years, top US intelligence officials said Tuesday, noting that some members of the group had already returned to the country, New York Times reported.

Earlier in the year, top Pentagon officials said al-Qaeda could reconstitute in two years, then told lawmakers after the fall of the previous Afghan government they were revising that timeline, the Times reported.

While the Islamic Emirate has long fought the Islamic State affiliate (ISIS-K), they are established allies of al-Qaeda, the Times reported.

“The current assessment probably conservatively is one to two years for al-Qaeda to build some capability to at least threaten the homeland,” Lt. General Scott Berrier, the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency said Tuesday at the annual Intelligence and National Security Summit.

David Cohen, the deputy director of the CIA, said the difficult part of the timeline question was to know when al-Qaeda or ISIS-K would “have the capability to go to strike the homeland” before they could be detected, the Times reported.

According to Cohen, the CIA is keeping a keen watch of “some potential movement of al-Qaeda to Afghanistan”.

He did not identify specific al-Qaeda members who have traveled back to Afghanistan since the fall of the American-backed government, but Osama bin Laden’s former security chief, Amin al Haq, who served with bin Laden during the battle of Tora Bora, was seen on video returning to the Afghan province of Nangarhar last month, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, experts have said the Islamic Emirate needs to curb activities by ISIS-K (Daesh) and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in order to gain the trust and confidence of the international community.
Mohammad Sarwar Niazi, an Afghan military expert, said: “The US is familiar with ISIS (Daesh) and from where it comes… how can two religious groups (Daesh and Al-Qaeda) be eliminated? If they (US) wanted to eliminate Daesh they could have done it during their 20 years of presence [in Afghanistan].”

The possibility of a re-emergence of Daesh and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is considered worrying by many analysts, and some have called on the Islamic Emirate to prevent these groups from operating in the country.

“Al-Qaeda and Daesh were created by the United States, and now that the Taliban (Islamic Emirate) have taken over Afghanistan, they are responsible for protecting Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, the war in Afghanistan was an intelligence war, and now the United States is worried and measures must be taken,” said Aziz Meraj, a political analyst.

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Three national snooker team players off to good start in world champs

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2021)

Afghanistan’s National Snooker Team has gotten off to a good start in this year’s Six-Red World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

National team member Raees Khan Sindzai won his first match against his opponent from Ukraine ending with a score of 5-4.

Sindzai also defeated his Iraqi rival 5-4 in his second match and his next game will be against Bahrain.

Saleh Mohammad Mohammadi, another Afghan team member, beat his Egyptian rival 5-0 but lost his second match to his Belgian opponent, 4-5.

His third game will be against Palestine.

The Six-Red World Championships comes just days after the three team members took part in the Asian Snooker Championships, which were also held in Doha.

The tournaments are part of three major billiards and snooker events – including the GCC Billiards and Snooker tournament – organised by the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation.

It is the first time a country hosts these three major championships in succession, separated by only a few days.

The competitions started with the Asian championship from September 12 to 16, then the Six-Red World Championship from September 17 to 21. This championship will be followed by the GCC Billiards and Snooker Championship from September 22 to 28.

President of the International Snooker Federation and Executive Director of the Qatar Federation, Mubarak Al Khayarin, described Qatar’s hosting of the World and Asian Championships as a great challenge, especially after stopping nearly two years of activity due to the repercussions of the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Qatar’s The Peninsula reported.

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Three brothers killed in Paktia in dispute over land

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2021)

Three members of one family were killed and one more wounded in a clash in eastern Paktia province, local officials said Sunday.

According to Islamic Emirate officials, the clash happened between two families in Shakar Khel village in Gardez city, the provincial capital, on Saturday evening.

The incident happened after an argument broke out over a land dispute between the two sides, the officials said.

The officials stated that all the victims were brothers.

Mawlawi Hemat, police chief of Gardez PD1, stated that three members of one family have been arrested in connection with the incident.

He said Islamic Emirate forces are investigating and hope to arrest the other culprits.

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Kabul municipality drawing up service plans, order removal of T-walls

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2021)

The acting head of Kabul municipality on Sunday ordered the removal of the city’s blast walls and said plans are being drawn up to address urban challenges and to provide effective services.

Addressing a press conference in Kabul, Mawlawi Hamdullah Nomani said the removal of barriers and concrete walls is a part of the plan going forward

Mawlawi Nomani said that the construction of high rise buildings and usurpation of land are challenges that will be addressed in future.

“Investigations about buildings and land grabbing, which were [prone to] corruption will be addressed. We will not allow this, people cannot misuse this. We will investigate this when all institutions resume work,” said Mawlawi Nomani.

According to him, the Islamic Emirate will urge donors to complete projects that have stopped in the past month.

“We are in contact with donors of 100 projects that have now stopped. We have not received a positive or negative answer about the fate of the projects,” he said.

Mawlawi Nomani also said that the removal of barriers and concrete blast walls will be completed soon.

“We will remove barriers that spoil the city, most of these were placed by security institutions. We are telling people who erected barriers to remove them, otherwise we will remove them and the people will have to pay municipality expenses,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of concrete walls, known in Kabul as T-walls, have for years spoilt the look of the city.

Almost everywhere you look in the Afghan capital, you see these tall, thick walls, which range in height from three to seven metres, that surround homes, businesses, schools, embassies and government compounds.

Over the years demand was high and as more walls went up, traffic problems increased as roads were all too often blocked when new walls went up.

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