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Pakistan military rescues five telecom workers kidnapped near Afghan border

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(Last Updated On: July 16, 2021)

Pakistan’s military rescued five telecommunications workers kidnapped by Islamist militants last month close to the Afghan border in a series of operations in which two soldiers were killed, the military said on Friday.

Northwest Pakistan’s border regions have become relatively peaceful after years of violence but Pakistani Taliban militants have been more active recently amid concern that surging violence in Afghanistan will spill over the frontier.

No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of 16 men installing a mobile telephone tower in the Kurram ethnic Pashtun tribal district on June 26.

Ten of the workers were later released but one man was beheaded and the militants demanded a ransom for the last five.

“To rescue the remaining 5 abducted labourers, security forces launched series of intelligence based operations in highly inhospitable terrain under extreme weather conditions,” the military said in a statement.

The rescue was on Thursday. The military did not say which militants group it believed was behind the kidnapping but said civilians in the area fully supported “the security forces in fighting the menace of terrorism”.

Communities along the border have recently been holding rallies to call on the government to protect them from Pakistani Taliban militants who over the past year have formed an alliance with other outlawed groups.

The militants have launched a series of attacks on the Pakistani security forces, government officials and suspected collaborators, as well as kidnapping and extorting money, government officials say.

Three soldiers were killed when militants attacked a checkpost near the border on July 5. The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility.

Pakistan has said the Pakistani militants could take advantage of growing instability in Afghanistan and operate along the border more freely as the Afghan Taliban take ground from government forces.

Afghanistan has for years accused the Pakistani military of providing covert support for the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan denies that.

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Daesh claims responsibility for mosque attack in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

Islamic State (Daesh) claimed responsibility for a suicide bomber attack at a Shi’ite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar which left dozens killed and injured, a statement posted by the group’s Amaq news agency said on Friday.

The statement added that two Daesh fighters shot the guards of the mosque dead, broke in and blew themselves up between two groups of worshippers, one of which consisted of around 300 people.

It was the second week in a row that Daesh militants bombed Friday prayers and killed dozens of worshippers.

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Muttaqi calls on international community to recognize IEA government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Foreign acting Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi accused the international community on Friday (October 15) of “violating the rights of Afghan people” by not recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

Speaking to Reuters on the second day of a two-day visit to Turkey’s capital of Ankara, Muttaqi said he discussed the recognition of the IEA’s government with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well.

“The fact that all of them are recognized and the new Islamic government of Afghanistan is not recognized is an injustice and oppression of the Afghan people… Afghanistan wants positive relations with the world and the world must respond positively to this message,” he said.

Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and IEA forces swept into Kabul, the IEA administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis.

But the IEA has so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he had conveyed Turkey’s recommendations regarding the inclusion of women in the workforce and education of girls.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity.

“We once again explained the importance of including people from all ethnic and religious groups, besides the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan), in the administration. Especially in these difficult times, this is important in terms of establishing unity and solidarity within the country,” Cavusoglu said.

NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Kabul after Western countries withdrew following the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and have urged those countries to increase engagement.

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Blast targets mosque in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

A large explosion ripped through a mosque in the southern Kandahar province on Friday afternoon.

The blast happened at the Shi’ite Fatimiya mosque during Friday prayers, causing heavy casualties.

Sources said at least 34 people were killed and 69 others wounded in the explosion. Afghan officials have not confirmed the casualties so far.

Qari Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, has told Reuters that authorities were collecting details of the explosion.

The blast took place days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by Islamic State on a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed and wounded more than 200 people.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Islamic State has stepped up operations following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

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