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NDS chief claims Taliban has reneged on its accord with US

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(Last Updated On: January 4, 2021)

Ahmad Zia Saraj, head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), told a Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) session on Monday that the Taliban has not cut its ties with “foreign terrorists” nor has the group reduced levels of violence as per the US-Taliban agreement signed in February last year.

Saraj along with Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi were both summoned to answer questions put to them by MPs on the security situation in the country.

Discussing the Taliban, Saraj said the group has focused on targeted killings, especially against civil society activists and journalists.

According to Saraj, suspects involved in five of the last eight attacks, have been arrested and three attacks on journalists had been foiled.

The NDS chief said RDX was being used in most magnetic IEDs, but that ammonium nitrate and potassium chloride were also being used.

In his answers to the Wolesi Jirga, Andarabi said a new unit of the security forces comprised of Afghan police, Afghan army and the NDS has been established to focus solely on militant activities.

He said a trial of this new unit has been launched in Farah and the unit’s activities will be boosted by summer.

According to Andarabi, a number of Taliban attacks have been thwarted in the south of the country and at least 1,000 Taliban fighters were killed in Helmand and Kandahar in recent months.

Andarabi said that the Taliban is conducting targeted attacks to create attention in the media and affect people’s trust in the government.

Andarabi also warned that the Taliban is preparing for a full-scale campaign for the next fighting season.

This comes after the Taliban on Monday accused the United States of violating its agreement with the group by conducting airstrikes against them.

However, US Forces Afghanistan spokesman Sonny Leggett rejected the claim and said: “US Forces have been clear and consistent. We will defend Afghan forces against (Taliban) attacks. We renew our call for all sides to reduce violence,” he said.

“The Taliban’s campaign of unclaimed attacks and targeted killings of government officials, civil society leaders and journalists must also cease for peace to succeed,” he added.

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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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