#AceNewsReport – July.26: The United States has asked Turkey to secure Kabul’s airport after all American and NATO allied troops withdraw from the country by the end of next month.
#AceDailyNews says ….#Taliban says that if Turks extend their military presence in Afghanistan, it will wage jihad against them acording to a warning that came amid fresh battlefield moves that critics say show they are planning a military takeover of Afghanistan in defiance of their peace pledges, raising the prospects of a full-blown civil war if They Stay in Afghanistan,” by Ayaz Gul, VOA News, July 13, 2021:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday without elaborating that he had agreed with Washington on the “scope” of how to secure and manage the airport.
The Taliban condemned the deal as “reprehensible” and demanded Turkey review its decision.
“We consider stay of foreign forces in our homeland by any country under whatever pretext as occupation,” the group said in a media release. “The extension of occupation will arouse emotions of resentment and hostility inside our country towards Turkish officials and will damage bilateral ties.”…
There were no injuries and the rockets landed outside the heavily fortified palace grounds, said Mirwais Stanikzai, spokesman for the interior minister.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, but police quickly fanned out across the area. One car parked on a nearby street was completely destroyed; the police said it was used as a launching pad for the rockets.
The palace is in the middle of a so-called Green Zone that is fortified with giant cement blast walls and barbed wire, and streets near the palace have long been closed off.
The barrage came as the U.S. and NATO complete their final withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many Afghans are worried whether their war-ravaged country will fall deeper into chaos and violence as foreign forces withdraw and the Taliban gain more territory on the ground, having captured several districts and key border crossings with neighboring countries over the past weeks.
The withdrawal is more than 95% complete and the final U.S. soldier will be gone by Aug. 31, President Joe Biden said in an address earlier this month.
“This Eid has been named after Afghan forces to honor their sacrifices and courage, especially in the last three months,” Ghani said in his address to the nation following morning prayers for Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice.”
“The Taliban have no intention and willingness for peace,” Ghani said. “We have proven that we have the intention, willingness and have sacrificed for peace.”
Ghani also deplored his government’s decision to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners to get peace talks started last year as a “big mistake” that only strengthened the insurgents.
“We released 5,000 prisoners to start peace talks, but until today the Taliban haven’t shown any serious or meaningful interest in peace negotiations.”
Abdullah Abdullah, the No. 2 official in the government, was inside the palace during the rocket attack on Tuesday, having returned on Monday from peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar. Those inside the palace, however, were far removed from where the rockets landed.
The two days of meetings in Doha — the highest level of negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban so far — aimed at jumpstarting stalled talks but ended with a promise of more high-level talks.
In his speech, Ghani also assailed neighboring Pakistan, which Kabul blames for harboring the Taliban leadership and providing a safe haven and assistance to the insurgents. In the most recent fighting in the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak, Taliban fighters were seen receiving treatment at a Pakistani hospital across the border in Chaman.
Pakistan is seen as key to peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban leadership is headquartered in Pakistan and Islamabad has used its leverage, which it claims is now waning, to press the Taliban to talk peace.
Pakistan has also been deeply critical of Kabul, saying it has allowed another militant group, the Pakistani Taliban — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan — to find safety in Afghanistan from where they have launched a growing number of attacks targeting the Pakistan military.
“Pakistan does not want a Taliban regime in its homeland” but their media have been “campaigning for a Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” Ghani added.
The Eid al-Adha is the most important Islamic holiday, marking the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim — Abraham to Christians and Jews — to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, which in most places lasts four days, Muslims slaughter sheep or cattle and distribute part of the meat to the poor.
Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.
#AceNewsReport – July.16: Ten tribal elders had taken the responsibility of ceasefire, so they first talked to the Taliban, and then talked to the local government and both sides reached a ceasefire,” the provincial governor, Husamuddin Shams, told Reuters.
KABUL: Officials, Taliban strike ceasefire deal in western Afghanistan, in exchange for prisoner release Al Jazeera says provincial governor the move came after fighters from the Islamist group secured complete control over all the districts in Badghis province, reflecting wider gains by the Taliban over territory and infrastructure in the weeks since U.S. President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops by Sept. 11 Telegram: Reuters
The Taliban reached an agreement with the tribal elders to move to the outskirts of Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis, Shams said.
A spokesman for the Taliban denied they had agreed to a ceasefire but said they had left the city to avoid civilian casualties.
#AceNewsReport – July.15: Many Afghans who hoped the #Taliban would reform their extreme views amid ongoing talks with the Afghan government and the U.S. troop withdrawal have been disappointed by the new severe restrictions imposed on the local population in some of the districts that they have recently captured.
AFGHANISTAN: #Taliban impose new restrictions on women, force men to grow beards according to Media In Afghanistan’s North,” by Gul Rahim Niazman and Roshan Noorzai, VOA News, July 9, 2021:
Several residents of Balkh, a district in northern Balkh province that is located 20 kilometers north of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, confirmed to VOA that the Taliban have distributed leaflets, ordering locals to follow strict rules that are similar to those they imposed on Afghans when they last governed the country from 1996 to 2001.
“They want to impose the restrictions that were imposed on women under their rule,” said Nahida, a 34-year-old resident of Balkh district, adding that the restrictions targeting women include “not leaving our houses without a male companion and wearing hijab.”
Before their ouster by the United States in 2001, the Taliban mandated Afghans follow a strict interpretation of Sharia law, forcing women to cover themselves from head to foot and preventing them from leaving their houses without a male companion.
That changed after 2001 when the new Afghan government, supported by U.S.-led forces, introduced laws to encourage more girls to attend school and to have more women participate in the workforce.
Nahida, who requested to be identified by her pseudonym due to safety concerns, said the group’s new restrictions will be difficult for women to follow “since many of them are the breadwinners of their families and they have to work outside.”…
Since May, when the United States and NATO began withdrawing their remaining troops, the Taliban captured about 100 of Afghanistan’s more than 400 districts from government-allied forces. Afghan officials have since vowed to retake the lost districts.
Another resident of Balkh, who requested anonymity due to fears of retaliation by the militants, said “salons were ordered not to shave or trim beards” when the Taliban controlled the district last month.
“It is possible that they impose more restrictions. In some of the mosques, during the Friday sermons, Mullahs say that the Sharia law should be implemented,” another Balkh resident told VOA.
In several districts of Takhar, Badakhshan, and Kunduz province that came under the Taliban control recently, local reports claim the Taliban issued similar restrictions on women and forced men to grow beards….
#AceNewsReport – July.08: US forces are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021, exactly 20 years since 9/11. There are strong indications that the withdrawal may be complete before the official deadline.
Timeline: #Taliban battle their way into western Afghan city as U.S. troops are preparing to leave Afghanistanby no later than 11th September 2021: The anniversary of 9/11
11 September 2001
Al-Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, carries out the largest terror attack ever conducted on US soil.Image caption The World Trade Centre is reduced to rubble Image copyright by Getty
Four commercial airliners are hijacked. Two are flown into the World Trade Centre in New York, which collapses. One hits the Pentagon building in Washington, and one crashes into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people are killed.
First air strikes
7 October 2001
A US-led coalition bombs Taliban and al-Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan. Targets include Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad.
The Taliban, who took power after a decade-long Soviet occupation was followed by civil war, refuse to hand over Bin Laden. Their air defences and small fleet of fighter aircraft are destroyed.
Fall of Kabul
13 November 2001
The Northern Alliance, a group of anti-Taliban rebels backed by coalition forces, enters Kabul as the Taliban flee the city.Image caption Coalition-backed Northern Alliance fighters ride tanks into Kabul as the Taliban retreat Image copyright by Getty
By the 13 November 2001, all Taliban have either fled or been neutralised. Other cities quickly fall.
26 January 2004
After protracted negotiations at a “loya jirga” or grand assembly, the new Afghan constitution is signed into law. The constitution paves the way for presidential elections in October 2004.
Hamid Karzai becomes president
7 December 2004Image caption Hamid Karzai led anti-Taliban groups around Kandahar before becoming president Image copyright by Getty
Hamid Karzai, the leader of the Popalzai Durrani tribe, becomes the first president under the new constitution. He serves two five-year terms as president.
UK troops deployed to Helmand
British troops arrive in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold in the south of the country.Image caption Soldiers of the Parachute Regiment lead the first UK deployment to Helmand Image copyright by Getty
Their initial mission is to support reconstruction projects, but they are quickly drawn into combat operations. More than 450 British troops lose their lives in Afghanistan over the course of the conflict.
17 February 2009
US President Barack Obama approves a major increase in the number of troops sent to Afghanistan. At their peak, they number about 140,000.Image caption US troops in intense combat operations in the south of the country Image copyright by Getty
The so-called “surge” is modelled on US strategy in Iraq where US forces focussed on protecting the civilian population as well as killing insurgent fighters.
Osama Bin Laden killed
2 May 2011Image caption Bin Laden is traced to a compound located less than a mile from a Pakistani military academy Image copyright by Getty
The leader of al-Qaeda is killed in an assault by US Navy Seals on a compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan. Bin Laden’s body is removed and buried at sea. The operation ends a 10-year hunt led by the CIA. The confirmation that Bin Laden had been living on Pakistani soil fuels accusations in the US that Pakistan is an unreliable ally in the war on terror.
Death of Mullah Omar
23 April 2013
The founder of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, dies. His death is kept secret for more than two years.Image caption The Taliban leader is believed to have suffered a shrapnel wound to his right eye in the 1980s Image copyright by EPA
According to Afghan intelligence, Mullah Omar dies of health problems at a hospital in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Pakistan denies that he was in the country.
Nato ends combat operations
28 December 2014
At a ceremony in Kabul, Nato ends its combat operations in Afghanistan. With the surge now over, the US withdraws thousands of troops. Most of those who remain focus on training and supporting the Afghan security forces.
The Taliban launch a series of suicide attacks, car bombings and other assaults. The parliament building in Kabul, and the city of Kunduz are attacked. Islamic State militants begin operations in Afghanistan.Image caption Kabul’s international airport is struck on 10 August 2015 Image copyright by Getty
Death toll announcement
25 January 2019
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says more than 45,000 members of his country’s security forces have been killed since he became leader in 2014. The figure is far higher than previously thought.
US signs deal with Taliban
29 February 2020
The US and the Taliban sign an “agreement for bringing peace” to Afghanistan, in Doha, Qatar. The US and Nato allies agree to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal.Image caption The deal lays out a timetable for full withdrawal Image copyright by Getty
Date for final withdrawal
11 September 2021
US forces are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021, exactly 20 years since 9/11. There are strong indications that the withdrawal may be complete before the official deadline.
#AceNewsReport – July.03: The pull-out could signal that the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is imminent: But the withdrawal from the sprawling base, north of Kabul, comes as the main jihadist group, the Taliban, advances in many parts of Afghanistan.
#AceDailyNews reports that in Bagram that the US and Nato forces leave key Afghanistan base on Thursday but according to AFP: U.S air force was still using Bagram on Thursday and President Joe Biden has said US forces will be gone by Sept.11: 2021: the deadline is the anniversary of the attacks on America in 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
The attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda, an international jihadist group then based in Afghanistan with the support of the Taliban, who had been in control of the country since the 1990s. A US-led coalition invaded the Afghanistan later that year to defeat both groups now how can the West fight terror after leaving
America now wants to end its longest war with its huge cost in human lives and vast expense, and is leaving security to the Afghan government.
Some 2,500-3,500 US troops were thought to be still in Afghanistan until recently, and they are due to depart along with some 7,000 other coalition troops, leaving fewer than 1,000 American soldiers in the country.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Taliban, buoyed by the expectation of the foreign withdrawal, has overrun dozens of districts, amid fears that a new civil war could erupt after the departure of foreign forces in year of violence on the road to peace
A top target for the Taliban Bagram is a bellwether of what’s to come: This symbol of American military might was once a stronghold of Soviet forces. Now Afghan security forces will soon confront the challenge of securing this sprawling city within a city. Bagram is vital – in symbolic and strategic ways. Taliban fighters, advancing in districts across the country, have this prize in their sights. Even last October, residents of the town which has swelled all around it told us the Taliban were already in their midst.On a recent visit to the base, as the US packed up, we heard how Afghan security forces saw it as a mixed blessing.
There’s a wealth of military assets within its walls; but that treasure is a top target for Taliban, not to mention corrupt commanders and others eying this fortune: For the countless Afghans whose lives and livelihoods have long banked on this base – and who now feel abandoned – Bagram’s new chapter is deeply worrying. Why is Bagram so important?
The airfield, built up by the Soviets when they occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s, and named after a nearby village, lies around 40km (25 miles) north of Kabul: The US-led coalition forces moved in during December 2001, and it was developed into a huge base capable of holding up to 10,000 troops.
It is served by two runways, the most recent of which is 3.6km long, where large cargo and bomber aircraft can land: It has 110 parking spots for aircraft, which are protected by blast walls, and had a 50-bed hospital with a trauma bay, three operating theatres and a modern dental clinic, the Associated Press reports.From May 2021:
Top US commander General Scott Miller reflects on Nato forces’ time in Afghanistan ahead of its departureIts hangars and buildings included the main prison facility for people detained by US forces at the height of the conflict, which became known as Afghanistan’s Guantanamo – after the infamous US military prison in Cuba: Bagram was one of the sites identified in a US Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects, including the use of torture, carried out in detention facilities: Bagram ex-detainees say they still bear the scars
What happens next? An official ceremony to mark the handover of Bagram is expected to be held on Saturday, an Afghan official told Reuters news agency. About 650 US troops are expected to remain in the country, the Associated Press reports, to provide protection for diplomats and help guard Kabul’s international airport, a vital transport hub for the landlocked country:
They are guarding the airport alongside troops from America’s Nato ally Turkey, while a new agreement for its security is negotiated with the Afghan government: The airport’s US protection includes a counter-rocket, artillery, mortar system and the troops to operate it, as well as helicopter support.Other American troops will guard the US Embassy in Kabul.Military analysts say the ability of the Afghan government to maintain control over Bagram will be vital to its efforts to defend Kabul and push back the Taliban.
While the Taliban stopped attacks on coalition forces after signing an agreement with the US in February of last year, they have continued fighting government forces. A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, welcomed the US withdrawal from Bagram, telling AFP news agency it would “pave the way for Afghans to decide about their future between themselves” that a war is thought to have taken the lives of more than 47,000 Afghan civilians and nearly 70,000 Afghan troops, as well as the lives of 2,442 US soldiers and more than 3,800 US private security contractors, and 1,144 soldiers from other coalition countries. The Costs of War project at Brown University, which analyses America’s wars this century, estimates that the war has cost America a total of $2.26tn (£1.64tn).
The departure of international troops comes amid deadlock in peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Several districts in Baghlan province have seen fierce fighting between the Taliban and government forces.
The workers were killed when masked gunmen burst into their compound at 21:50 (17:20 GMT) on Tuesday, after they had spent a day removing mines from a nearby field.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that “the Taliban entered a compound of a mine-clearing agency… and started shooting everyone”.
But the Taliban issued a swift denial.
“We condemn attacks on the defenceless and view it as brutality,” the militant group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted. “We have normal relations with NGOs. Our Mujahideen will never carry out such brutal attacks.”
Mr Cowan of the Halo Trust told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the attackers went “bed to bed” shooting the workers “in cold blood” – but that the local Taliban helped the deminers.
“I think it’s important to know that the Taliban have denied responsibility for this, and indeed the local Taliban group came to our aid and scared the assailants off,” he said.
“We don’t know who the assailants were – we could speculate about, that but I won’t – but I think we have the capacity as the Halo Trust to operate on both sides of the line in this awful conflict,” he added.
In a clip police in Baghlan shared with reporters, a survivor of the attack said the gunmen asked if any of them were from the Hazara minority community before opening fire.
“Five to six armed men came, they took us to a room,” he said. “First they took all our money and mobile phones, and then they asked who our leader was. They asked, ‘Is any Hazara here among you?’ We told them, ‘We don’t have any Hazara here.'”
He added that he was shot in the head, but managed to escape through a window.
Hazaras, Afghanistan’s third-largest ethnic group, have faced long-term discrimination and persecution, primarily because of their Shia faith. In recent years, they have faced abductions and killings at the hands of both the Islamic State group and the Taliban.
The UK-based Halo Trust was founded in 1988 to remove ordnance left behind from the almost decade-long Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
It was supported by Princess Diana, as well as by her son Prince Harry.Top US commander General Scott Miller reflecting on NATO forces’ time in Afghanistan before their departure in May
#AceNewsReport – June.08: Two separate bomb blasts on two public transport buses killed at least 12 civilians in the Afghan capital Kabul, security officials said on Wednesday, the latest in a series of such attacks in recent weeks as foreign forces withdraw:
AFGHANISTAN: 12 civilians murdered in bomb blasts on buses in Shi’a area: Bombings on two transport buses kill 12 Afghans in Kabul,” Reuters, June 2, 2021:
Both attacks took place on Tuesday evening in western parts of the capital that are home to many from the country’s Shia community, a religious minority in Afghanistan targeted in the past by groups such as Islamic State, the officials said.
Ferdaws Faramarz, Kabul police spokesman, said both buses were carrying passengers when the explosion occurred that killed at least 12 and wounded 10 more. The police launched an investigation, he said.
Roadside bombs, small magnetic bombs attached under vehicles, and other attacks have targeted members of security forces, judges, government officials, civil society activists and journalists in recent months in Afghanistan.
No group claimed responsibility for the twin bombings.
The government usually blames the Taliban for such attacks but the insurgent group denies involvement.
Violence has sharply increased since Washington announced plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11….
#AceNewsReport – June.08: The #Taliban made the announcement after many Afghan translators working alongside US and NATO troops demonstrated in the capital, Kabul, demanding foreign forces and embassies that they worked with help them leave the country a head of US President Joe Biden’s September 11 withdrawal deadline.
Monday, 07 June 2021 3:04 PM [ Last Update: Monday, 07 June 2021 3:40 PM ]
The Afghan translators said they were afraid the Taliban would “take revenge” on them since they were seen as US agents and spies.
“They shall not be in any danger on our part,” the Taliban said in a statement.
The militant group “would like to inform all the above people that they should show remorse for their past actions and must not engage in such activities in the future that amount to treason against Islam and the country,” the statement added.
The Taliban went on to say that while Afghan translators were viewed as foes when they worked with foreign forces, they will not face any issues “when they abandon enemy ranks and …should not remain fearful.”
The Taliban had said last week that they would provide a “safe environment” for foreign embassies to work in Afghanistan even after foreign troops leave the country.
The assurance by the group came after Australia closed its mission in Kabul and said it will not be able to guarantee security once foreign troops pull out.
The embassy said an “increasingly uncertain security environment” had made it too unsafe for embassy staff to be based in Afghanistan.
The US and its allies overthrew the Taliban regime shortly after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. But US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and now Joe Biden.
All foreign troops were supposed to have been withdrawn by May 1, as part of an agreement that the US had reached with the Taliban in the Qatari capital last year. But Biden last month pushed that date back to September 11.
The Taliban warned that the passing of the May 1 deadline for a complete withdrawal “opened the way for” the militants to take every counteraction they deemed appropriate against foreign forces in the county.
#AceNewsReport – June.06: The CAA lead to unrest from Muslims when it was passed in December 2019. Mass protests led to violence across India, and Al-Qaeda called for Muslims in India to wage jihad from within:
INDIA: Muslim group goes to Supreme Court over Citizenship Amendment Act offering refuge to persecuted non-Muslims: The invitation to these countries’ non-Muslims constituted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The CAA fast-tracked Indian citizenship for Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, and Parsi immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who arrived in India before 2015: IUML Moves SC Against Centre’s Notification Seeking Applications From Non-Muslim Refugees,” The Wire, June 1, 2021:To find out more about India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, and why it was necessary, click HERE.
A relentless propaganda barrage against India came from Pakistan, Kuwait and across the Muslim world. Muslims also appealed to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, with complaints against India over “Islamophobia.” This reaction, in fact, proved exactly why infidels need rescuing from the wrath of Islamic supremacists and jihadists everywhere.
The reason for the so-called “discriminatory,” “Islamophobic” CAA was because of Muslim persecution of religious minorities in those countries; they were being offered a level of safety in India. Note, by contrast, that open-door immigration policies in the European Union have led to mass Muslim migration, and are now causing a nightmare during ongoing coronavirus lockdowns, as mostly Muslim economic migrants have steadily crashed the borders of European countries illegally (and entered the UK via the English Channel). But in the early days of the war in Syria, which created genuine refugees, Muslim refugees in UN camps attacked and terrorized Christians, and the Christians could not escape. It’s about time that some country thought of the minorities who are victims of jihad and Sharia oppression. India should be applauded for doing so.
New Delhi: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Centre’s notification inviting non-Muslims belonging to Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and residing in 13 districts in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab to apply for Indian citizenship.
The interim application argued that the Centre is trying to circumvent the assurance given to the apex court in this regard in the pending petition filed by the IUML challenging the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.
It said that the Centre provided assurance that staying of the Amendment Act was not necessary since the rules of the Amendment Act had not been framed.
The CAA grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities – Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian – who migrated to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014, following persecution over their faith.
The fresh plea said the Union home ministry on Friday issued a notification to this effect for immediate implementation of the order under the Citizenship Act 1955 and Rules framed under the law in 2009 even though the rules under the CAA enacted in 2019 are yet to be framed by the Ministry of Home Affairs is manifestly illegal and runs counter to the provisions of the Act.
Also read: With CAA Rules on Hold, Centre Invites Applications in 13 Districts Under 1955 Parent Act
IUML in its plea before the top court said that the Centre had, during the course of the hearing of its plea challenging the constitutional validity of CAA, submitted before the apex court and provided assurance that staying of the Amendment Act was not necessary since the rules of the Amendment Act had not been framed.
“However, the respondent Union, in a roundabout way, and in an attempt to circumvent the assurance given to this court, have sought to implement their malafide designs envisaged under the Amendment Act through the recently issued order dated May 28,” the plea said.
IUML submitted that if the Centre’s notification is implemented and citizenship is given to persons on the basis of their religion, and, thereafter, if this court strikes down the Amendment Act and Rules, whereby the act of providing citizenship on the basis of religion is declared void, “Then, to take back the citizenship of these persons, granted pursuant to the present order, will be a herculean task and would be near impossible to implement. In the event the said exercise is conducted, it would render the entire batch of writ petitions (challenging CAA) as infructuous,” the plea said.
The petition has sought directions to the Centre to stay any further proceedings pursuant to the May 28 order issued by the Union of India, Ministry of Home Affairs till such time the plea challenging CAA is pending……
#AceNewsReport – May.31: Professors and staff from Al-Biruni university were travelling through Charikar, the capital of Parwan province, about 70km (43 miles) north of the capital Kabul:
Afghanistan: ‘Bus blast kills three university staff and has seen increasing violence in recent weeks as the US and Nato prepare to withdraw all troops’ and NO group has claimed responsibility’
The deadline for the withdrawal is 11 September – 20 years to the day since the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. In the months which followed, the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan, forcing the Taliban – a hardline Islamist movement – from power and beginning an almost two-decade long war.
Saturday’s blast happened at around 15:15 local time (10:45 GMT), Bagram police reportedly said.
A spokesman for the ministry of higher education said some of the wounded teachers are in a critical condition. The university’s chancellor was also reportedly injured in the attack.
US and Nato officials have recently said that the Taliban has so far failed to live up to commitments to reduce violence in Afghanistan. The group has denied the allegation.
Students were killed as they left their classrooms. Most of the victims were girls.
On Tuesday Australia announced it was closing its embassy in Afghanistan due to the “increasingly uncertain security environment” in the country. Tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers have been killed and injured. This 2019 video tells their story.
#AceNewsReport – May.13: Afghanistan is seeing increasing violence as the US and Nato prepare to pull out remaining troops by 11 September:
KABUL: ‘Taliban capture Afghan district ahead of Eid ceasefire: The militants confirmed on Tuesday that they had captured Nerkh district in Wardak province in a “surprise attack” Nerkh is the second district in a week to fall’
“The district centre of Nerkh in Maidan Wardak province, the police headquarters, the intelligence department and a large army base there were all captured,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.
He added that “many enemy soldiers” had been killed or wounded.
Abdul Rahman Tariq, governor of the province, confirmed that the district had been captured and said Afghan troops had “tactically retreated from the district”.
The defence ministry said on Wednesday that it would launch an offensive to gain back the district.
The capture of Nerkh comes after militants took control of Borka district in the northern province of Baghlan on 5 May.
A three-day ceasefire, coinciding with the Muslim festival Eid, is set to begin on Thursday
The Taliban have stepped up assaults on the Afghan government this month.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says government forces are now fully capable of keeping insurgents at bay.
However, not everyone shares the optimism. Many believe the withdrawal could plunge the country back to the dark days of the Taliban era. Tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers have been killed and injured. This 2019 video tells their story.
#AceNewsReport – May.02: Dozens of people were hurt. Witnesses described roofs collapsing and victims being trapped under the debris:
Afghanistan car bomb kills 30 at guesthouse in Logar province: ‘The bomb went off late on Friday close to a guesthouse where the students were reportedly staying in Pul-e-Alam, the capital of eastern Logar province’
18 hours ago
No group has said it was behind the blast as people broke their fast in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.30: According to court documents, Saed Ismail Amiri, 38, of Granite Bay, was at various times either the owner or senior consultant of Assist Consultants Incorporated (ACI), an Afghan company that had received over $250 million in U.S. funded contracts since 2013. In or around January 2015, USAID, in connection with the U.S. effort to assist Afghanistan and its people, authorized the national power utility of Afghanistan, Da’ Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), to solicit bids on a U.S. funded contract to construct five electric power substations to connect Afghanistan’s Northeastern and Southeastern electric grid systems. Bids were sought only from companies that had substantial experience building electric power substations. Specifically, the contract criteria required bidders, such as ACI, to have previously worked on two electric substations of 220 kilovolts or more:
A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in a scheme to defraud the government of Afghanistan of over $100 million. These funds were provided to Afghanistan by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the purpose of constructing an electric grid in Afghanistan, in connection with the long-standing U.S. effort to strengthen that country’s basic infrastructure.
In 2015 and 2016, Amiri, ACI employees, and others engaged in a scheme to obtain the contract by submitting a false work history and fraudulent supporting documents in an effort to deceive DABS into believing that ACI met the required contract criteria. More specifically, in July 2015, ACI submitted a bid on the contract for $112,292,241.05, and ACI underbid its competitors by more than $20 million. In the bid, ACI stated that it had worked as a subcontractor to a prime contractor on two 220 kilovolt substations for a cement factory in Uganda and a textile company in Nigeria. In fact, the alleged prime contractor was a fictitious company that ACI had invented and controlled, ACI had never worked to build a substation in Africa, and neither the Ugandan cement factory nor the Nigerian textile company existed.
In February 2016, Amiri returned to his residence in the Los Angeles area, at which time DABS had contacted ACI and requested supporting documents to verify ACI’s work history. Amiri then sent emails to co-conspirators outside California, including emails in which he advised that some of them would need to go to Uganda and Nigeria to obtain false documents to respond to DABS. Amiri thereafter departed the United States and, in furtherance of the scheme, emailed DABS documents he knew were false and altered, including ACI’s purported subcontract to work on the Ugandan substation; coordinates of the substation; photographs; false bank records; and a false letter purporting to be from a Ugandan government official. After submitting the fake records to DABS, Amiri met with U.S. law enforcement at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. During that meeting, Amiri falsely stated, among other things, that he had learned the prior month that ACI had bid on the contract. Shortly thereafter, Amiri withdrew ACI’s bid. In a subsequent interview with law enforcement, Amiri also falsely stated that another ACI employee had submitted the false documents to DABS, when in truth and in fact, Amiri had emailed the false documents himself.
Amiri pleaded guilty to wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison of the Central District of California; Inspector General John F. Sopko of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR); and Acting Inspector General Thomas J. Ullom of the USAID Office of Inspector General (USAID-OIG) made the announcement.
SIGAR and USAID-OIG are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Matt Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Mitchell of the Central District of California are prosecuting the case.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.23: A collection of 33 artifacts seized from a New York-based art dealer who authorities say was one of the world’s most prolific smugglers of antiquities was turned over by the U.S. to the government of Afghanistan this week.
Relics seized from smugglers are returning to Afghanistan: The significance of the material is huge,” Roya Rahmani, the country’s ambassador to the U.S., said Wednesday. “Each one of these pieces are priceless depictions of our history.” According to Associated Press
Rahmani formally took control of the collection in a ceremony Monday in New York with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and Homeland Security Investigations, which recovered the artifacts as part of a larger investigation into the trafficking of antiquities from a number of countries.
Now, after briefly being displayed at the embassy in Washington, the masks, sculptures and other items, some from the second and third centuries, are en route to Kabul, where they are expected to go on display at the National Museum.
It’s the same museum where members of the Taliban destroyed artifacts in 2001 as part of a cultural rampage rooted in a fundamentalist version of Islam in which depictions of the human form are considered offensive.
The Taliban is now out of power. But it controls much of the country outside of Kabul amid stalled talks with the government and the looming withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces after two decades of war. Rahmani concedes it’s a delicate time.
“However, what I know is that our security forces are determined to defend our people,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The government is committed to do its part for peace and stability in a way that would bring durable peace.”
They may get a chance earlier than expected. Germany’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that discussions are underway among military planners with the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Kabul for a possible withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan as early as July 4.
President Joe Biden has already said the U.S. would remove all its troops by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks that prompted the American invasion to dislodge the Taliban in 2001 for allowing al-Qaida to operate from Afghanistan.
Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Taliban had already become internationally notorious for enforcing a harsh form of Islamic law that kept women out of public view and for destroying — with rockets, shells and dynamite — the famed giant, sixth century sandstone Buddha statues built into a cliff in Bamiyan province.
The destruction of the statues was on the ambassador’s mind as she prepared to ship the artifacts to her homeland, not only because a mural of the sandstone Buddhas adorns the room at the embassy where visitors gathered this week to see the relics.
Rahmani, her country’s first female ambassador to the United States, recalls that she wept when she first learned what the Taliban had done to the Buddhas. It was an important moment, she says, because she had pledged never to let anyone see her cry as a way to defy the male-dominated culture of her homeland.
“I broke my vow,” she said. “I really cried hard. I wept and wept.”
In contrast, the items are “returning to a government and people who cherish their past” and will make sure they are preserved for future generations, Rahmani said. She doesn’t expect the Taliban, if they return to power, would dare to destroy them.
“Our security forces and our government would not let that happen,” she said. “We are determined not to let that happen.”
Like the statues, some of the recovered antiquities depict Buddha. There’s also a marble statue of Shiva and a Greek mask. The artifacts reflect the multicultural influences on Afghanistan, an important center of trade and commerce, according to Fredrik Hiebert, an archaeologist and National Geographic Fellow who studies the country.
There are at least 2,600 archaeological sites around the country, said Hiebert, who helped authenticate some of the items after they had been confiscated by federal agents and discuss the relics at a gathering Tuesday at the embassy.
“Afghanistan is one of the richest countries in archaeology and history in the world,” he said. And there’s very good reason, of course. For 6,000 years there’s been civilization based in Afghanistan.”
That also makes it an attractive target to looters, which is how the items eventually ended up in the United States.
In 2007, Homeland Security Investigations, an agency that deals with cases of smuggling that traverse international borders, received information about looted artifacts brought to the New York City area from India.
It eventually led to the indictment of a New York art gallery owner, Subhash Kapoor, and seven others as well as the seizure of more than 2,600 artifacts, valued at more than $140 million. He is jailed in India on charges and faces extradition to the U.S. when that case is resolved.
In the meantime, the U.S. government is working to repatriate the looted material, much of which was found in a series of raids on storage units in the New York City area.
They have already returned relics to Nepal and Sri Lanka and soon will turn over artifacts to Thailand, said Stephen Lee, the supervisor special agent in charge of HSI’s cultural property, arts and antiquities unit. The 33 items being sent to Afghanistan, valued at around $1.8 million, are the first to go back there as part of this investigation.
“They belong to the people of Afghanistan,” Lee said. “That’s their cultural history.”
Afghans face pivotal moment as US prepares to ‘close the book’ Two decades on, what does this “book” say about the country that some 10,000 US-led Nato forces will soon leave behind Biden ON YouTube in 4-hours here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Nsj4wfg1c
VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Nsj4wfg1c
It’s a dramatically different country than the shattered land and pariah state of the Taliban toppled in the US-led invasion of 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
But this withdrawal window is decisive. It could accelerate a push towards peace, or a descent into violence that shreds the more open society which has been taking root – however slowly and unevenly – over the past two decades.
“The best possible outcome to expect is that this withdrawal timeline serves as a catalyst and a mechanism to pressure Afghan parties to reach a political settlement by September or face a bloody Syrian-style civil war,” warns Tamim Asey, Executive Chairman of the Institute of War and Peace Studies in Kabul.
Few would have expected this last chapter of the US military mission to read like this: a triumphal Taliban poised to return to power on the battlefield or through peace talks where they hold most of the cards; much-vaunted “gains” slipping away by the day in a wave of targeted killings of the educated, active, and ambitious lifeblood of an emerging society.
Many Afghans now fear a terrible tumbling towards civil war in a conflict already described as one of the most violent in the world.
“I worry most when timelines are attached to their pullout, but not conditions,” regrets an Afghan human rights activist. “The Taliban will just wait them out and won’t get into substantive issues.”
It’s a view echoed by others.
“I wish President Biden had conditioned the troop withdrawal timeline with zero killings on the ground by all parties between May and September,” reflects Orzala Nemat, director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU).
AFPUS and other Nato troops have long been the target of Taliban attacks
But the senior administration official who briefed journalists on the pullout was adamant: “The president has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”
There’s also a pledge to “use our full toolkit to ensure the future that the Afghan people are seeking has the best chance of coming about”.
But Washington’s best bargaining chip has been its military might. The departure of all foreign troops now bolstering Afghan government forces has been the Taliban’s single-minded pursuit as their fighters keep inching back, district by district, across a growing number of provinces.
There were no good options on President Joe Biden’s desk when he inherited last year’s US Taliban deal which committed Washington to a 1 May troop pullout in exchange for Taliban security guarantees and a vaguer commitment to reduce violence and pursue peace talks. Is peace with the Taliban possible? (2019 report)
The security of the United States – the reason that first brought its troops in – had to be a deciding factor. And other Nato forces are expected to follow the US lead.
“This is not 2001, it is 2021,” was how a senior US official replied when questioned about the continuing threat posed by groups like al-Qaeda and Islamic State which still have a presence in Afghanistan.
“We judge the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan to be at a level we can address without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban.”
“The decision was always going to come down to a broader political judgment about American interests writ large and from that perspective, the decision makes sense,” says Laurel Miller, director of the Asia Programme at the International Crisis Group and a former US State Department official.
But regret quickly creeps in.
“It’s a tragedy that the US didn’t get serious about trying to stitch together a peace process in Afghanistan much earlier, before the thread ran out,” comments Miller, who had been involved in some of the first tentative efforts exploring negotiated solutions.
Now it’s the seriousness of Afghan leaders, on all sides of this conflict, which is paramount.
“The voices of the Afghan people are very clear and unified in calling for peace, justice, and the preservation of national and democratic values,” emphasises Nemat of AREU. “But the political elite are still trying to maximise their share of power in a power-grabbing opportunity just like 1992.”
History throws a long dark shadow in Afghanistan. Many of the same power brokers and warlords who turned their guns on each other in a frenzy of infighting after the Soviet troop pullout of 1988 have been given pride of place in a new negotiating process which has been taking shape.
Getty ImagesMany fear women’s rights in Afghanistan will suffer at the hands of warlords and the Taliban
There’s an argument that only they have the clout to strike a deal with the Taliban. But there’s also anxiety that they can’t and won’t speak for the Afghanistan of 2021 including victims of war crimes, women’s activists, and broader civil society.
There’s a jumble of peace plans from political rivals, including a grand blueprint from President Ashraf Ghani’s office. A High Council for National Reconciliation has to first reconcile competing perspectives in Kabul.
As for the Taliban, they’re still fixated on the US’s broken pledge to pull out completely by 1 May.
“Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan,” announced Taliban spokesman Dr Mohammed Naeem in a Twitter post a few hours after news of the US decision broke.
The conference in question now is a “high level and inclusive conference” hosted by Turkey, Qatar, and the United Nations, set for Istanbul on 24 April. It’s a crucial piece in the Biden administration’s new Afghan jigsaw. The UN is being brought centre stage as efforts are stepped up to jump-start peace talks as well as forge a consensus among regional powers, each with their own Afghan proxies.
In the Gulf state of Qatar, where teams of Taliban and Afghan government negotiators have been meeting on and off since September, some Taliban were heard using the English idiom “the ball’s now in our court” in reaction to news of a delayed US pullout. They’ve always insisted they’re in pursuit of peace.
“The Taliban leadership has shown no sign of wanting peace, and every sign of wanting to pursue a route to power through war,” assesses Kate Clark, Co-Director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
The traditional “fighting season” looms amid reports of a blistering Taliban campaign in store; Afghan government forces are also braced for battle.
“Who preserves the gains of the last 20 years if there’s worsening civil war or where the Taliban capture territory?” asks Clark. “Where there’s conflict, freedoms evaporate; where the Taliban rule they are as authoritarian as before, and few girls go to school above primary age in Taliban-controlled areas.”
Mindful of this hot button issue, the US is at pains to point it will “work with other countries using diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian tools to protect the gains made by Afghan women”.
“Biden wants to get out of the Afghan war, but not Afghanistan,” says Asey of the Institute of War and Peace Studies in an effort to present a brave face at this pivotal juncture.
As the US seeks to “close the book” on its longest war, Afghan minds are now sharply focused on the next chapter of their own longer war without end.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.08: Khan allegedly led a global human smuggling operation that used fraudulent documents and international travel routes to facilitate the entry of unauthorized individuals into the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are committed to holding accountable those who seek personal monetary gain by compromising and undermining the integrity of the immigration process.”
Pakistani National Indicted & Sanctioned for Human Smuggling Conspiracy: ‘ According to court documents, between January 2015 and December 2020, Abid Ali Khan, 40, allegedly organized, led, and worked, with others in his Pakistan-based smuggling network to facilitate the travel of undocumented individuals to the United States.
Khan allegedly disregarded the fact that the individuals did not have prior authorization to enter the United States and that their entry into the United States would be illegal. Khan also allegedly encouraged, induced, and brought undocumented individuals to the United States for commercial advantage and financial gain’
“Abid Ali Khan is alleged to have organized and led an international organization that, in exchange for monetary payment, facilitated the illegal smuggling of individuals through various countries to the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As this case demonstrates, the department continues to identify and prosecute those who seek to profit from conduct that undermines our system of legal immigration and imperils the lives of those being smuggled, often under dangerous conditions.”
Treasury Sanctions Pakistan-based Transnational Human Smuggling Organization Involved in Smuggling Migrants to the United States
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Pakistani national Abid Ali Khan and the Abid Ali Khan Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, “Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations,” as amended. The Abid Ali Khan TCO is a human smuggling organization based in Nowshera, Pakistan, that has facilitated the unlawful smuggling of foreign nationals, including foreign nationals who may pose a national security risk to the United States or its interests, into the United States using various travel routes through Latin America since at least 2015. Additionally, OFAC designated three individuals and one entity associated with the Abid Ali Khan TCO.
“Treasury’s designation of this human smuggling organization as a significant Transnational Criminal Organization is an important step, taken alongside our partners, towards disrupting Abid Ali Khan operations based in Pakistan and around the world,” said Andrea Gacki, Director of the Office of the Foreign Assets Control. “The Abid Ali Khan TCO should not be allowed to prey on the vulnerable and take advantage of the U.S. financial system.”
Today’s action was conducted in close coordination with Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Miami Field Office, the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the HSI Human Smuggling Unit, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center, under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force program, along with the U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Southern Command, and other U.S. government partners.
“Abid Ali Kahn allegedly organized and leads a widespread smuggling organization that facilitates the illegal smuggling of individuals through various countries and to the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This case is another example of the department’s continued work to prosecute those who seek to profit from thwarting our system of legal immigration, jeopardizing our national security, and imperiling the lives of the persons being smuggled under dangerous conditions.”
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami is committed to prosecuting individuals who pose a threat to national security and our critical infrastructure, including exploiting our global financial systems through their smuggling networks,” said HSI Miami Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury. “A recent HSI-led investigation revealed the Pakistani-based Abid Khan human smuggling network, operating in the Middle East and South America, is exploiting systemic vulnerabilities in order to move people with nefarious motivations into the United States and elsewhere.”
Human smuggling is a profitable business. Based on migrants’ accounts of how much they paid smugglers, media reports have estimated Latin American smuggling networks generate at least $150 million and as much as $350 million a year — not counting payments to corrupt officials, local agents, or others on the U.S.–Mexico border who exploit the desperation of migrants. For the individuals who engage in this business, the safety and security of their clients matter far less than the profit they can make, and an untold number of migrants make the dangerous decision to embark on an irregular migration journey based on smugglers’ misrepresentations about U.S. border policy.
Pakistani national Abid Ali Khan (Khan) is the leader of the Abid Ali Khan TCO, a prolific human smuggling organization based in Nowshera, Pakistan. Khan and members of his TCO operate a global network of human smugglers that are responsible for the international smuggling of migrants into the United States. Khan and members of his TCO coordinate the smuggling of foreign nationals to the United States for an average cost of approximately the equivalent of $20,000 USD per individual; this sum includes, but is not limited to, fees to procure fraudulent or counterfeit documents, make payoffs to corrupt officials, secure lodging along smuggling route, and provide payments to facilitators in various countries. Abid Ali Khan TCO often provides travelers with fraudulently obtained passports from different countries to facilitate his clients’ global movement and smuggling to the United States. The Abid Ali Khan TCO frequently utilizes a common route of travel that begins in Pakistan or Afghanistan, transiting through certain South and Central American countries before arriving at the southern border of the United States.
OFAC is also designating three Khan associates for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, or for having acted or having purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Abid Ali Khan TCO. Afghan national Redi Hussein Khal Gul serves as Khan’s secretary, performing functions that include, but are not limited to, initial contact with clients, travel facilitation, and obtaining fraudulent documents for the migrants. Pakistani national Shakeel Karim is an employee of Khan and uses Friends Travel Inn PVT LTD to coordinate travel for migrants. Pakistani national Mohammed Choudry Ikram Waraich serves as Khan’s contact in the Middle East and facilitates travel into the United States. All three individuals are linked to the procurement or use of fraudulent documents for travel or asylum applications, which can significantly impair appropriate immigration vetting processes.
In addition to the national security concerns, the practice of smuggling-for-profit and the facilitation of fraudulent documentation undermines the credibility of the U.S. asylum system, damaging public confidence in the vetting process, and jeopardizing access to protection for vulnerable persons fleeing conflict, famine, and persecution.
As a result of today’s action, all assets of Abid Ali Khan the Abid Ali Khan TCO, and the three individuals named above, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of Abid Ali Khan, the Abid Ali Khan TCO, or any other blocked or designated persons.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami is committed to prosecuting individuals who pose a threat to national security and our critical infrastructure, including exploiting our global financial systems through their smuggling networks,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of HSI Miami. “A recent HSI-led investigation revealed the Pakistani-based Abid Khan human smuggling network, operating in the Middle East and southwest Asia, is allegedly exploiting systemic vulnerabilities in order to move people into the United States and elsewhere.”
“This outcome is a result of the outstanding dedication and commitment by case agents and the effective partnership between HSI and the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, including significant contributions made by CBP’s Counter Networks Division, members of the HSI Human Smuggling Unit and other partners,” said Chief Ramon Romo of the HSI Human Smuggling Unit. “Their collaborative efforts make our country a safer place.”
Khan allegedly accepted payment in exchange for planning and coordinating the international travel for foreign nationals to travel from Pakistan through multiple countries, to include Brazil and the United States, allegedly offered or provided false documents for foreign nationals to use for travel through multiple countries, and allegedly instructed foreign nationals that his co-conspirators would facilitate various parts of the travel between Pakistan and the United States.
In addition to the criminal charges filed against Khan, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced today that it has designated Khan, the Khan Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), and several other members of his smuggling network in connection with their involvement in a global network of human smugglers and the smuggling of undocumented noncitizens to the United States. The Treasury Department’s sanctions require the blocking and reporting of all assets held by Khan, his associates, and the Khan TCO in the U.S., or in the possession and control of U.S. persons. The sanctions also prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons, or persons within (or transiting) the United States, that involve any property or interests of Khan, his associates or the Khan TCO.
The Department of Justice recognizes OFAC’s efforts to help stop Khan and his network from allegedly continuing to smuggle persons to the United States.
The case is being investigated by HSI Miami, with assistance from the HSI Human Smuggling Unit; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Department of Homeland Security Homeland Identities, Targeting, and Exploitation Center (HITEC); HSI Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program; HSI Attaché Panama; and HSI Attaché Brasilia.
The investigation is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence, and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jay A. Bauer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Walutes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.23: The “appalling cost” of the conflict has resulted in the suffering of at least 26,025 children between 2005 and 2019, according to the organization: Ahead of its donor conference in Geneva this week, Save the Children declared Afghanistan one of the world’s most dangerous countries for children and called on nations to cease using explosive weapons in populated areas:
Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children’s country director in Afghanistan, described a grim picture.
Imagine living with the constant fear that today might be the day that your child is killed in a suicide attack or an airstrike. This is the grim reality for tens of thousands of Afghan parents whose children have been killed or injured.
Violence has increased in Afghanistan as peace talks have stalled and US troops have begun withdrawing from the region. In 2019, Afghanistan accounted for the highest number of child fatalities (874) and injuries (2,275) of all global conflicts examined in the group’s report.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.22: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a daylong round of talks with Gulf Arab leaders and representatives from the Taliban on Saturday, conversations that come as the United States moves to pull its troops out of war-torn Afghanistan: Pompeo met with the Taliban’s senior leadership as part of ongoing negotiations hosted by the Qatari government in Doha: Washington Beacon reports
Pompeo also talked to leaders in Doha and the United Arab Emirates about the ongoing threat posed by Iran and Trump administration efforts in its final months to further tighten the economic noose on Tehran: Gulf Arab leaders are already nervous about a Biden administration due to its vow to reenter the landmark nuclear deal Iran and provide it with a new wave of cash assets. While the Trump administration has leaned into its ties with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, it is expected the Biden administration will pursue a policy centered on making Iran a more prominent regional player: