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Iran has Contacts not Links With Taliban: Envoy

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(Last Updated On: May 19, 2018)

Amid reports of Tehran’s involvement in deteriorating security in western Farah province of Afghanistan, the Iran ambassador in Kabul says his country has no links with the Taliban but have contacts to bring the group to the negotiation table.

Speaking in a special interview with Ariana News on Saturday, the Iranian envoy Mohammad Reza Bahrami said that Iran’s contacts with the Taliban aim to help and support the Afghanistan peace and reconciliation process.

“We have contacts not relations [with the Taliban],” Bahrami said. “It is in our interest to be a contributor in talks between the government of Afghanistan and opposition groups.”

Bahrami, meanwhile, said that his country has not been involved behind the Taliban’s recent attacks in the provincial capital of western Farah province  – bordering  with  Iran-  that left scores killed and injured.  He said any kind of debates in this regard will concern and harm public opinion.

“Personally I don’t accept the concept. This impression is not real and will create concerns to public. This impression and mentality is not documented,” he said.

Referring to Iran’s role in recruiting Afghan nationals to fight in Syria as part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Iranian envoy said that the Afghans are voluntarily taking part in Syrian war in a bid to defend the holy places in the country.

 “We have not encouraged or guided them, it has been based on their will. We are in Syria based on the request of Syrian government,” Bahrami said. “We have had advisory role there and we are doing this with the agreement of Syrian government.”

The official, meanwhile expressed hope that the Afghan security forces earn that capability to defend their country without the support of international forces.

By Shakib Mahmud & Diana Samadi

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Seven wounded in two separate IED explosions in Kabul city

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2020)

Kabul police confirm that seven people have been wounded in two separate early morning explosions in the Afghan capital on Saturday morning.

Three people were wounded in a magnetic IED explosion in Omid Sabz Township, PD6, police said. The device had been attached to a vehicle before being detonated.

Four others were wounded in a separate IED explosion, targeting a Landcruiser, in PD11 of Kabul.
No group has claimed responsibility for the explosions so far.
This comes amid a dramatic increase in IED explosions in Kabul – specifically magnetic IED that are attached to vehicles.

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Tehran blames Israel for the killing of Iranian scientist

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2020)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in a tweet blamed Israel for the killing of a senior Iranian nuclear scientist.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near Tehran on Friday, Reuters reported.

“This cowardice – with serious indications of Israeli role – shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. “Iran calls on int’l community – and especially EU – to end their shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.”

The military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to strike back against the Fakhrizadeh’s killers, who died of gunshot wounds in hospital after armed assassins opened fire on his car, state media reported.

Israel did not comment on reports of the attack.

According to a Reuters report Fakhrizadeh has long been described by Western countries as a leader of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003, which Israel and the United States accuse Tehran of trying to restore in secret. Iran has long denied seeking to weaponise nuclear energy.

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America’s security is not hinged on the number of troops on the ground: Pompeo

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2020)

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said earlier this week that the threat from terrorist attacks around the world does not emanate from Afghanistan alone.

Speaking to Fox News, Pompeo said: “The threat from terrorism around the world – from Islamic extremism, Islamic terrorism – is real. It doesn’t just emanate from Afghanistan.”

Asked about the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan he said Washington would get all its soldiers home when the time is right.

He said in the interview that people should not “fall in the trap of thinking about America’s security related to the number of soldiers on the ground in any one place. We have the force posture right today.

“We’re going to keep it right. We’ll get our troops home when we can, and we’ll do the things we need to do.

“If Qasem Soleimani is a problem, we’ll go crush them. If Hamza bin Ladin presents a risk, we’ll take him out,” Pompeo said.

He also stated the outgoing-President Donald Trump has been very clear about the US protecting and securing America but added “we’re not going to have our young men and women in harm’s way when it doesn’t deliver real security benefits for the United States and for our allies.”

Pompeo also said Trump will still make the decision on whether to withdraw all troops – despite having said the numbers will reduce by next month from around 4,000 to 2,500.

He said the agreement the US signed with the Taliban in February talked about getting down to zero by May based on a set of conditions on the ground.

“That was what we’d agreed to. We have made some progress. We’ve had significant prisoner releases. We have violence levels that have reduced risks to Americans significantly over this time period since February of last year.” Pompeo stated.

He pointed out however that Afghanistan’s violence levels are still higher than they need to be.

“I was with the Afghan Government negotiators and with the Taliban negotiators just this past weekend in Dota, Qatar.

“I talked to each of them about the need to continue to conduct the negotiations which will lead to a unified, independent Afghanistan that protects all the gains that have been made over these past years, and the fact that they need to take violence levels down even further, and that the Taliban need to honor the commitment they made to make sure that there’s not a terror attack that takes place from Afghan soil.

“Those are the parts of the negotiation that continue. There is still work to do, but we’re headed in the right direction.

“We are safer here in the United States today as a result of the things the Trump administration has done not only in Afghanistan but throughout that region,” he said.

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