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Thomas West says US ‘deeply concerned about terror groups in Afghanistan’

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2022)

US special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said Wednesday that former al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had freedom in Kabul prior to his death and that Washington “is deeply concerned about a number of other terrorist groups active in Afghanistan”.

Speaking at an event at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, West said al-Zawahiri “was unquestionably a threat to the United States and he had greater freedom to operate in Kabul than from wherever he came from”.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in July in a US drone strike that targeted a house in Kabul.

However, the IEA has repeatedly said they knew nothing about the al-Qaeda leader’s presence in the city nor have they received any proof from the US that it was in fact al-Zawahiri who was killed in the drone strike.

West said the US is concerned about other terrorist groups active in Afghanistan, VOA reported.

“We have concerns about al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Laskhar-e-Toiba, Ansarullah and a range of terrorist groups that still have an active presence in Afghanistan that we are exceedingly concerned about,” he said.

Last week at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s prime minister, Shahbaz Sharif, voiced similar concerns about the presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

The IEA rejected Sharif’s remarks, saying in a statement that they will not allow Afghan territory to be used against any country.

“We have been in touch with Taliban (IEA) leaders since the strike and, to be clear, even in the wake of this event, we are prepared to engage pragmatically with the Taliban regarding terrorism concerns,” West said.

West also said that at the time of the collapse of the former government, on August 15 last year, about 2,000 ISIS (Daesh) fighters were freed from Afghan prisons, VOA reported.

“There was a big prison break,” West said, adding that it was unclear who within the Taliban (IEA) released the prisoners and whether they knew who the inmates were.

“But some of the most concerning best-trained ISIS-K fighters they let out, it was about 2,000 individuals.

“Some of those individuals are folks we’re truly worried about,” he said.

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Elon Musk begins Twitter poll on reinstating Trump’s account

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(Last Updated On: November 19, 2022)

Twitter owner Elon Musk launched a poll Friday on the social media platform asking if former US President Donald Trump should be allowed back on the platform.

“Reinstate former President Trump,” Musk wrote in a post which garnered more than 4.4 million impressions at the time of publication, Anadolu Agency reported.

More than 55% of users voted “yes,” while 44% said “no.”

Hours earlier, the American billionaire implied that he was mulling whether to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account.

“Trump decision has not yet been made,” tweeted Musk, as he announced three high-profile reinstatements of accounts that were banned by the social media giant.

“Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated,” said Musk.

Trump had about 88.8 million followers when Twitter permanently suspended the former US president’s account in January 2021, citing his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol and the potential for more violence.

Musk had forecast a Trump return in May when he called the expulsion “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”

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IEA says it has eradicated war and corruption in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 17, 2022)

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, said at a meeting on Wednesday with officials from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war and administrative corruption in the country and pave the ground for progress and development.

He said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has created an aid fund for Afghanistan and they will help Afghanistan in health, education, and other fields in addition to humanitarian aid.

An OIC official meanwhile said it will stand by Afghanistan and we will continue its cooperation with Afghanistan in the areas of prosperity, stability, and development.

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, meanwhile welcomed the delegation of the OIC, and said, “You will see the real facts and the efforts of the Islamic Emirate in various sectors.”

He said that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war, insecurity, murder, destruction, and corruption in the country.

In conclusion, the IEA will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan soil against other countries, he said. 

 

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Explosion in busy Istanbul street leaves at least 4 dead

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(Last Updated On: November 13, 2022)

An explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue on Sunday afternoon has left at least four people dead and a number of people injured, a senior official told Associated Press.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the explosion occurred at about 4:20 p.m. Istanbul time and that there were deaths and injuries, but he did not say how many. The cause of the explosion was not clear.

Al Jazeera also reported at least four people were killed and 38 others injured.

However, according to the Associated Press, Turkey’s media watchdog imposed a temporary media ban on reporting of the explosion, which means broadcasters cannot show videos of the moment of the blast or its aftermath. 

The Supreme Board of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks, accidents and some political issues.

Footage on social media showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.

Broadcaster CNN Turk meanwhile reported 11 people were injured. 

The avenue is a crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals, lined by shops and restaurants.

Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by ISIS (Daesh) and outlawed Kurdish groups.

 

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