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Afghans told to leave Kabul airport over ‘very credible’ Daesh threat

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The United States and allies urged Afghans to move away from Kabul airport on Thursday due to the threat of a terror attack by Islamic State (IS/Daesh) militants.

In an alert issued on Wednesday evening, the U.S. embassy in Kabul advised citizens to avoid travelling to the airport and said those already at the gates should leave immediately, citing unspecified “security threats”.

In a similar advisory, Britain told people in the airport area to move away and its armed forces minister, James Heappey, said intelligence of a possible suicide bomb attack by Daesh had become “much firmer”.

“I can’t stress the desperation of the situation enough. The threat is credible, it is imminent, it is lethal. We wouldn’t be saying this if we weren’t genuinely concerned about offering Islamic State a target that is just unimaginable,” Heappey told BBC radio.

Australia also issued a warning for people to stay away from the airport while Belgium ended its evacuation operations because of the danger of attack.

The Dutch government also issued a warning and said it expected to carry out its last evacuation flight on Thursday, leaving behind some who are eligible to travel to the Netherlands.

The Taliban, whose fighters are guarding the perimeter outside the airport, are enemies of the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K).

“Our guards are also risking their lives at Kabul airport, they face a threat too from the Islamic State group,” said a Taliban official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Al-Qaeda cells operating in multiple Afghan provinces: UN

The report said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains the largest terrorist group in Afghanistan, with an estimated strength of 6,000–6,500 fighters

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Al-Qaeda cells are operating in multiple provinces of Afghanistan, mainly in south-east of the country, UN sanctions monitors said in a new report.

The report by the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team said that despite a reduced profile, Al-Qaeda disseminates propaganda to increase recruitment while working to rebuild its operational capability.

“Several Member States noted that facilities with Al-Qaida associations are mainly for training local fighters along with TTP operatives, with newly reported training base locations and safe houses in various Afghan provinces, including former camps in Jalalabad and in Kandahar Province, and in Kunar, Nuristan and Takhar Provinces,” the report said.

The report said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains the largest terrorist group in Afghanistan, with an estimated strength of 6,000–6,500 fighters

It added that the group continues to operate on a significant scale in Afghanistan and to conduct terrorist operations into Pakistan from there, often utilizing Afghans.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), however, rejects the report.

Hamdullah Fitrat, deputy spokesperson of IEA, emphasizes that no terrorist group is present in Afghanistan, and the Islamic Emirate will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan’s soil against other countries.

According to the UN report, member States credit IEA’s efforts to counter the threat from Daesh but question the IEA’s counter-terrorism capabilities and have concerns about continued Daesh recruitment and dispersal.

 

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More than 350,000 people sign petition asking IEA to respect human rights: Amnesty

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Amnesty International announced on Friday that 354,847 people worldwide have signed a petition asking the authorities of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to respect and guarantee protection of human rights.

“In a powerful show of global solidarity, 354,847 signatures have been collected calling on the Taliban de-facto authorities (IEA) to respect and protect human rights in Afghanistan,” Amnesty International South Asia said on X. “As the catastrophic human rights situation persists, we must continue our joint demand for accountability and justice in Afghanistan.”

International organizations have repeatedly expressed concern about restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan.

However, the Islamic Emirate has said that it is committed to ensuring women’s rights in accordance with the Sharia law, insisting that is an internal issue of Afghanistan.

 

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NRC chief calls for donors’ diplomatic presence in Kabul

Earlier, Hugh Bayley, a commissioner for the official UK aid watchdog, also called for a British diplomatic presence in Kabul to support Afghan women and monitor aid.

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Jan Egeland, head of Norwegian Refugee Council, said on Friday that donor countries should send diplomats back to Kabul and join in the fight for women’s rights, girls’ education and minority protection.

Earlier, Hugh Bayley, a commissioner for the official UK aid watchdog, also called for a British diplomatic presence in Kabul to support Afghan women and monitor aid.

“Yes, the UK and other donors should send diplomats back to Kabul and join us there to fight for women’s rights, girls education and minority protection,” Egeland said on X. “As humanitarian groups we are too alone, underfunded and overstretched among the 40 million civilians NATO left behind in 2021.”

With the takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamic Emirate in August 2021, Western countries pulled their diplomats out of the country.

No state recognises the Islamic Emirate as the Afghan government, although countries including Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and India have opened diplomatic missions in Kabul.

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