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General Miller hands over command of Afghanistan to CENTCOM chief

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(Last Updated On: July 12, 2021)

US Forces commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller officially handed over command of US and NATO troops in the country to the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Marine General Frank McKenzie, at a ceremony in Kabul on Monday.

Addressing the ceremony, Miller stated that the US will continue to support the government and the Afghan Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) after the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.

“It is important that the military sides set the conditions for peaceful and political settlement in Afghanistan. We can all see the violence is taking place across the country but we know with that violence that would be very difficult to achieve is a political settlement,” Miller said.

“What I tell the Taliban is they are responsible too. The violence that is going on is against the will of the Afghan people of Afghanistan and it needs to stop,” he added.

McKenzie, who officially took authority of US forces in Afghanistan, stated that the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan does not mean a cutting of ties, indeed, it is the beginning of a new chapter in the two country’s relations.

“We retain a protective posture that enable us to do the following things; first of all maintaining an ongoing diplomatic presence; second, support the Afghan security forces, people and government; and finally, prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for the terrorism that threatens the US homeland and the homelands of our friends and neighbors,” McKenzie said.

Meanwhile, NSA Hamdullah Mohib said that the government is trying to fill the security vacuum that has been created as a result of the withdrawal of international forces from the country.

“The vacuum was created as a result of the retrograde but we are trying to fill that gap; the strength of ANDSF is able to deal with some of the issues immediately; we have been working on how do we cover those gaps that exists,” Mohib said.

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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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