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Taliban looted, torched Afghan homes after evicting residents: Watchdog

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(Last Updated On: July 8, 2021)

Taliban fighters in northern Afghanistan last month evicted families and looted and torched their homes in apparent retaliation for cooperating with the Kabul government, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Reuters reported the “retaliatory attacks” were committed by insurgents participating in a Taliban offensive that has overrun scores of districts around Afghanistan, including an estimated 150 districts in Kunduz and other northern provinces, the group said.

“The Taliban leadership has the power to stop these abuses by their forces, but haven’t shown that they are willing to do so,” Patricia Grossman, the organization’s associate Asia director said in a statement.

A Taliban spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, the Taliban published on Twitter an order to “military officials” to safeguard public property and “behave well with the general public.”

The Taliban launched their offensive, with a focus on the north, as U.S.-led foreign forces withdrew after two decades of war. U.S. troops abandoned their main base, Bagram Airfield, earlier this week.

Human Rights Watch said it conducted telephone interviews early this month with displaced residents of Bagh-e Sherkat, a town in Kunduz province from which some 600 families fled, some to Taloquan and others to Faizabad.

Displaced residents were quoted as saying that from June 21 to 25, Taliban fighters gave them two hours to leave their homes and threatened those who the insurgents accused of providing support to the Afghan government, Reuters reported.

Taliban fighters then looted and burned abandoned homes, and shot dead two civilians, displaced residents said.

“We helped the government and they left us to the Taliban,” an unidentified 24-year-old woman was quoted as saying. “The Taliban have burned our houses. We are so scared. Both sides force us to help them. We are poor people, we don’t have any choice.”

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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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U.S. grants licenses for more aid flow to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

The United States on Friday further paved the way for aid to flow to Afghanistan despite U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), issuing general licenses amid concerns that Washington’s punitive measures could compound an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it issued two general licenses, one allowing the U.S. government, NGOs and certain international organizations, including the United Nations, to engage in transactions with the IEA or Haqqani Network – both under sanctions – that are necessary to provide humanitarian assistance.

The second license authorizes certain transactions related to the export and re-export of food, medicine and other items.

“Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support their basic human needs,” Andrea Gacki, director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

She added that Washington will continue to work with financial institutions, NGOs and international organizations to ease the flow of agricultural goods, medicine and other resources while upholding sanctions on the IEA, Haqqani Network and others.

The United Nations said that at the start of the year more than 18 million people – about half of Afghanistan’s population – require aid amid the second drought in four years.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week that Afghanistan is on “the verge of a dramatic humanitarian disaster” and has decided to engage the IEA in order to help the country’s people. 

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is committed to allowing humanitarian work in Afghanistan to continue despite Washington listing the IEA as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group.

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of the IEA and bar Americans from dealing with them, including the contribution of funds, goods or services.

The licenses allow NGOs and foreign financial institutions to continue humanitarian assistance such as the delivery of food, shelter, medicine and medical services, including COVID-19 assistance, a Treasury spokesperson said.

“We have not reduced sanctions pressure on Taliban (IEA) leaders or the significant restrictions on their access to the international financial system,” the spokesperson said.

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