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Pakistan says needs Afghan cooperation for probe into envoy’s daughter’s kidnapping

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(Last Updated On: July 20, 2021)

Pakistan said on Monday it was waiting for information from the Afghan government in an investigation into the brief kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad after Afghanistan raised questions over the credibility of the probe.

Silsila Alikhil, 26, the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, told Pakistani police she was assaulted and held for several hours by unknown assailants on Friday, following which Kabul pulled out its diplomats from Islamabad.

“The investigation is ongoing and we are waiting for them to come and give their point of view; to say anything now would be premature,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a news conference on Monday in Islamabad.

Qureshi said Afghanistan should not have pulled out its ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan.

Earlier on Monday, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar complained to Qureshi about the remarks of a senior Pakistani minister, according to a statement from Afghanistan’s ministry of foreign affairs.

“Atmar said unprofessional remarks and premature judgments could strongly affect bilateral relations and the credibility of the ongoing, and still incomplete, investigation,” it said.

On Sunday night, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, to whom the Islamabad police reports, told Pakistani television channel Geo News that the probe so far had not shown that Alikhil was kidnapped.

“I want to tell the entire nation, this is an international racket, an international conspiracy,” he had said.

The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences state hospital where Alikhil was treated had confirmed she had swelling and rope marks on the wrists and ankles as well as swelling in the brain’s rear occipital region.

Islamabad’s top police official, Inspector General Qazi Jamil-ur-Rehman, told reporters on Monday that more than 350 people were working on the case, and more than 700 hours of footage from more than 300 CCTV cameras had been examined.

Rehman said police had traced and questioned four men who drove taxis Alikhil took that day, but so far we’re not able to pinpoint when the kidnapping took place.

The incident has further eroded already frosty relations between the two neighbors at a time when Taliban insurgents have taken over territory in Afghanistan as U.S. troops withdraw.

Even the Taliban, whom Kabul alleges is supported by Pakistan – which Islamabad denies – expressed concern at the incident.

“We urge the government of Pakistan to step up its efforts to arrest and punish the perpetrators so that such acts do not give rise to hate between the two nations and the spoilers don’t have ground to misuse it,” a Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, wrote on Twitter.

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ANDSF to launch offensives in north to retake fallen districts

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(Last Updated On: July 27, 2021)

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are expected to start offensives in Balkh province and across the country to retake fallen districts and areas, said Bismillah Mohammadi, acting minister of defense on Tuesday during a trip to Balkh.

According to Mohammadi, if the Taliban think they can win militarily, they are wrong.

“Hopefully we will witness our offensives across Afghanistan and we will recapture areas one after another,” said Mohammadi.

He also praised ANDSF for their achievements in Balkh, Samangan and Herat provinces.

“It is our obligation to defend the country until our last breath. We assure people that yesterday Kaldar was recaptured and earlier one district in Herat was recaptured,” said Mohammadi.

The acting minister of defense said that people, especially youths, stand by the ANDSF to defend the country.

“When I assessed the situation in Mazar, I saw that most people who stand by ANDSF were youths. Not only in the north but in all Afghanistan, uprising forces were established to defend people,” added Mohammadi.

During his visit to Balkh, Mohammadi also met Afghan army soldiers.

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Well known Afghan comedian gunned down in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: July 27, 2021)

A well-known local comedian, Nazar Mohammad, who was known as Khasha Jawan, was gunned down on Tuesday, allegedly by the Taliban, in Kandahar, sparking widespread condemnation.

According to sources, Khasha Jawan was assaulted by the militants before being killed.

He was allegedly then dragged out of his house, with his hands tied behind his back and his body dumped in the Dand district of Kandahar.

A video doing its rounds on social media shows the militants assaulting Khasha Jawan before killing him.

Vice President Amrullah Saleh wrote on his Facebook page that Khasha Jawan was executed by the Taliban in a “kangaroo court.”

“Footage of the moments before the execution of Khasha Jawan Kandahari in a kangaroo court shows that the Taliban does not abide by Sharia; they have no court, no law, and no humanity,” Saleh said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture and Information stated that Khasha Jawan sent out strong messages through “art and allegory” to the people.

Waheed Omer, Director General at the Office of Public and Strategic Affairs of the Afghan government, stated: “Footage of Taliban killing a bound local comedian in Kandahar is a drop [in the ocean compared to] the massacre campaign that the Taliban has waged across Afghanistan.”

“Please don’t look the other way. Raise your voice on whatever stage that you have access to. These savages are after rooting our people out,” Omer tweeted.

The Taliban, however, stated that Nazar Mohammad was a member of the Afghan security forces.

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Taliban negotiating team member’s son killed in clashes in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 27, 2021)

Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, confirmed Tuesday that the son of Mohammad Nabi Omari, a member of the Taliban leadership and negotiating team, was killed in a battle with government forces.

In a tweet, Haqqani confirmed the killing of Omari. But he did not give any further details.

The Afghan government also confirmed that Abdul Haq Omari, who was the deputy chief of the Taliban military wing in Paktia province, was killed in a clash with Special Forces.

Meanwhile, Shaheen 209th Military Corps claims that a Pakistani army officer Javed was killed by NDS forces.

According to the Corps, he was a serving Pakistani army officer and was leading the Taliban in Logar, Paktia, and Paktika provinces and was killed on Tuesday morning in an operation by NDS 01 unit.

The Corps also said that a commander of tactical training and head of the Taliban Red Unit in Faryab province, along with seven of his fighters was killed.

“Qari Hayatullah, known as Osama, the head of the Taliban’s red unit and commander of the Taliban’s tactical and terrorist training for Faryab province, was killed Monday afternoon in a joint operation by defense and security forces in the village of Deh Azizan in the Sabz area of Pashtun Kot district,” read the statement.

During the operation nine other members of the group were wounded, the Corps added.

The Taliban has not commented yet.

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