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Tehran blames Israel for the killing of Iranian scientist

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2020)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in a tweet blamed Israel for the killing of a senior Iranian nuclear scientist.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near Tehran on Friday, Reuters reported.

“This cowardice – with serious indications of Israeli role – shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. “Iran calls on int’l community – and especially EU – to end their shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.”

The military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to strike back against the Fakhrizadeh’s killers, who died of gunshot wounds in hospital after armed assassins opened fire on his car, state media reported.

Israel did not comment on reports of the attack.

According to a Reuters report Fakhrizadeh has long been described by Western countries as a leader of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003, which Israel and the United States accuse Tehran of trying to restore in secret. Iran has long denied seeking to weaponise nuclear energy.

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Three people killed in separate incidents in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2021)

At least two people were killed in a targeted “Taliban” attack on an army vehicle in PD6 Kote Sangi area of Kabul city on Thursday night, the Ministry of Interior said.

Meanwhile, in another incident, also in PD6, a civilian was killed and two others were injured when a magnetic IED exploded against a private Toyota Corolla car in the Daralaman area of Kabul.

Police confirmed the blast but did not provide details about the identity of the victims.

The two incidents, within an hour of each other, sparked a strong outcry among social media users who blasted security agencies for the lack of security.

Facebook users asked how can two people be assassinated in a crowded area but police could not chase the perpetrators.

This comes after the European Human Rights Ambassadors issued a joint statement and condemned civilian casualties in Afghanistan. They said that a significant number of casualties is caused by the Taliban and various terrorist organizations.

“The targeted killing of human rights defenders, judges, journalists, media workers & civil society actors is unacceptable.”They called for accountability and the need for an investigation into all attacks and added that all perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Following the rise of targeted killings in Kabul first vice president Amrullah Saleh said those criminals who are arrested and found guilty must be executed.

Reacting to Saleh’s remarks about the execution of prisoners, the Taliban reacted to recent remarks by Saleh, about the execution of prisoners the Taliban warned that if members of the group are executed by the Afghan government, they will retaliate.

A Taliban spokesman said all of the group’s prisoners , who have been sentenced to death by the Afghan government courts, had been among the 5,000 prisoners already released and that any mistreatment of other prisoners in the group would seriously damage the peace process.

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Historic summit of world’s Islamic scholars planned to resolve Afghanistan crisis

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2021)

The leader of the Muslim World League, Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa told Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar on Thursday that a conference will be arranged to bring together key figures from the Islamic world in order to find a fundamental solution to the Afghan crisis from a religious perspective.

On a three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia, Atmar and Sheikh Al-Issa discussed ways to end the bloodshed and secure peace in the country, as well as the fight against extremism and terrorism.

According to a statement issued by the Afghan Foreign Ministry, Atmar spoke about the dimensions of the war in Afghanistan, and outlined the activities and agendas of trans-national and trans-regional extremist and terrorist groups in the country and in the region.

He also highlighted the horrific crimes committed in Afghanistan that not only contradict Islamic values and teachings, but are incompatible with any religion.

He said extremists from various countries and organizations have turned Afghanistan into a war zone to pursue certain goals, and that rescuing Afghanistan from the current war actually means saving the Islamic world and human society from the growing threat of violent extremism and global terrorism.

“Through the peace process, we want the Taliban to separate from other foreign extremist groups in the region and return to a peaceful and political life in their country,” he said.

In line with this, he called for the cooperation of the Islamic world, the statement read.

Sheikh Al-Issa in turn said that crime and terrorism have no place in Islam and that criminal and terrorist acts should not be attributed to Islam.

“We consider it our responsibility to help end the war and ensure peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

Sheikh Al-Issa promised that in the near future, in accordance with his previous commitment, the Muslim World League will bring together influential thinkers, scholars and muftis of the Islamic world in a historic conference and seek a fundamental solution to the Afghan crisis from a religious perspective.

He also said the outcome of the conference should be decisive and non-negotiable. He added that a solution will be found to follow up on the results and implement the decisions of the conference, and to this end, the Taliban will be invited to attend.

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SIGAR urges tighter VIP control to stop cash smuggling through airport

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2021)

Despite efforts by the Afghan government to reduce the flow of cash out of the country’s busiest international airport, significant control weaknesses continue to exist at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported Thursday.

Cash counting machines, which were funded by the US government, are not being used for the purposes intended and the only cash counting machine confirmed to be working is in the arrival entrance, instead of the departure area where strict cash controls are most needed to help prevent cash smuggling, SIGAR reported.

In addition, the machines lack connectivity to the Internet, which in turn prevents Afghan investigative authorities from tracking currency suspected of being laundered.

“The absence of fully functional and strategically positioned cash counting machines, and declaration forms in the VIP section along with the limited screening of VIP passengers – who are most likely to have large amounts of cash – severely limits the Afghan government’s ability to fully implement its anti-money laundering laws at the airport,” John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction stated in the report.

To improve screening procedures at Hamid Karzai International Airport, SIGAR suggested the Afghan government take the following two actions:

1. Fully integrate cash counting machines with functioning Internet capability into the normal customs process both at the non-VIP and VIP terminals to better ensure that all declared and detected currency is counted, and serial numbers captured, for use by FinTRACA and its international partners.
2. Strengthen controls at the VIP terminal by requiring all VIP and VVIP passengers to fill out customs declaration forms, and have airport staff count any cash declared and send serial numbers to FinTRACA.

Sopko stated: “We provided a draft copy of this report to the [US] Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) for comments on December 21, 2020, and the Afghan government for comments on December 22, 2020.

“DHS provided technical comments for incorporation in the report on January 8, 2021, which we
incorporated as appropriate. The Department of State informed SIGAR on January 8, 2021 that it does not have any technical comments.

“As of the publication of this report, the Afghan government did not provide any comment on the report nor on the matters for its consideration,” Sopko stated.

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