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Taliban deny claims that freed prisoners have returned to battlefield

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(Last Updated On: February 8, 2021)

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem on Monday dismissed claims that 85 percent of the Taliban prisoners freed last year have returned to the battlefield. 

“These remarks are not true … Kabul administration always make such remarks,” said Naeem, adding that some of the former inmates have been re-arrested without having committed crimes. 
 
This comes after First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Sunday that 85 percent of the over 5,500 Taliban prisoners freed in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement last year had returned to the battlefield. 
 
Saleh also said that many of them had been rearrested or killed by Afghan forces during clashes. 
 
“The issue is verified not only by the Afghan forces but international partners also verified it. Video and audio clips also reveal that they started their activities again,” said Zabiullah Adel, an official in Saleh’s office.
 
Meanwhile, sources at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) also said that many of the freed prisoners had returned to the battlefield. 
 
“It is clear that Taliban (fighters) returned to the battlefield again; their numbers need to be investigated. It is clear that they want war in Afghanistan,” said Sarwar Naizai, a political analyst.
 
“The end of war is not like this, one day one person is released and the next day he is arrested again. This issue forces other Taliban to join the battlefield again,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member.
 
In February last year the US signed a deal with the Taliban on the withdrawal of troops. The Afghan government was not party to the agreement but was required to release over 5,500 Taliban prisoners in exchange for a reduction in violence on the Taliban’s part and the start of peace talks. 
 
Government released the prisoners, however there has been no reduction in violence and the peace talks in Doha have all but stalled after the Taliban failed to return to the talks tables after a three week break over December. 

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Senior IEA official voices concern over Daesh amid ongoing economic crisis

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) designated representative to UN, Suhail Shaheen, has warned the international community that the Afghanistan affiliate of ISIS (ISIS-K) could flourish if the West continues to impose economic sanctions against Afghanistan.

In an interview with Euro News, Shaheen stated that continued economic sanctions have plunged the people of Afghanistan into poverty and that this could pave the way for ISIS-K (also known as Daesh) to recruit fighters.

“The sanctions which have led to poverty in the country, are aggravating the current situation; the humanitarian crisis is providing a recruiting ground for ISIS to benefit from,” Shaheen said.

He added: “I don’t know why they (international community) are helping ISIS by continuing the sanctions and freezing our money which is the wealth of the people of Afghanistan.”

The United States has frozen over $9 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves following the collapse of the former government in mid-August.

Since then, the US and its allies have also imposed strict economic sanctions on Afghanistan, which has exacerbated an already struggling, aid-dependent economy.

Meanwhile, an IEA delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.

Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West.

IEA officials said that the Afghan and US delegations would discuss the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, humanitarian aid, education, and the reopening of embassies in Kabul among other issues.

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

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IEA delegation meet with Qatari officials in Doha

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials said on Friday night that the Afghan delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.
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Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West

Officials in Doha, who are accompanying Muttaqi, include representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Security, and Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank).

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry, confirmed the delegation’s meetings and said: “Detailed discussions were held about political, humanitarian, economic and education issues.”

According to Balkhi the Qatari officials pledged to continue to provide aid for Afghans.

“Qatari officials stated they will continue to stand by Afghans and will continue providing aid during the upcoming period,” added Balkhi

According to Balkhi, “IEA delegation thanked Qatar for their assistance and for playing a positive role during the previous negotiations.”

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