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Afghan war crimes suspect says he is a victim of mistaken identity

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(Last Updated On: February 17, 2022)

A 76-year-old Afghan man accused of being the commander of the Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul in the 1980s, where he allegedly abused political opponents, on Wednesday told The Hague court it was a case of mistaken identity.

“I am not the person that you are talking about,” the suspect, who said he did not remember his own name but was identified in court as Abdul Rafief, told judges.

According to the charges summarized by the judges, Rafief is accused of living in the Netherlands under a false name and that he is actually Abdul Razaq Arif who served as commander of the Pul-e-Charki prison between 1983 and 1990, Reuters reported.

Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed government was fighting a guerrilla war against mujahideen at the time, following the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Prosecutors say Rafief was responsible for political prisoners in the jail, who were allegedly held in inhumane conditions in the facility. Guards under his command allegedly beat, tortured and executed prisoners, Reuters reported.

During the hearing Rafief referred all questions from the judges about his identity to his lawyers and said he was ill, dizzy and could not remember anything.

Rafief came to the Netherlands seeking asylum in 2001 and has become a Dutch national. He is 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.

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

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2,000 kg drugs destroyed in Zabul

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(Last Updated On: December 9, 2022)

Local officials in Zabul say 2,000 kilograms of drugs seized recently were torched and destroyed in the southern Afghan province.

The drugs had been seized at a security checkpoint while being transported in Shah Joy district, said Abdul Sattar, head of operations at counter-narcotics department of Zabul.

He said that one person was arrested in connection with the smuggling of the drugs, and was referred for prosecution.

In a major crackdown on illegal practices in the country, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) supreme leader in April issued a decree banning the cultivation of poppies.

The decree stated that in addition to this, usage, transportation, trade, export and import of all types of narcotics are strictly banned.

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Pakistan to import gas from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan: report

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(Last Updated On: December 9, 2022)

The government of Pakistan, facing gas shortage as winter sets in, has worked out a plan to import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) overland from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan Today reported on Thursday.

The customs office in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, after consultations with stakeholders, sent a plan to the Federal Board of Revenue to import LPG across the Chaman border, the paper said, citing sources. The federal government is ready to take the big step of importing LPG from Turkmenistan and will allow entry of tanker trucks, the sources said.

Afghan haulers plan to drive empty Pakistani tanker trucks across the Chaman border to the border with Turkmenistan in Torghuni to fill them with LPG. They will then drive back to Chaman and hand the trucks over to Pakistani haulers, who will deliver the gas to the point of destination in Pakistan, according to the report.

The documents cited by Pakistan Today lay out three plans: immediate, short-term and long-term. Under the first, imports will begin immediately, while the short-term plan will require six to eight months and the long-term plan, which calls for setting up a station to load LPG into Pakistani fuel trucks, will take one year.

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Refugees minister visits Panjshir province

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(Last Updated On: December 9, 2022)

The minister of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) has traveled to Panjshir province and met with Mohammad Mohsen Hashemi, the governor of Panjshir, and other officials of government departments, institutions and influential people of this province.

On the trip to Panjshir province on Thursday and visiting the officials of this province, Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani, minister of refugees, said that the Islamic Emirate has no enmity with any ethnic or linguistic group.

He said that fighting in the past was to free the country from occupation, which has now ended.

At this meeting, Haqqani, while congratulating the victory of the Islamic Emirate and the consolidation of the Islamic system, asked the people and officials of Panjshir to continue living together with the spirit of brotherhood, friendship, intimacy and confidence.

He also emphasized that the enmity, war and struggle were for the consolidation of the Islamic system, providing security, defending the territorial integrity and ending the occupation, and with the consolidation of the Islamic system, there is no reason for enmity among Afghans.

The minister of refugees thanked the donor institutions for their cooperation and asked them for more assistance in the whole country, especially for the residents of Panjshir, and emphasized that the survey and distribution should be done in understanding and coordination with the MoRR and relevant departments.

He also visited Panjshir Immigrant Affairs Department and gave the necessary instructions to prevent corruption and solve the problems of returnees and displaced people.

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