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MoI arrest local journalists on propaganda charges



(Last Updated On: August 1, 2021)

The Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Tuesday that security forces have arrested four journalists in southern Kandahar province.

The reporters of Kandahar’s local radio station, Nation Vice [Millat Ghag], were arrested after they visited the Taliban-captured Spin Boldak on Monday for covering news from the area.

Mirwais Stanekzai, a spokesman for the MoI, says that the journalists were propagandizing in favor of the Taliban.

Stanekzai, however, stated that the Afghan government is committed to freedom of expression.

He noted that the Afghan constitution has also set limitations and that anyone who propagandizing “in favor of the enemy and terrorists and against the national interest of Afghanistan” is breaching the law.

According to Stanekzai, the case of the journalists is well documented and the security agencies will conduct further investigations under the law.

Meanwhile, the government claimed that the Taliban militants have started massacres and targeted killings after the takeover of the Spin Boldak district.

Reports indicated that the Taliban have allegedly killed relatives of former Kandahar Police Chief General Abdul Raziq, who was assassinated in 2018.

The Taliban, however, rejected the report and had invited the media outlets in Spin Boldak to document the facts regarding the massacre allegation.

Although the government had barred the journalists from visiting the Spin Boldak, three reporters from Nation Voice [Millat Ghag] radio, Bismillah Watandost, Qudratullah Sultani, and Mohibullah Obaidi, and a cameraman of Xinhua had visited the Taliban controlled area.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has expressed its concerns over the detention of the reporters in Kandahar.

“We are concerned about the detention of four journalists in Kandahar by National Security Directorate since yesterday. These journalists were returning from Spin Boldak district after investigating civilian casualties. We call for their release,” Amnesty International said in a tweet.

In the meantime, the Afghanistan journalist safety committee (AJSC) has also called on the government to provide thorough information about the arrest, emphasizing that any media violation needs to be handled in accordance with the Afghan laws.

“No extra judiciary detention is acceptable,” AJSC said.

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Suicide car bomb in Somali capital kills at least 8: official



(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

A suicide car bomb killed at least eight people in the Somali capital on Saturday near the president’s palace, police said.

Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab said it was behind the attack, which targeted a convoy going into the palace.

Police spokesperson Abdifatah Aden Hassan told reporters at the scene of the blast that casualties could be higher, since some of the dead and wounded had been taken away by their relatives.

Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, the government spokesperson, said among those killed was Hibaq Abukar, an advisor of women and human rights affairs in Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble’s office.

It was not immediately clear if Abukar was in the convoy or if she just happened to be close by when the blast happened.

Al Shabaab wants to overthrow the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islamic law. The group frequently carries out such bombings.

A Reuters witness at the scene of the attack reported seeing seven cars and three rickshaws destroyed by the blast, and the whole junction covered in blood.

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China welcomes Huawei executive home, but silent on freed Canadians



(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



(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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