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Man smuggling $600k from Afghanistan to Iran arrested at border



(Last Updated On: March 14, 2022)

Afghan security forces on Monday arrested a man trying to smuggle $600,000 from Afghanistan to Iran, an official said.

The arrest was made by border forces at Milak border crossing in Nimroz province, said Mawlawi Hashim Hanzala, the border commissary.

The official identified the arrested individual as Syed Momin, a permanent resident of Nimfoz capital Zaranj.

It was not clear why he was smuggling the amount.

The official said the culprit was being interrogated.

The seizure comes as the Afghan banking system has been plunged into chaos, and the country is facing a liquidity crunch.


Syria: Another Iranian Revolutionary Guard aide dies after Israeli air strike



(Last Updated On: April 2, 2023)

A military adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps died of his injuries after an Israeli air strike near Syria’s capital, the Iranian semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Sunday.

Israel for years carried out attacks against what it has described as Iran-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran’s influence has grown since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war that began in 2011.

Iran says its officers serve in an advisory role in Syria at the invitation of Damascus. Dozens of Revolutionary Guards members including senior officers have been killed in Syria during the war.

“Meqdad Meqdani was wounded during the Zionist attack on Friday dawn and was martyred,” Mehr news said.

Friday’s airstrike was the sixth attack by Israel in Syria in March according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The strikes also killed another Revolutionary Guards military adviser and officer, Milad Haydari.

On Friday, the Revolutionary Guards vowed to respond to the Israeli attack.

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At least 11 killed in Pakistan Ramadan donation stampede



(Last Updated On: April 1, 2023)

At least 11 people were killed in a crowd crush in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi Friday as a Ramadan alms donation sparked a stampede in the inflation-hit nation, police said.

Pakistan has been wracked by economic turmoil for months, with the rupee crumbling and staple food prices shooting up nearly 50 percent as the country battles a balance of payments crisis which has forced it into bail-out talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), AFP reported.

Fida Janwari, a senior police officer in western Karachi’s Baldia Town neighborhood, said the stampede happened when needy women with children flocked to a factory distributing alms.

“Panic struck and people started running,” he told AFP.

A local administration official said 600 to 700 people were corralled in a small industrial compound.

“When they opened the main gate, all the people rushed in,” added 22-year-old Fatima Noor, whose sister died in the crush.

The bodies of six women and three children were brought to the Abbasi Shaheed state hospital, spokesman Muhammad Farraukh said.

An official for the Rescue NGO told AFP an additional two bodies were sent to another hospital, and police surgeon Summaiya Syed Tariq confirmed the total toll of 11 late Friday.

Asma Ahmed, 30, said her grandmother and niece were among the dead.

“We come every year to the factory for the Zakat,” she said, using the Islamic term for alms.

“They started beating the women with clubs and pushing them,” Ahmed added. “There was chaos everywhere.”

“Why did they call us if they couldn’t manage it?” she asked.

Janwari said three factory employees were arrested after failing to inform police of the donation event in order to organize crowd control.

Last week, on the first day of Ramadan — when Muslims traditionally make donations to the poor — one person was killed and eight others injured in a stampede for flour in northwestern Pakistan.

Pakistan’s finances have been hobbled by decades of financial mismanagement and political chaos. The situation has been exacerbated by the global energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and crippling monsoon floods last year which submerged a third of the country.

The South Asian nation — home to 220 million — is deep in debt and must enact tough tax reforms and push up utility prices if it hopes to unlock another tranche of a $6.5 billion IMF bail-out and avoid defaulting.

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Turkish parliament ratifies Finland’s NATO accession as Sweden kept waiting



(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

Turkey’s parliament approved a bill on Thursday to allow Finland to join NATO, clearing the way for the country to become part of the Western defence alliance as war rages in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The Turkish parliament was the last among the 30 members of the alliance to ratify Finland’s membership after Hungary’s legislature approved a similar bill earlier this week.

President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier in March that Finland had secured Turkey’s blessing after taking concrete steps to keep promises to crack down on groups seen by Ankara as terrorists, and to free up defence exports.

Finland and Sweden asked to join NATO last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the process has been held up by Turkey and Hungary. The parliaments of all NATO members must ratify newcomers.

“NATO membership will strengthen Finland’s security and improve stability and security in the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe,” the Finnish government said in a statement following the Turkish parliament vote.

Turkey is still holding off approving the membership bid of Finland’s neighbour Sweden, which Ankara says has not gone far enough in cracking down on people Turkey considers terrorists. The three countries signed a pact on the issue last year.

The Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission had unanimously approved the Finland bill last week. The Turkish legislative process was happening as it prepares for parliamentary and presidential elections on May 14.

Finland’s membership would represent the first enlargement since North Macedonia joined the alliance in 2020.

Turkey has repeatedly said that Sweden needed to take additional steps against supporters of Kurdish militants and members of the network Ankara holds responsible for a 2016 coup attempt. Turkey treats both groups as terrorist organisations.

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