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Task team finds Mi-17 helicopter downed in Wardak by ATGM

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(Last Updated On: May 26, 2021)

The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) delegation, tasked to probe the helicopter crash in Maidan Wardak province in March, said in a report Tuesday that the Mi-17 military chopper had been hit by an anti-tank guided-missile (ATGM).

The delegation shared its findings two months after the Mi-17 was shot down during a military operation in Behsud district in Wardak. Four pilots and five security force members were killed in the incident.

ATGMs range in size from shoulder-launched weapons, which can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod-mounted weapons, which require a squad or team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems.

Government officials meanwhile accused fighters loyal to a public uprising forces’ commander Abdul Ghani Alipour, also known as commander Shamsher (Sword), of shooting down the helicopter.

Alipour has however consistently denied his involvement in the incident and stated in a sound clip: “We have nothing to fire one with from the air. Maybe those who are filming from the air shot it. If it was me, I would from the ground not from the air because we have only got RPG rockets and have no access to missiles.”

The Wolesi Jirga team’s findings meanwhile also indicate that the helicopter was hit by an ATGM capable of hitting targets in a range between 1.5 km to 5 km and that “the helicopter was hit from a distance of 3 km, which means ordinary rockets such as RPG or Type 82 rocket launcher is useless [at hitting] targets from this distance.”

According to the report, the missile is made by Russia and China, while Iran has also manufactured a copied version of the weapon.

The Wolesi Jirga’s findings, however, did not elaborate who was behind the downing of the helicopter but it stated: “When the missile was fired, the area was under the control of men loyal to Alipour.”

Meanwhile, a number of Afghan MPs stated that the findings lack details and accurate information.

“Neither Alipour has the capability of shooting down the helicopter using guided-missiles nor has he access to such kinds of rockets,” MP Ahmad Shah Ramazan said.

MP Shegofa Noorzai stated: “We want more clarity about the downing of the helicopter, the findings need more discussions and in the next sessions the main clues about how the helicopter was hit must be found out.”

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China welcomes Huawei executive home, but silent on freed Canadians

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2021)

Chinese state media welcomed telecoms giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, back to the “motherland” on Saturday, after more than 1,000 days under house arrest in Canada, on what they called unfounded charges of bank fraud.

But they have kept silent about Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians released from Chinese custody in an apparent act of reciprocation by Beijing.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV carried a statement by the Huawei executive, written as her plane flew over the North Pole, avoiding U.S. airspace.

Her eyes were “blurring with tears” as she approached “the embrace of the great motherland”, Meng said. “Without a strong motherland, I wouldn’t have the freedom I have today.”

Meng was arrested in December 2018 in Vancouver after a New York court issued an arrest warrant, saying she tried to cover up attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran in breach of U.S. sanctions.

After more than two years of legal wrangling, she was finally allowed to leave Canada and fly back to China on Friday, after securing a deal with U.S. prosecutors.

Huawei, founded by Meng’s father Ren Zhengfei, said in a statement that it “looked forward to seeing Ms. Meng returning home safely to be reunited with her family.” It said it would continue to defend itself against U.S. charges.

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, detained by Chinese authorities just days after Meng’s arrest, were released a few hours later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.

State news agency Xinhua formally acknowledged the end of Meng’s house arrest on Saturday, attributing her release to the “unremitting efforts of the Chinese government”.

Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the Global Times tabloid backed by the ruling Communist Party, wrote on Twitter that “international relations have fallen into chaos” as a result of Meng’s “painful three years”.

He added, “No arbitrary detention of Chinese people is allowed.”

However, neither Hu nor other media have mentioned the release of Spavor and Kovrig, and reactions on China’s Twitter-like Weibo social media platform have been few and far between.

The foreign ministry has not commented publicly.

China has previously denied engaging in “hostage diplomacy”, insisting that the arrest and detention of the two Canadians was not tied in any way to the extradition proceedings against Meng.

Spavor was accused of supplying photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced to 11 years in jail in August. Kovrig had still been awaiting sentencing.

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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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