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Top secret UK military documents about Afghanistan found at bus stop

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2021)

Classified UK Ministry of Defense documents containing details about HMS Defender and the British military in Afghanistan have been found at a bus stop in Kent in the United Kingdom, the BBC reported.

According to the report, one set of documents discusses the likely Russian reaction to the ship’s passage through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday while another details plans for a possible UK military presence in Afghanistan after the US-led NATO operation ends.

The government said an investigation had been launched.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said an employee had reported the loss of sensitive defence papers, adding: “It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

BBC reported that the documents, almost 50 pages in all, were found in a rain-soaked heap behind a bus stop in Kent early on Tuesday morning.

A member of the public, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the BBC when he realised the sensitive nature of the contents.

The BBC believes the documents, which include emails and PowerPoint presentations, originated in the office of a senior official at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

According to the BBC, most of the papers are marked “official sensitive”, a relatively low level of classification used, according to the government, “where there is a clear and justifiable requirement to reinforce the ‘need to know'”.

But one document, addressed to Ben Wallace’s private secretary, and marked “Secret UK Eyes Only”, outlines highly sensitive recommendations for the UK’s military footprint in Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of all foreign troops by September 11.

BBC reported the document discusses an American request for British assistance in several specific areas, and addresses the question of whether any British special forces will remain in Afghanistan once the withdrawal is complete.

Media reports have already suggested Britain is considering leaving some forces behind.

Due to the sensitivity of the document, the BBC has decided not to report details which could endanger the security of British and other personnel in Afghanistan.

“Any UK footprint in Afghanistan that persists… is assessed to be vulnerable to targeting by a complex network of actors,” it says, noting that “the option to withdraw completely remains.”

Afghanistan, it says, is already becoming more dangerous.

According to BBC, the documents stated the reduced presence of NATO forces “is already impairing the situational awareness that we (and the US) used to enjoy across the country”.

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US, UAE diplomats meet to discuss Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West met with UAE’s deputy envoy for the United Nations, Mohammad Abu Shahab, discussing the latest developments in Afghanistan, it was announced on Friday.

The sides also discussed empowering Afghan women and girls, and the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2721, co-penned by the UAE and Japan, UAE Mission to the UN said in a post on X.

The 2721 UNSC resolution adopted in December last year, calls for the appointment of a UN special envoy for Afghanistan, a suggestion objected by the Islamic Emirate.

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Top former US general claims Daesh-Khorasan is ‘on the upswing’

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

Retired General Joseph Votel, former chief of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), has claimed that Daesh-Khorasan is on the upswing, and that the US doesn’t have much on the ground to help reduce the risk.

“ISIS-K is on the upswing right now,” Votel said, Business Insider reported. “And we don’t have much on the ground to help reduce that risk that this organization poses.”

Before withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington had significant intelligence capabilities on the ground and the ability to conduct kinetic strikes against the group. But this “mowing-the-grass” approach to counterterrorism, Votel said, has since paved way for a stronger and more resilient Daesh-K that’s focused on projecting its influence elsewhere.

The US still has the ability to gather meaningful intelligence in the region, although Votel said these capabilities are likely diminished from what they previously were. But it’s very important, he stressed, that the US continues to dedicate resources toward the threat and make it a priority.

One way for the US to do this is to work with regional partners around Afghanistan, such as Pakistan or states in Central Asia, to increase collaboration and the exchange of information with regard to violent extremism, Votel said. Another method would be for lawmakers to reauthorize a powerful surveillance tool known as Section 702, which is set to expire later this month.

“It doesn’t take very long for these organizations to rise up and become more capable,” retired Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversaw military operations in the Middle East in the 2010s, said.

This comes as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) says that Daesh has been suppressed and does not have the ability to launch attacks from Afghanistan against any country.

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Lightning strikes in Helmand kill one, injure three

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

One person has died and three others have been injured by lightning strikes in southern Helmand province, officials said.

Abdul Bari Rashid, director of information and culture in Helmand, told Ariana News that lightning occurred in the provincial capital Lashkargah, and Gereshk and Babaji districts.

According to him, one person died in the lightning and three others including a woman and two children were injured.

Meanwhile, floods triggered by heavy rains have caused financial losses in Sangin district of Helmand.

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