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Al-Qaeda could rebuild in Afghanistan in a year or two: US officials



(Last Updated On: September 15, 2021)

Al-Qaeda could rebuild inside Afghanistan in one to two years, top US intelligence officials said Tuesday, noting that some members of the group had already returned to the country, New York Times reported.

Earlier in the year, top Pentagon officials said al-Qaeda could reconstitute in two years, then told lawmakers after the fall of the previous Afghan government they were revising that timeline, the Times reported.

While the Islamic Emirate has long fought the Islamic State affiliate (ISIS-K), they are established allies of al-Qaeda, the Times reported.

“The current assessment probably conservatively is one to two years for al-Qaeda to build some capability to at least threaten the homeland,” Lt. General Scott Berrier, the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency said Tuesday at the annual Intelligence and National Security Summit.

David Cohen, the deputy director of the CIA, said the difficult part of the timeline question was to know when al-Qaeda or ISIS-K would “have the capability to go to strike the homeland” before they could be detected, the Times reported.

According to Cohen, the CIA is keeping a keen watch of “some potential movement of al-Qaeda to Afghanistan”.

He did not identify specific al-Qaeda members who have traveled back to Afghanistan since the fall of the American-backed government, but Osama bin Laden’s former security chief, Amin al Haq, who served with bin Laden during the battle of Tora Bora, was seen on video returning to the Afghan province of Nangarhar last month, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, experts have said the Islamic Emirate needs to curb activities by ISIS-K (Daesh) and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in order to gain the trust and confidence of the international community.
Mohammad Sarwar Niazi, an Afghan military expert, said: “The US is familiar with ISIS (Daesh) and from where it comes… how can two religious groups (Daesh and Al-Qaeda) be eliminated? If they (US) wanted to eliminate Daesh they could have done it during their 20 years of presence [in Afghanistan].”

The possibility of a re-emergence of Daesh and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is considered worrying by many analysts, and some have called on the Islamic Emirate to prevent these groups from operating in the country.

“Al-Qaeda and Daesh were created by the United States, and now that the Taliban (Islamic Emirate) have taken over Afghanistan, they are responsible for protecting Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, the war in Afghanistan was an intelligence war, and now the United States is worried and measures must be taken,” said Aziz Meraj, a political analyst.

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Afghan weather services issues flash flood warning



(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Afghanistan Meteorological Department issued a flash flood warning on Thursday, stating that heavy rain and high wind gusts can be expected across a wide section of the country on Friday and Saturday.

The provinces likely to be affected are Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Panjshir, Takhar, Baghlan, Parwan, Bamiyan, Samangan, Kabul, Maidan Wardak, Logar, Paktia, Khost, Paktika, Ghazni, Zabul, Uruzgan, Daikundi, Ghor, Kandahar and Helmand.

According to the department, between 15 and 70 mm of rain can be expected in parts of the country over the next two days.

Thunderstorms can also be expected in some provinces, including Kabul.

On Thursday, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a statement that in the past week – between August 11 and 15 – heavy rainfall caused floods and flash floods across several provinces across the eastern, southern, south-eastern, and central regions of Afghanistan, leading to numerous fatalities.

The latest UNOCHA report states that the number of fatalities has increased to 41 people (11 in Parwan province, 11 in Nangarhar province, and nine in Logar province), while 17 individuals were injured.

Across the impacted areas, heavy rainfall destroyed or damaged almost 790 houses (434 in Nangarhar), affecting more than 3,720 families in total.

Floods have destroyed crops, agricultural land, and the local transportation infrastructure, isolating several communities, UNOCHA stated.

A number of international humanitarian organizations are assisting the local affected population with food, emergency shelter and non-food items, as well as conducting inter-agency impact and needs assessments.

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PACF hands over 25 tons of food items to support Afghans



(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Pak Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF) on Thursday handed over 25 tons of food items to Afghan authorities as part of its ongoing support to the people of war-hit Afghanistan.

The truckload of the food items, arranged by the PACF, were handed over to the Afghan authorities at the Chaman crossing, app reported.

The handing-over ceremony was attended by Deputy Commissioner of Chaman Hameed Zahri and senior officers of the Afghan Foreign Office including Maulwi Waheedullah and Mullah Hikmatullah.

According to the report since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), takeover in Afghanistan last year, Pakistan had sent over a total of 15,390 tons worth Rs2, 650 million of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The humanitarian assistance had been sent to Afghanistan via 83 convoys, including 743 trucks and four C-130 flights, till August 5, read the report.

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A group of 9/11 victims call for frozen funds to be given back to Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

Families of 9/11 victims have called on US President Joe Biden to release billions of dollars belonging to Afghanistan.

In a letter sent to Biden this week, 77 family members of 9/11 victims called on the president to modify an executive order from February which froze the Afghan central bank’s $7 billion of assets being held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“Any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is legally suspect and morally wrong,” the family members wrote in a letter first reported by Politico.

The letter came amid a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US had ruled out releasing the funds following the US killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul earlier this month.

The US froze the money after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) swept to power following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The IEA and US had been engaged in talks about releasing the funds.

Biden planned to give $3.5 billion to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes and the balance to families of 9/11 victims.

But the revelation that the al-Qaeda leader was living in Kabul derailed talks between the US and the IEA on a compromise over the funds.

The 9/11 victims’ families said that, while they had filed lawsuits seeking justice for their loss, they didn’t intend for the compensation “to take money away from starving Afghans”.

“This money is theirs, not ours,” the letter said. “Simply put, this money belongs to the Afghan people, not 9/11 family members – and they need it more.”

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