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US investigating possible plot of killing peace negotiator Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2020)

US officials have confirmed to The Daily Beast that the US is “taking seriously a shocking claim from its enemy in Afghanistan that the Taliban foiled an ISIS plot to assassinate a Zalmay Khalilzad.

The Daily Beast reports, “Officials said they’re investigating an assertion, made in a recent Taliban video, that the local branch of the so-called Islamic State recruited two men to murder Zalmay Khalilzad, the State Department’s envoy in charge of negotiating peace with the Taliban.”

A State Department spokesperson has confirmed to the Daily Beast that the US officials are investigating the video, noting, “The US Government takes any potential threat against US personnel seriously.”

According to the report, the Afghan government authorities are also investigating the claim.

The report writes, “The video, a purported confession from two blindfolded young men in Taliban custody, claims that elements within the US-backed Afghan government’s National Directorate of Security facilitated the failed plot against Khalilzad.”

According to the Daily Beast, the NDS is known to oppose the Khalilzad-negotiated peace deal with the Taliban; therefore, the group has an incentive to drive a deeper wedge between Washington and Kabul.

A former head of the NDS has publicly denied any complicity, calling it a “fake.”

A former senior US diplomat has said “Khalilzad is much more popular with the Taliban than with the Afghan government.”

The diplomat has added that Khalilzad is getting close (to achieve peace) and people whose interests are threatened by it are concerned.

According to the report, the video, made by the Taliban intelligence operation, was released on Taliban social media accounts on June 12.

“The level of detail in the video, and accounts provided to The Daily Beast by Taliban officials as well as Western diplomats and Afghan government officials, suggest just how dense and menacing that fog has become,” the report writes.

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Five wounded in Kabul explosion

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

At least five people including Islamic Emirate (IE) forces were wounded on Monday morning when a roadside mine detonated in PD7 along Darulaman Road.

The explosion took place at about 9.45am local time close to Habibia High School and the target appeared to have been a Hilux vehicle.

According to eyewitnesses, the explosion had been from a roadside mine and caused casualties.

Some eyewitnesses said the Hilux vehicle was being driven by IE forces at the time of the explosion.

An Ariana News reporter in the area said according to eyewitnesses at least five people were wounded in the explosion including IE forces.

Immediately after the explosion, IE forces cordoned off the area, and ambulances were seen arriving at the scene.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the explosion but ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan (ISIS-K), known locally as Daesh, have been responsible for a number of explosions in Kabul in recent months.

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Export of Afghanistan’s talc resumes: Industrial Association

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

Afghanistan Industrial Association said Monday that Kabul recently exported 500 tons of talc powder to a number of countries including China, Spain and the UK.

Abdul Jabbar Safi, the head of the association, said: “Afghanistan has recently exported talc to Pakistan, Turkey, India, China, Spain, and the UK. Exports have resumed and we want to expand our exports.”

The association meanwhile also called for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to focus on the mining sector and provide facilities for the extraction of minerals in order to boost investment.

They also called on government to establish new policies around mining, also to boost investment in the sector.

Safi meanwhile said that since the mid-August takeover by the IEA, “illegal extractions of mines, as well as smuggling, have been prevented.”

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Lush cosmetics shuts down its social media accounts globally

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

UK cosmetics company Lush shut down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts globally on Friday, citing its concern about the harms of social media in the wake of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations.

CEO Mark Constantine told the Guardian he was happy to lose $13 million that the company expects to lose by shutting their accounts.

“In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now,” the company said in a press release.

Lush’s announcement came just ahead of one of the biggest days of shopping all year, and the brand fully expected that losing its pipelines to millions of customers could harm its business.

Lush’s Facebook and Instagram accounts had a combined 10.6 million followers, according to The Guardian.

“We’ve tightened up over the Covid period, it won’t destroy us,” Constantine told The Guardian, adding that Lush had “no choice” given Meta’s own research about Instagram’s adverse impact on teenage girls’ mental health.

“We’re talking about suicide here, not spots or whether someone should dye their hair blonde,” Constantine continued, telling The Guardian: “How could we possibly suggest we’re a caring business if we look at that and don’t care?”

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