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UK minister says allegations of war crimes by SAS will be investigated

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2022)

British armed forces minister James Heappey has said that any fresh allegations about the behavior of UK Special Forces in Afghanistan will be investigated.

This week, the BBC Panorama released details of its investigation into alleged war crimes. The investigation found new evidence of scores of secret killings by the SAS, and efforts by some of the most senior figures in UK Special Forces to conceal evidence of war crimes.

“We were aware of some of the allegations that I understand to be in this evening’s Panorama. They’ve been investigated, I believe, twice and on each occasion hasn’t met the evidential threshold,” Heappey told UK MPs.

“But, let’s be clear, if there are new allegations, new evidence that comes to light as a consequence of the Panorama investigation and that is then passed to the service police for further investigation, we will absolutely investigate it.

“Nobody in our organisation, no matter how special, gets a bye on the law – and that’s that.”

The BBC identified 54 people shot dead in suspicious circumstances by one SAS unit during one six month tour of Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011. The youngest was described as just 15 years old when he was killed.

“The truth is that in the past 20 years those had military presence here committed such crimes all over our country. It is not limited to just 54,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

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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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India welcomes IEA’s move to restore Hindus and Sikhs’ properties as ‘positive development’

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(Last Updated On: April 12, 2024)

India considers reports of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) restoring properties to the country’s minority Hindu and Sikh community as “a positive development”, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal on Friday.

“If the Taliban administration (IEA) has decided to restore properties to Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan who are their nations, of course, it is something which is a positive development. This is how we look at it,” Jaiswal said at a press briefing.

About a month ago, the Ministry of Justice announced that the Land-Grabbing Prevention and Restitution Commission started investigating cases of usurped land belonging to Hindu and Sikh communities across the country.

Sohail Shaheen, head of the political office of the Islamic Emirate in Doha, also recently told the The Hindu newspaper that a commission chaired by the Minister of Justice has been established to return to their owners all properties which had been usurped by warlords during the former regime.

He also drew attention to the recent return of Narender Singh Khalsa, a member of the parliament of Afghanistan that was dissolved with the takeover of the country by the IEA in August 2021.

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