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Al-Qaeda gaining strength with help of Taliban: US Treasury report

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

The US Treasury Department has issued a memo stating al-Qaeda is “gaining strength” in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s “protection”.

In answer to inquiries from the US Department of Defense’s Lead Inspector General on illicit terrorism financing, the US Treasury Deparment also stated that despite the US-Taliban deal signed in February last year that calls for the Taliban to cut ties with al-Qaeda, the two groups were still closely allied.

“As of 2020, al-Qaeda is gaining strength in Afghanistan while continuing to operate with the Taliban under the Taliban’s protection. Al-Qaeda broadly still depends on donations from
like minded supporters, and from individuals who believe that their money is supporting humanitarian or charitable causes,” the report read.

“Al-Qaeda capitalizes on its relationship with the Taliban through its network of mentors and advisers who are embedded with the Taliban, providing advice, guidance, and financial
support.

“Senior Haqqani Network figures have discussed forming a new joint unit of armed fighters in cooperation with and funded by al-Qaeda,” the report stated.

The report also stated that elements of al-Qaeda, including affiliate al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and terrorist groups targeting Pakistan, such as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), continue to use the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region as a safe haven.

“AQIS likely receives funding from al-Qaeda senior leadership,” the report stated adding that “as of May 2020, the Taliban and al-Qaeda maintained a strong relationship and continued to meet regularly.”

On the state of ISIS-Khorasan’s (Daesh Afghanistan) finances, the treasury report stated “ISIS-K primarily raises funds through local donations, taxation, extortion, and some financial support from ISIS-core.

“In 2019, Afghan Taliban and Afghan government forces retook ISIS-K’s stronghold in southern Nangarhar, which decreases the amount of money the group could earn exploiting natural resources in this territory.

“As of early 2020, ISIS core was possibly providing some funds to ISIS-K. According to Treasury’s information, ISIS-K retains at least some financial reserves and relies on hawalas, particularly in Kabul and Jalalabad, to transfer funds,” the report read.

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UN’s special rapporteur in Afghanistan to assess human rights situation

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2022)

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan is currently in the country and has already met with the IEA’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Bennett who is in Afghanistan on a 10-day visit, is expected to engage with Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials, international and national representatives of NGOs and other organizations, members of civil society and other stakeholders to discuss the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

The IEA meanwhile said Bennett provided information on the purpose of his visit to Muttaqi at their meeting and outlined his mission.

Muttaqi briefed Bennett on the religious and cultural values and cultural characteristics of the Afghan people so that he could take this into consideration while assessing the situation.

In a recent statement, ahead of his arrival in Afghanistan, Bennett said he would engage with the authorities and a broad range of stakeholders to assess the situation of human rights, including with regard to the implementation of obligations under international human rights instruments ratified by Afghanistan, and to offer assistance to address and prevent violations and abuses.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council. Bennett, who was appointed on April 1, official resumed duties on May 1.

Bennett will also conduct field visits while in Afghanistan and will deliver his findings in a report to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly later in the year.

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IEA approves working process to bring exiled Afghan politicians home

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

Organization procedures for the commission tasked with getting Afghan politicians and former government officials living abroad to return home have been approved by the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the commission is expected to start work soon.

It was decided at a recent meeting that the commission’s operational procedures will be announced at a special ceremony in the near future.

“In this commission, all faces, whether women or men, will be contacted, and everyone’s return plan is ready for the patriotic figures to be returned,” said Hassan Haqyar, a close allie of the IEA.

But some political activists have raised questions about the future of any returning exiled Afghans.

The have asked if the politicians for instance will be allowed to carry on with work as previously or whether they will have to give up politics and find another occupation.

The same goes for former government employees.

“We call on the Emirate, in order to implement the plan of this commission, to facilitate the work and activity of these figures again, and there must be a guarantee for everyone who returns, because everyone must see themselves in the mirror of the government,” said Sayed Jawad Hussaine, political analyst.

However, Iran, which hosts a number of former politicians has once again called for the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Recently, Anas Haqqani, a member of the commission, said that about 50 former government officials have so far returned to Afghanistan and that efforts are underway to bring back other political figures.

The meeting of the Commission for the Return of Politicians and Former Government Officials was meanwhile convened shortly after former President Hamid Karzai was ordered to not leave the country.

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India mulls reopening embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

India is exploring the possibility of reopening its embassy in Afghanistan, but without high-level diplomatic representation, an Indian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

A team of Indian security officials visited Kabul in February to assess the situation, the Indian Express reported.

The paper said that the embassy will likely function only with personnel for liaison purposes that may extend to consular services.

India, like many other countries, closed its embassy in Kabul after the Islamic Emirate took over Afghanistan on August 15 last year.

Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran were the only countries that did not close their embassies in Kabul during the takeover.

Some 16 countries have now reopened their embassies in Kabul.

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