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Afghan prison commander jailed for 12 years for war crimes by Dutch court

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(Last Updated On: April 15, 2022)

An Afghan man was convicted by a Dutch court on Thursday of war crimes and torture for abusing political opponents at Kabul’s Pul-e-Charkhi prison in the 1980s and was sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Judges said the man, 76, who had been calling himself Abdul Rafief, was actually Abdul Razaq Arif who served as commander of the prison between 1983 and 1990. They dismissed his testimony that he was the victim of a mistaken identity, Reuters reported.

A lawyer for Arif said he would appeal.

Arif arrived in the Netherlands seeking asylum under the Rafief name in 2001 and since became a Dutch national.

He was being tried under “universal jurisdiction” principles, which say suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity can be prosecuted abroad if they cannot be tried in the country where they were allegedly committed, Reuters reported.

According to prosecutors, Arif was responsible for political prisoners in the jail, who were held in inhumane conditions in the facility. Guards under his command beat, tortured and executed prisoners, they said.

During the trial prosecutors cited witnesses who identified “Rafief” as Arif to investigative judges. One victim told judges he still suffered sleepless nights from the psychological torture he underwent in prison.

In the 1980s, Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed government was fighting a guerrilla war against “Mujahideen” Islamist rebels at the time, following the Soviet invasion in 1979.

The Netherlands has previously tried three high ranking officials of the Afghan military intelligence service for similar crimes in the same period in Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan announces aid for quake-hit Turkey and Syria

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(Last Updated On: February 7, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Tuesday announced AFN 15 million (approx. $166,000 USD) in humanitarian aid for people affected by recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Of the total, AFN 10 million (approx. $111,000) will be for Turkey, and AFN 5 million (approx. $55,000) will be for Syria.

The Foreign Ministry in a statement said that IEA stands in solidarity with its brothers and sisters in this time of hardship.

It added that the aid is on the basis of “shared humanity and Islamic brotherhood.”

The statement also said that IEA emergency response and health teams stand ready to participate in rescue operations to assist the affected people if called upon.

The ministry instructed its diplomatic mission in Turkey to not spare any efforts in assisting the victims, and urged Turkey-based Afghan citizens to help with the relief efforts.

Thousands have been killed in Monday’s earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a three-month state of emergency across 10 provinces worst affected by the earthquakes.

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28 million Afghans are in dire need of humanitarian aid: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: February 7, 2023)

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced that Afghanistan needs immediate humanitarian aid.

UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi on Monday said that Afghanistan is experiencing the worst period over the past two decades.

Abdi said on Twitter that humanitarian needs are felt now more than ever before in Afghanistan, and has warned that disruptions of aid will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn country, already plagued with critical challenges.

“Some 28 million Afghans are in dire need of humanitarian aid, which needs the immediate attention of the international community, partners, and Taliban’s caretaker government,” Abdi said.

During his visit with Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore reiterated that the organization is committed to carrying on its much-needed operations in the areas of education, healthcare, and children’s vaccinations in Afghanistan.

Previously, UNICEF announced that Afghanistan is among the eight most hunger-hit countries in the world.

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Iran’s top security official leaves for Russia to attend Afghanistan meeting

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(Last Updated On: February 7, 2023)

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani has left the country for Russia to attend a summit that will focus on the political, economic and security situation in Afghanistan.

Shamkhani will join top security officials from Central Asian countries, Pakistan, India and China for a meeting planned for Wednesday in the Russian capital Moscow as part of the fifth round of the multilateral talks on Afghanistan.

The previous edition of the conference had been held in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe in May 2022.

Indian capital of New Delhi had hosted the third round of the initiative in 2021 two years after it was launched in Tehran.

Shamkhani is also scheduled to hold meetings with his counterparts from other countries, including Russia’s top security official.

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