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Pompeo claims Iran is ‘new home base’ for Al Qaeda

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(Last Updated On: January 13, 2021)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday claimed that Iran has become a new “home base” for Al-Qaeda.

Pompeo said in a statement that the “Islamic Republic of Iran has given a new operational headquarters to al-Qaeda, the terrorist network with more American blood on its hands than any other.

“For al-Qaeda, Iran is the new home base. Tehran gives sanctuary to the terror group’s senior leaders as they plan attacks against America and our allies.

“Indeed, since 2015, Tehran has allowed al-Qaeda figures in the country to freely communicate with other al-Qaeda members and perform many functions that were previously directed from Afghanistan and Pakistan, including authorization for attacks, propaganda, and fundraising,” he said.

Pompeo’s statement comes just a week before he leaves office.

He noted in the statement that in 2016, the US Treasury Department identified and sanctioned three senior al-Qaeda operatives residing in Iran and noted that Iran had knowingly permitted these al-Qaeda members, including several of the 9/11 hijackers, to transit its territory on their way to Afghanistan for training and operational planning.

“The Iran-al-Qaeda axis poses a grave threat to the security of nations and to the American homeland itself, and we are taking action,” he said.

Pompeo also announced of Iran-based al-Qaeda leaders Muhammad Abbatay (also known as Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi), and Sultan Yusuf Hasan al-Arif as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

“Under the same authority, I also announced the designations of Isma’il Fu’ad Rasul Ahmed, Fuad Ahmad Nuri Ali al-Shakhan, and Niamat Hama Rahim Hama Sharif as leaders of the al-Qaeda Kurdish Battalions (AQKB), an al-Qaeda-linked group that operates on the border between Iran and Iraq.

“As a result of these designations, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with these individuals and their property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked.

“In addition, it is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to al-Qaeda,” he said.

Pompeo also announced a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the location or identification of Abd-al-Rahman al-Maghrebi, an Iran-based key leader of the al-Qaeda group.

“The Department is also re-advertising previously announced reward offers on three additional senior al-Qaeda leaders, including two operating in Iran: Sayf al-Adel and Yasin al-Suri,” he said.

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif responds to Pompeo’s allegation of Al-Qaeda’s presence said that :“From designating Cuba to fictitious Iran ‘declassifications’ and Al-Qaeda claims, Mr ‘we lie, cheat, steal’ (Pompeo) is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies. No one is fooled.”

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Muttaqi says non-recognition of IEA govt is benefitting Daesh

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Turkey can play “an active role in investing, realizing some projects, renovating and restoring Afghanistan,” with the resources it possesses, according to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s new acting foreign minister.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency during his visit to the country this week, Amir Khan Muttaqi said the official recognition of his government and international aid held great importance to the recovery of the country’s economy.

While in Turkey, Muttaqi met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed issues related to the official recognition of the IEA and the unfreezing by the US of Afghanistan’s assets.

Muttaqi said the freezing of reserves by the US after the IEA’s takeover, violated international law and human rights.

He stressed money blocked by the US was sent from other states for the development of Afghanistan.

“The real question is, why was this money blocked? What did the citizens of Afghanistan do?,” he asked.

“On the other hand, the US and other countries say that humanitarian aid should be given to Afghanistan and human rights should be respected. But, they leave the Afghan people with a population of about 40 million without basic necessities.”

However, he told Anadolu Agency that not recognizing the new government in Afghanistan benefits Daesh (ISIS-K) but dismissed concerns that the group was a threat to Afghanistan.

“They are carrying out attacks on mosques and streets. You will agree that it is not an easy task to ensure the safety of all mosques and streets. They do not own any place in Afghanistan,” he said adding that “the fact that the new state in Afghanistan is not officially recognized is beneficial to Daesh/ISIS.

“The countries of the world, on the one hand, say control the Afghan people so they do not emigrate. On the other hand, they do not officially recognize the government and give morale to Daesh/ISIS. This is in the interest of neither Afghanistan nor the world,” he said.

Turkey and the new administration in Afghanistan held their first high-level contact after the IEA took power on August 15.

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Merkel hopes Germany continues to work with Turkey

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

In a farewell visit to Turkey, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will continue to maintain a working relationship with Turkey, and stressed the need for continued cooperation on migration and other issues.

“The relationship between Turkey and Germany, with its positive and negative sides, will go on,” Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the steps of Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace.

“Everybody knows the security and independence of both our countries depends on each other.”

“We want to prevent human trafficking. It is essential … for the EU to support Turkey in this regard,” she said.

Merkel stressed that Turkey and Germany always have common interests, and added that this would be how the next federal government will see it.

Erdogan said Turkey would “always remember the good faith and the contribution” Merkel made towards maintaining ties with Turkey.

“From prevention of irregular migration from Syria, to dispatching humanitarian aid to northern Syria, on many topics Merkel did not abstain from taking the initiative and taking responsibility,” Erdogan said.

Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years, and Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 19 years, are perhaps the most seasoned political leaders in the region. At times, Merkel has pushed for maintaining ties with Turkey despite pressure at home over contentious issues such as migration and human rights.

Merkel is preparing to leave active politics later this year, but she will remain in her post until a new coalition government is formed.

Her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) narrowly lost the general elections late last month.

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Afghan delegation returns to Kabul after successful visit to Uzbekistan

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

The Afghan delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Mawlavi Abdul Hanafi wrapped up a one-day visit to Uzbekistan on Friday after discussing a number of key issues including trade relations.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that talks with Uzbek officials centered around trade expansion, transit facilitation, cooperation in the health sector, the 500 KW electricity lines between Sarkhan and Puli-Khumri, and a railway line through Kabul from Mazar-e-Sharif to Peshawar in Pakistan.

Mujahid said delegates discussed expanding the trade of basic essentials and fuel to Afghanistan in the coming winter.

Meanwhile the Uzbekistan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that both sides discussed border security, strengthening trade relations, cooperation in the health sector, energy, and transit.

Mujahid stated that Uzbekistan and Afghanistan also established joint working groups to discuss the related topics in-depth and to come up with a viable plan that can be presented to leaders of both countries within two weeks in order to take the projects forward.

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