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Islamic World News ( 14 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Afghan Activists in US Protest against ‘Pakistan-Sponsored Taliban’; Call for Sanctions on Pakistan to Protect the World from Its Active Sponsoring Of Terrorists

New Age Islam News Bureau

14 February 2022


On eve of Afghan Liberation Day from Russia, Afghan activists in the USA demonstrated, on Sunday, in front of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC


• Respect Muslims’ Rights, Grand Mufti of Oman Urges Indian Authorities, Slams Harassment of Hijab-Wearing Girls and Women

• Indian Muslim Students Say Hijab Ban Forces Choice of Religion or Education

• US Steps into Hijab Row in India despite Islamophobia At Home

• Muslim Immigrant Families Protest against Swedish Agency for Taking Their Children

 South Asia

• Taliban Govt Invokes Ahmed Shah Abdali, Names New Military Unit ‘Panipat’

• No High School Graduates in 20 Yrs from Afghanistan's Paktika Province

• Iran’s 18th consignment of humanitarian aids arrives in Afghanistan

• People of Australia donate over $1 M to Red Cross for Afghan aid

• Afghan smugglers hike prices, expand networks after Taliban takeover


Arab World

• Arab Coalition asks civilians in ministries in Yemen's Sanaa to evacuate

• UAE says Turkish president's visit to open new page in bilateral relations

• Islamic State kills Iraqi forces in sparsely populated Anbar desert

• Syria regime shelling on Idlib kills six: Monitor

• Iraq foils attack against anti-Daesh coalition convoy

• Turkiye 'neutralizes' 4 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq



• AIMPLB Asks Muslim Women to Dispel Myths about ‘Hijab’ and ‘Purdah’

• Islamophobic Comments To Garner Hindu Votes; Will There Be Jai Shri Ram Or Walekum Salam?

• Country Will Be Run By Statute, Not Sharia: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath

• BJP Won't Stop At Hijab, Will Erase All Muslim Symbols: Mehbooba Mufti

• In Muslim belt, support for parties divided along community lines


North America

• Biden admin responsible for chaotic Afghanistan exit: Pentagon report

• US F-22 fighter jets arrive in UAE following Houthi attacks

• Ex-Afghan president: Biden order on frozen funds an ‘atrocity’



• French military kills 40 terrorists in operation with Burkina Faso

• Cyprus minister pins blame for migration ‘emergency’ on Turkey



• Jamaat-e-Islami Striving For Enforcement of Sharia, Says Siraj

• Breaking Terrorists-Supporters Nexus Imperative To Defeat Terrorism: COAS

• Boom time in Pakistan for US firearms discarded in Afghanistan

• Pak PM Calls for Strict Action after Mob Lynches Man for ‘Blasphemy’ in Khanewal

• Two TTP men arrested in search operation in Chaman

• Imran criticises war on terror as misguided venture

• Pakistan to raise use of Iranian soil by Baloch terrorists as Iranian interior minister arrives today


Southeast Asia

• Aid for Taliban but Not Malaysia’s Minorities? Guan Eng Asks Putrajaya

• 9 dead in feud between Philippine Muslim clans

• Mujahid to ‘clueless’ Zailah: focus on policies, not marriage advice

• Newborn stabbed to death by teen mum laid to rest in Kemaman



• Controversial Far-Right Jewish Lawmaker’s Visit Sparks Clashes In Jerusalem

• Venezuelan Envoy Calls for Formation of Bloc with Iran against US

• Palestinian official threatens ‘open conflict’ with Israel

• Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in West Bank clashes

• Nuclear talks harder as West ‘pretends’ to take initiative: Iran official

• Hamas says Israeli settler violence ‘playing with fire’



• Sudan’s Military Leader Lauds Intelligence Ties with Israel

• Sudan’s Burhan dismisses sanctions threats, says Israel visits not political

• UN adviser tells Libya it must preserve calm, stability

• Tunisian president cements power over judiciary

• False information spread via social media endangers Somalia's political stability

• Supporting force of Libyan army condemns election of Fathi Bashagha

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Afghan Activists in US Protest against ‘Pakistan-Sponsored Taliban’; Call for Sanctions On Pakistan To Protect The World From Its Active Sponsoring Of Terrorists


On eve of Afghan Liberation Day from Russia, Afghan activists in the USA demonstrated, on Sunday, in front of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC


14 February, 2022

Washington [US], February 14 (ANI): On eve of Afghan Liberation Day from Russia, Afghan activists in the USA demonstrated, on Sunday, in front of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC and at the White House calling for the Second Liberation Day of Afghanistan, this time from the clutches of “Pakistan-sponsored Taliban”.

Condemning the August 15, 2021 invasion of Afghanistan by the Pakistani ISI-sponsored “terrorist group Taliban”, the demonstrators called for sanctions on Pakistan to protect the world from its active sponsoring of terrorists.

The demonstrators also called upon the Biden administration and the global community to protect the human rights and rights of Afghan women.

Demonstrators were carrying placards and slogans against Pakistan. The slogans read — Free Afghanistan from Invasion of terrorist groups — Taliban are terrorists sponsored by Pakistan ISI.

The protest was led by Khalida Nawabi of the organization Unheard Afghan Voices and many activists joined the demonstrations braving the inclement weather and snow.

They were joined by other Afghan activists from the Afghan Diaspora. The activists also demanded the immediate release of women protesters held by the Taliban.

The Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, causing the US-backed government to step down and the regime faces the challenge of getting recognition from the global community. (ANI)

Source: The Print

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Respect Muslims’ Rights, Grand Mufti of Oman Urges Indian Authorities, Slams Harassment of Hijab-Wearing Girls and Women


The Grand Mufti of Oman slammed recent anti-Muslims moves, especially harassment of hijab-wearing girls and women, in India.


February 14, 2022

The Grand Mufti of Oman slammed recent anti-Muslims moves, especially harassment of hijab-wearing girls and women, in India.

Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Khalili in a post on Twitter called for an end to pressures and discriminations against India’s Muslims, reported.

He voiced solidarity with Indian Muslims and criticized the New Delhi government for failing to stop the anti-Muslim moves.

The cleric said when India was ruled by Muslim rulers for centuries, the rights of followers of other faiths used to be respected and the rulers treated others with tolerance, justice and uprightness.

He urged India’s government to respect the rights of Muslim minority in the South Asian country.

Last week, local media reported that several schools in the Indian state of Karnataka had denied entry to Muslim girls wearing hijab, citing an education ministry order.

Karnataka’s chief minister Basavaraj Bommai announced on Tuesday that all high schools in the state would be closed for three days. He also appealed for calm.

Female Muslim students say wearing hijab is a fundamental right to religion guaranteed by the constitution.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) governs Karnataka, where 12% of the population is Muslim. The ban has galvanized fears among the Muslim community about what they say is increasing persecution under the Hindu nationalist government.

Source: ABNA24

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Indian Muslim Students Say Hijab Ban Forces Choice of Religion Or Education


A woman wears India's tri-colour (national flag) hijab during a protest against the hijab ban imposed in the few colleges in Karnataka, outside Mira Road Railway Station, in Mumbai on Friday.

Image Credit: Nitin Lawate


Feb 12, 2022

UDIPI: Ayesha Imthiaz, a devout Indian Muslim who considers wearing a hijab an expression of devotion to the Prophet Mohammad, says a move by her college to expel hijab-wearing girls is an insult that will force her to chose between religion and education.

"The humiliation of being asked to leave my classroom for wearing a head scarf by college officials has shaken my core belief," said the 21-year-old student from southern Karnataka's Udupi district, where protests over the head covering ban began.

"My religion has been questioned and insulted by a place which I had considered as a temple of education," she told Reuters.

"It is more like telling us you chose between your religion or education, that's a wrong thing," she said after studying for five years at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial college in Udupi.

Several Muslim girls who protested the ban had received threatening calls and were forced to stay indoors, she added.

College officials say students are allowed to wear the hijab on campus and only asked them to take it off inside the classroom.

Udupi is one of three districts in Karnataka's religiously sensitive coastal region, which is a stronghold of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The stand-off has increased fear and anger among minority Muslims, who say the country's constitution grants them the freedom to wear what they want. Protests over the ban have escalated, with hundreds demonstrating this month in Kolkata and Chennai.

Last week, a judge at the state's high court referred petitions challenging the ban to a larger panel.

The issue is being closely watched internationally as a test of religious freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF) on Friday said the hijab bans "violate religious freedom and stigmatize and marginalize women and girls."

In response, India's foreign ministry on Saturday said outside comments over internal issues were not welcome and the matter was under judicial review.

Imthiaz and six other Muslim girls protesting the ban say they are determined to fight for their religious freedom in the face of some hardline Hindu students and even some of their friends.

"It is really hurtful to see our own friends going against us and telling 'I have a problem with you wearing the hijab'...its affected our bonds and mental health," Imthiaz said.

Source: Times Of India

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US Steps into Hijab Row in India despite Islamophobia At Home


Representative Image


Feb 12, 2022

WASHINGTON: Notwithstanding its own struggles at home with Islamophobia, the United States stepped into the hijab row in India, with a leading US official saying the government should not determine permissibility of religious clothing.

"Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one's religious attire. The Indian state of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing. Hijab bans in schools violate religious freedom and stigmatize and marginalize women and girls," Rashad Hussain, the Biden administration's Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom tweeted on Friday, as the issue inflamed opinion across the world.

Hussain, a former Obama White House aide, is of Indian-origin, his family having emigrated from Bihar; his father, Mohammad Akbar Hussain, was a mining engineer. and his mother Ruqaiya, his older sister Lubna and his younger brother Saad are medical doctors.

Criticism of the developments in Karnataka also came from the Muslim civil rights and advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which said the hijab ban is "just one more example of the mistreatment of Indian Muslims and the Islamophobic actions that nation’s government either carries out, ignores or excuses.”

Leading public intellectual Noam Chomsky was among those who came down on the Modi government, accusing it at a Congressional briefing of "systematically dismantling Indian secular democracy," and turning Muslims into a "persecuted minority."

New Delhi pushed back against the charges, accusing critics of "motivated comments" that did take into account India's "constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as our democratic ethos and polity, (which) are the context in which issues are considered and resolved."

Asserting that "a matter regarding dress code in some educational institutions in the State of Karnataka is under judicial examination by the High Court of Karnataka," external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "Those who know India well would have a proper appreciation of these realities. Motivated comments on our internal issues are not welcome."

The US is not on particularly solid ground with regards to lecturing the world on Islamophobia with numerous and frequent infractions at home, including an uptick in assaults on Sikhs and other minorities, including anti-semitic attacks. The CAIR itself recently filed a complaint with a United States District Court against a Missouri gun range that discriminated against a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

According to the complaint, Rania Barakat, a hijab wearing Muslim woman, was denied service at the Frontier Justice gun range in Missouri and told she would have to remove it due to a policy at the range that banned headgear with the exception of front-facing baseball caps.

The hijab issue is also a flashpoint in Canada and France. CAIR recently highlighted the case of Fatemeh Anvari, a grade 3 teacher who was told she would no longer be allowed to teach at Chelsea Elementary School in Quebec because of Bill 21, a state law that bans the wearing of religious symbols by certain government employees in positions of authority while at work.

"Clearly discriminatory laws like Bill 21 deny the religious freedom of Canadian Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Sikhs who wear religious attire as part of their faith. It is unconscionable that a nation claiming to uphold international norms of human rights and freedom allows this unjust law to remain in place," CAIR said in its critique.

Source: Times Of India

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Muslim Immigrant Families Protest against Swedish Agency for Taking Their Children


Muslim immigrant families in western Sweden protested Sunday against state social services for allegedly unjustly taking their children from their homes.


Atila Altuntas  



Muslim immigrant families in western Sweden protested Sunday against state social services for allegedly unjustly taking their children from their homes.

Protesters holding photos of their children gathered in Gothenburg's Gustaf Adolf Torg Square and chanted slogans such as "Give us our children back," "Our children were taken from us, we were subjected to injustice" and "We want justice."

Swedish officials say that children are removed from their families under certain circumstances but have denied allegations of "kidnapping" and abuse of children.

Mikail Yuksel, head of the Swedish Nuance Party (Partiet Nyans), told Anadolu Agency that he supports the protest and sympathizes with families whose children have been taken away from their families, calling it a tragedy.

Yuksel said that many people sought his help to have their rights protected from state social services. While dismissing social media reports saying Muslim children were taken and given to Christian families as “rumors,” he said discrimination plays a role in the process.

"The social services agency's justification for taking a child from a Swedish family is not the same as the reason for taking a child from a Muslim and immigrant family. Formidable prejudices come into play for Muslim and immigrant families," he explained.

A report has been prepared by the country's Discrimination Bureau showing discrimination against immigrant families whose children have been taken away, he said.

Violence, abuse found, but state denies ‘kidnapping,’ other claims

Anders Ygeman, the minister for migration and integration, also said they are discussing the issue through dialogue with Muslim NGOs.

Ygeman also denied reports that Muslim children in Sweden had been “kidnapped” from their families.

Sunday’s demonstration followed up on a protest last week in front of the parliament in Stockholm in which Muslim families whose children had been taken away from them by social services accused it of mistreatment and abuse.

Separately, the city of Falkoping, western Sweden announced that it had ended a contract with a company that provides child care and is responsible for removing children from their families, state radio SR reported.

The Swedish Health and Care Inspectorate said in a statement that it had found violence and suspected sexual abuse associated with the company’s work.

Last Thursday, the Swedish Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkiye, denied claims of mistreatment and abuse of Muslim children by social services.

"A very aggressive rumor campaign is currently underway on various social media – both in Sweden and abroad – alleging that Swedish social services kidnap, imprison and sexually exploit Muslim children. This information is, of course, seriously misleading and the sole aim is to create tensions and spread mistrust," it said in a statement.

The statement added: "Swedish social services’ activities are governed primarily by the Social Services Act, which is based on the principle of voluntariness. However, complementary provisions in the Care of Young Persons Act make it possible in certain cases to decide on measures even without consent.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia

Taliban Govt invokes Ahmed Shah Abdali, names new military unit ‘Panipat’

Pia Krishnankutty

12 February, 2022

New Delhi: That the same word, or reference could imply different things to different people was highlighted by the Taliban when it announced the inauguration of its new military unit in the country’s Nangarhar province — the Panipat operational unit.

The name draws inspiration from a famous historical battle that was fought in the 18th century and saw the Maratha army being defeated by the forces of an Afghan ruler.

The Kabul-based media website Aamaj News reported Friday that the unit was named after the Third Battle of Panipat, fought between the Maratha Empire and the invading Afghan army of Ahmad Shah Abdali (and his Indian allies) in 1761. Abdali had won the battle, and it is estimated that 60,000–70,00 people were killed in the fighting, while many were taken prisoners.

In India though, many still talk of the valour displayed by the Maratha soldiers in the battle. It had also inspired the Bollywood period drama, Panipat, in 2019, which dwelled heavily on the valour of the brave Marathas and did a great job of churning nationalist sentiments.

The film, however, prompted a letter from the Afghanistan embassy expressing concerns to New Delhi over how a distorted depiction of the Afghan ruler might hurt the sentiments of people in Afghanistan. Panipat had also drawn ire from Jats in Rajasthan, causing theatres in Jaipur to stop screening the film.

Now the naming of a new military unit as ‘Panipat’ by the Talibans could be seen as a “clear sign” to Hindus in India, more so as it comes two days after Taliban’s Deputy spokesperson Inamullah Samangani voiced support for Muslim girls in Karnataka, engaged in a legal battle with their educational institution for the right of wearing a hijab in classrooms.

“Indian Muslim girls struggle for Hijab shows that Hijab is not an Arab, Iranian, Egyptian or Pakistani culture, but an Islamic value for which Muslim girls around the world, especially in the secular world, sacrifice with different types and defend their religious value,” Samangani had said in a tweet.

The US also criticised the hijab ban in Karnataka Saturday, to which India replied that it is an internal matter.

India-Afghan relations post Taliban

The name of the new unit has also sparked social media interest.

A Twitter user by the name Islam Paal, who identifies as a “proud” citizen under the Taliban regime, said the new Panipat military unit by saying it is a “clear sign” to Hindus.

“Hindus should take this as a clear sign. We haven’t forgotten our ancestors. Muskan sister, we hear your cries (sic),” he said.

Muskan Khan, a 19-year-old student from Karnataka’s Mandya Pre-University (PU), has become one of the major faces of the ongoing hijab row, after a video of her standing up to alleged hecklers in saffron shawls went viral.

Ever since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan last August, New Delhi and Kabul have shared ups and downs in relations.

In October last year, Taliban leader Anas Haqqani visited the tomb of Turkish ruler Mahmud Ghaznavi in Afghanistan and referred to him as a “Muslim warrior” who “smashed the idol of Somnath”.

Source: The Print

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No high school graduates in 20 yrs from Afghanistan's Paktika province

Feb 14, 2022

KABUL: Due to the lack of a proper education system in place, there have been no high school graduates across five districts in Afghanistan's Paktika province since the last 20 years, according to residents.

The districts are Worombai, Tarwi, Dila Khoshamand, Naka and Barmal, TOLO News said in a report on Sunday.

Paktika is located along the Durand Line -- the de-facto border between Pakistan and Afghnaistan.

Since the past 20 years, the education and health sectors of Paktika were yet to be properly despite billions of dollars being provided by the international community as part of the humanitarian support to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the residents said that families whose economic conditions are good send their children to educational institutions in the provincial capital Sharana, but those who struggle with severe economic conditions cannot.

"No school has been constructed in our district. Our youth migrated to other countries," Tolo News quoted Zahid, a resident of Barmal district, as saying.

"There was no school in Khoshamand district during the former government's time. The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) should construct us a school," said another resident Mohammad Daud.

The tribal elders called on the Islamic Emirate to construct schools and provide educational opportunities for the residents of these districts.

"We don't have any high school graduates in far areas and some districts of Paktika. We call on the Islamic Emirate officials to construct schools for us," said Abdul Rahim, a tribal elder in Khoshamand.

Source: Times Of India

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Iran’s 18th consignment of humanitarian aids arrives in Afghanistan

14 Feb 2022

Iran’s embassy in Kabul announced that the country’s 18th consignment of humanitarian aid consists of cooking oil, flour, and rice arrived in Ghazni province on Monday, February 14, 2022.

The Kabul-based embassy in a series of Twitter posts said that they have so far delivered aid to people in need in ten provinces namely Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Kabul, Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Panjshir.

The aid comes a day after Australia announced that the people have collected $1 million to Red Cross for aid in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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People of Australia donate over $1 M to Red Cross for Afghan aid

14 Feb 2022

To strengthen the operations and support the Red Cross in Afghanistan where millions of people are subject to starvation, Aussies have donated one million dollars to be used in the war-ravaged country.

Australian Red Cross Head of International Humanitarian Programs Adrian Prouse said Afghanistan was experiencing a “man-made catastrophe and that essential services were on the verge of collapse.

“Essential services are on the brink of collapse and the people of Afghanistan, in particular the women and children, are bearing the brunt of harsh international policies that have placed the country into economic free fall,” Prouse said.

Adrian Prouse thanked the Australian people for the donation and called on the government to expedite the remainder of its $100 million pledge in aid to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Australian Red Cross has also asked the Federal government to increase the number of Afghan refugees to the country by 20,000.

Australia last month announced 15,000 visas for Afghan people that will be provided to the people over the next four years.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan smugglers hike prices, expand networks after Taliban takeover

14 February ,2022

As a female prosecutor in Afghanistan, Shafiqa Sae knew she had to flee for her life when the Taliban seized power – what she did not realise was just how much it would cost.

Smugglers are exploiting Afghans’ desperation to leave the country, hiking prices after demand grew for their services and borders became harder to cross.

Afghans who have fled to Pakistan since the Taliban takeover on August 15 last year said members of the Pakistani security forces had also milked them for bribes and some landlords had doubled or trebled rents.

“Everyone is taking advantage of our plight to make money off us,” Sae told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

The Taliban’s lightning capture of the country has prompted a mass exodus of Afghans fleeing persecution and poverty.

But border closures by Pakistan, Iran and other neighbouring countries, combined with the difficulty of obtaining a passport or visa, have pushed many to turn to smugglers.

Those making the risky journeys often take gruelling desert and mountain treks. Some tunnel under border fences. Others use fake IDs.

The Mixed Migration Centre, which monitors smuggler prices, said fees had already jumped during the COVID-19 pandemic as travel curbs made it harder to move around, but the scramble to get out of Afghanistan since August had sent prices soaring.


Sae, 26, fled the capital, Kabul, with her mother and seven siblings on August 25 after a foreign benefactor paid a smuggler $5,000 to get them out.

The prosecutor’s family are Hazaras, a predominantly Shia minority who were targeted by the Taliban when they last ruled from 1996-2001.

The group’s return to power left Sae in fear of her life. Not only had she helped put Taliban members behind bars, but she had been active in protests against the group and was a vocal advocate for women’s rights.

Before leaving Kabul, Sae’s mother was fitted with a fake cannula and intravenous drip.

Pakistan still allows Afghans to cross for emergency medical treatment without visas, and the family hoped the border guards would take pity.

The trick worked, helped by a few dollars slipped to the right people.

Once across the border, the demands for bribes mounted. Fourteen checkpoints later and they were $300 poorer.

In Islamabad, Sae said their landlord was charging them three times the local rate. They had also handed him $700 to pay off the police as it is illegal to rent to Afghans without visas.


People smugglers now charge Afghans an average of $140-$193 to reach Pakistan via the border town of Spin Boldak, up from $90 a year earlier, according to data from the Geneva-based Mixed Migration Centre.

Average fees for Iran via the smuggling hub of Zaranj are $360-$400, compared to about $250 previously, it said.

Charges vary depending on the length and difficulty of the route, the wealth and ethnic background of the person making the journey, whether they have contacts, and the number of people demanding bribes.

Several Afghans interviewed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation cited much higher fees than those reflected in data collected by the Mixed Migration Centre.

One woman said she was recently quoted $1,000 for the trip to Islamabad with her two children.

Abdullah Mohammadi, an expert at the Mixed Migration Centre, said smugglers were usually part of well-established organised criminal networks.

However, with Afghanistan hammered by an economic crisis and severe drought, farmers desperate for money to feed their families have also become involved.

“They know what they’re doing is wrong, but say they don’t have any other options,” Mohammadi said.

“The criminal networks are benefiting because they can use these people to expand their operations.”

The Taliban also benefit. The BBC reported that smugglers openly ferrying Afghans from Zaranj to Iran paid local Taliban about $10 per pickup truck.


The Norwegian Refugee Council reported in November that up to 5,000 Afghan refugees were fleeing to Iran every day, although many are deported.

Most go via Pakistan, but Mohammadi said smugglers were increasingly using a shorter, more precarious route which requires climbing over or tunneling under barriers erected on the Iranian border.

Although there is a higher chance of getting caught, the route is often favoured by Hazaras who risk attacks by militant groups on the traditional routes through Pakistan because of their ethnicity.

Smugglers can charge Hazaras about a third more than non-Hazaras because of the increased risks from the Taliban, Jundallah and other militia, Mohammadi said.

Journalist Ismail Lali, 28, said smugglers were making a fortune out of the crisis.

“People are so desperate to leave that they can just charge them whatever they like,” said Lali, who is also a Hazara.

He paid a smuggler $700 in August to take him to the Pakistani city of Quetta, including bribes, but friends report the fee is now $800.

“It’s become a lucrative business for smugglers, and also for the Pakistani police,” he added.

Since arriving in Quetta, he said he had paid police $200 in bribes after being repeatedly stopped and threatened with deportation. He dares not go out now.

A senior police inspector in Quetta said officers were under strict instruction not to harass Afghans.

Security forces who staff checkpoints did not immediately respond to calls.


Migration experts expect some Afghans in Pakistan and Iran to move towards Turkey and Europe in the spring.

In January, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) launched a $623 million appeal to support Afghans in neighbouring countries and their host communities.

It has also urged countries to keep their borders open and halt deportations.

The UNHCR said Iran had returned more than 1,100 Afghans a day in January. Smaller numbers have been deported from Pakistan.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab World


Arab Coalition asks civilians in ministries in Yemen's Sanaa to evacuate

14 February ,2022

Arab Coalition fighting in Yemen late on Sunday asked civilians in Yemeni ministries in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa to immediately evacuate, the state news agency (SPA) said, citing the coalition.

The coalition said the Iran-backed Houthis use these headquarters to “launch hostile operations,” and in response to the threat a site linked to the latest attack on Saudi Arabia's Abha international airport would be destroyed.

Twelve people were injured at the airport by shrapnel from an explosive-laden drone intercepted by Saudi air defences on Thursday. Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the group had hit a military target at Abha airport with a Qasef 2 drone.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE says Turkish president's visit to open new page in bilateral relations

Mahmut Geldi  


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s upcoming visit to the United Arab Emirates will open a new page in bilateral relations, a top foreign policy adviser to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Sunday.

Anwar Gargash said on Twitter that Erdogan's visit to the UAE, "which comes after Al Nahyan's visit to Turkiye (last November), opens a new positive page in bilateral relations between the two countries."

Gargash said the visit "is in line with the UAE's direction towards strengthening bridges of communication and cooperation aimed at stability and prosperity in the region."

Saying that the UAE continues to strengthen channels of communication with various countries in order to support the stability and prosperity of the region and well-being of its people, Gargash further noted that the "UAE's policy is positive and rational and is in the interest of security, peace and regional development."

"President Erdogan's visit to Abu Dhabi comes within this framework that we are betting on to ensure a prosperous future," he added.

The Turkish president will embark on a two-day official visit to the UAE on Monday.

Erdogan’s visit comes at the invitation of Al Nahyan, Turkiye’s Communications Directorate said in a statement.

Bilateral relations between Turkiye and the UAE and steps to deepen cooperation will be discussed during talks, according to the statement.

Ahead of the visit, the Turkish flag and the word "Welcome" in Turkish were projected onto the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the UAE.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Islamic State kills Iraqi forces in sparsely populated Anbar desert

Shelly Kittleson

February 13, 2022 —

BAGHDAD – The deaths of several soldiers in the western Anbar desert and attacks further south in the same province have drawn attention to the vast expanses that were long a hideout for insurgents.

Although the danger had diminished in recent years, a Feb. 8 explosion reportedly killed at least three soldiers and one civilian, as well as injuring others and destroying the military vehicle in the desert near Rawa.

Several attacks have meanwhile recently been carried out near Rutba in the southern part of the Anbar desert, not far from Iraq’s border with Jordan.

Some claimed that the soldiers near Rawa had been escorting Kuwaiti or Qatari hunters and that the civilian killed had been the local guide. Questions to security officers had not been answered by the time of publication.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident.

However, a security source claimed that the incident, 8 km from the town of Rawa, was due to explosives that had been planted during the Islamic State (IS) occupation of the area.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stressed that “the area is safe”.

But a security official from western Anbar instead claimed that “there are now close to a thousand” IS operating in the deserts of Anbar, Salah al-Din, and Nineveh, and that IS activities in the Anbar desert had been stepped up after a massive jailbreak in eastern Syria in recent weeks.

“But there is absolutely no danger of their taking any cities or any area,” he said. “The tribes, the local inhabitants — we fought against them and they will not return. They just kill a few people in the desert or attack the military, sometimes.”

Rawa was the last urban area to be retaken from IS in Iraq, on Nov. 17, 2017, after three and a half years under its control. At that time, the US-led international coalition against IS had conducted an airstrikes against car bombs and other attempted attacks on the large military convoys traversing the desert. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were a major problem then, slowing the military’s advance and leading to casualties. In December 2017 Iraq declared victory against IS.

Most of Anbar, which is Iraq’s largest province but sparsely populated, is desert land with many wadis long used by insurgents as hideouts.

In recent years, Anbar has not seen as many IS attacks as the Kirkuk and Diyala provinces, which continue to suffer from security gaps, poor coordination and trust deficits between the multiple forces operating on the ground. However, Anbar has at times been referred to as a “logistics hub” for IS in recent months.

There also continue to be tensions between the local inhabitants and some of the non-local security forces deployed to the area.

The border town of Qaim is key to supply lines between Iraq and Syria, and IS militants fought harder to hold onto it than to Rawa in 2017, prior to withdrawing into eastern Syria, where it was declared defeated in March 2019.

Thousands of Iraqi IS fighters are still held in detention facilities in northeastern Syria. Hundreds fled in a massive Jan. 20 jailbreak, and Iraq stepped up its border control.

During and after the 2017 liberation from IS, Qaim was also a focus of  Iran-linked armed factions, some of which were under the Iraqi government’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) but held to be operating largely independently. These factions are generally known as the muqawama, or resistance, led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Much of the area south of the city of Qaim to Rutba is under their control.

In an October 2018  interview in Karbala, PMU commander Qassim Musleh, the head of the Tufuf Brigade, had accused some of the 7th Division of “spying” on his forces.

The soldiers killed in the Feb. 8 explosion were from the Iraqi Army’s 7th Division, which has a larger number of local Sunni officers than many other divisions.

In the same interview, Musleh also voiced common conspiracy theories espoused by ‘muqawama’ factions against the US and the international-led coalition.

Musleh was arrested in late May 2021 under Iraq’s antiterrorism law but released almost two weeks later.

Source: Al Monitor

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Syria regime shelling on Idlib kills six: Monitor

12 February ,2022

Syrian regime shelling killed six civilians including women and children on Saturday in Idlib province, the country's last main opposition bastion, a war monitor said.

An AFP photographer at the scene reported seeing several bodies being taken away from a wrecked home in Maarat al-Naasan, an area close to regime-controlled territory.

“The shell fell on a civilian home,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group with a network of sources on the ground in the war-torn country.

The monitor said two women and two children were among those killed, who were all from the same family. Many others were wounded.

The shelling had begun at around 11:30 GMT, with more shells fired intermittently afterwards, the AFP photographer said.

The Syrian regime and its ally Russia have regularly targeted hospitals and civilian areas since the start of the war in 2011, according to the Observatory.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraq foils attack against anti-Daesh coalition convoy

Ali Jawad 



Iraqi security forces on Sunday thwarted an attack targeting a convoy for the US-led coalition against Daesh/ISIS terrorist group in southern Iraq, according to the defense ministry.

A ministry statement said a roadside bomb was dismantled on a highway in the Muthanna province. Another device was detonated by bomb disposal experts.

No injuries or damage were reported.

Recent months saw a spate of attacks targeting US-led coalition convoys in central and southern Iraq.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkiye 'neutralizes' 4 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq

Zehra Nur Düz  


Turkish security forces "neutralized" at least four PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the National Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

The terrorists were targeted in the Operation Pence-Simsek zone, the ministry said on Twitter.

Turkish authorities use the word "neutralize" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

PKK terrorists often hide out in northern Iraq, across Turkiye's southern border, to plan terrorist attacks in Turkiye.

The Pence operations are a series of offensives Turkiye has carried out since 2019 against terrorist groups in northern Iraq, particularly the PKK.

Operations Pence-Kaplan and Pence-Kartal were initiated in June 2020 in Sinjar, Qandil, Haftanin, and Zap regions, while Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim were launched last April in Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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AIMPLB Asks Muslim Women to Dispel Myths about ‘Hijab’ and ‘Purdah’

14th February 2022

Lucknow: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has said that Muslim women must come forward to dispel misconceptions about ‘hijab’ and ‘purdah’ to counter people who are spreading hate in the name of protests against it.

“My dear sisters, use this time to inform people about hijab, dispel the prejudice, express that you are not oppressed with the hijab but are respected, honoured and free with it. Your success is the success of all Muslims,” said Maulana Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani, general secretary of the board in a social media session.

Muslim women have freedom and are given respect and honour to the point that Jannat is said to be under the feet of the woman, he added.

“Hijab is the identity of a Muslim and a respectable woman. It protects from the satanic aspects of the society. Over centuries, whichever society went towards embracing nakedness got destroyed and plagued by Allah’s curse and wrath,” he said.

The cleric further emphasised that Islam has not stopped women from stepping out of the house.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Islamophobic Comments To Garner Hindu Votes; Will There Be Jai Shri Ram Or Walekum Salam?

13th February 2022

A video of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Dumariyagan, Raghvendra Pratap Singh is circulating on social media, where he is seen making Islamophobic comments to garner Hindu votes.

The MLA was campaigning for his party in the ongoing state elections and can be heard making polarising comments on Muslims. The MLA while addressing the people in Dumariyagan asked “Will there be Jai Shri Ram or Walekum Salam?”, People shouted slogans of Jai Shri Ram in response while applauding the MLA’s Islamophobic question.

The incumbent MLA further claimed, “If you make me MLA again, Muslims will stop wearing skullcaps and start putting tilaks.”

He also added that since Muslims were driven away from power, the city has become safer. “No goons, notorious criminals are visible on the streets, anymore,” he claimed.

“We have changed the names of various places since we have come to power,” he stated. The BJP has been an advocate of changing the names of places, in an attempt to wipe out history. He said that the name of the locality Allahpur in Uttar Pradesh was changed to Mahesh Yogi Nagar and that similarly others have also been changed.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Country will be run by statute, not sharia: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath

Feb 14, 2022

KANPUR: During his whirlwind campaign in Auraiya on Sunday, chief minister Yogi Adityanath warned religious fanatics "dreaming about Ghazwa-e-Hind (Islamic conquest of India) that the nation would be run by the statute and not by the sharia".

"Those with a Talibani mindset should give up their dream. India will be run by the constitution. And every institution has the right to formulate its own dress code," he said in an apparent reference to the hijab controversy. He also warned that gangsters trying to come of hideouts in poll season will be smoked out of their dens, if they harassed women or took to crime.

‘UP safe, eligible popn jabbed with first dose’

During his campaign trail in neighbouring Farrukhabad district, the chief minister said, people will give a befitting reply to the Opposition, which stoked false romours on Covid vaccination for selfish political gains.

“Jis teeke ko inhone Modi teeka, BJP teeka keh ke badnaam kiya, ussi teeke ne logon ki jaan bachayi, ab vote bhi BJP ko milega (They maligned vaccines by terming it Modi and BJP vaccine. But these saved your lives. Now, votes will also go to BJP,” he said. Yogi also announced that a link expressway will be constructed to connect Farrukhabad with Ganga Expressway if BJP came to power.

At a rally in Bhojpur town of Farrukhabad, CM Yogi said those who tried to turn the region into Islamabad had pushed the district into a dark zone. “In the earlier regime, people would live in the dark. And there’s a popular saying here that thieves hated moonlit nights. Today, everyone is getting electricity. Now, every house will get tap water,” he said.

A potato food processing centre has also been set up in Farrukhabad and wheels of bulldozers and development have moved together in the state. He said, a medical college each was being constructed in Kasganj, Etawah, Etah, Farrukhabad and Hathras. Likewise, a medical college was being constructed in memory of former CM and senior BJP leader late Kalyan Singh in Bulandshahr.

Source: Times Of India

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BJP Won't Stop At Hijab, Will Erase All Muslim Symbols: Mehbooba Mufti

February 13, 2022

Srinagar: Amid the hijab protests, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said the BJP wants to erase all 'symbols' of Muslims like the Hijab.

"I fear BJP won't stop at Hijab. They will come for other symbols of Muslims and erase all. For Indian Muslims, it is not enough to be an Indian, they have to be BJP as well," said Ms Mufti.

Further attacking the BJP, Ms Mufti said, "Jammu and Kashmir is a political matter but they (BJP) want to make it a community matter." According to her, the situation has only become more complicated after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

The PDP chief said that the draft recommendations of the Delimitation Commission are an attempt to divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir into sectarian and social grounds.

"The rights and guarantees given by the Indian Constitution are being mutilated and the Delimitation Report that has come recently is part of that. They have tried to divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir on a sectarian level (and) on a social level, so that the people fight with each other. But the PDP's struggle would be against it," said Ms Mufti.

She also claimed that the people from other states are exploiting Kashmir's resources. "People from Punjab, Haryana are coming here and exploiting our resources. They come and take away tenders. Our Kashmir people are disempowered", said Ms Mufti.

Speaking about the merger of Rajouri and Poonch with Anantnag parliamentary constituency, Ms Mufti said, "In this delimitation, they have ruined everybody other than the BJP. If you don't like Rajouri and Poonch and you want to create an exclusive constituency, wait and you can give a separate seat to Rajouri and Poonch."

Source: ND TV

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In Muslim belt, support for parties divided along community lines

by Amil Bhatnagar

February 14, 2022

The winter sun bathes the pristine glasses of Moti Masjid as locals begin to gather for afternoon prayers. The mosque is situated on the Asmoli-Sambhal road, which is busier than usual with large convoys constantly on the move of candidates making poll promises.

Mohd Faheem (60), who lives in the lane next to the mosque and has seen many elections, says now more than ever there is a need to defeat the communal forces. “The Hindu-Muslim card is a political ploy. You place it on the table and you get a certain section on your side. There are only a few Hindu families that live in this area. They have never faced any issue and never will. But on your televisions, leaders will make you believe there is enmity all the time. The public is smarter than what everyone likes to believe. The mandate will make it clear,” says Faheem.

The Muslim-majority Sambhal district has four Assembly seats in total. While the BJP had won Gannaur and Chandausi (SC) last time, the Samajwadi Party had won Asmoli and Sambhal City.

The SP-RLD candidate in Sambhal City again is Iqbal Mahmood, who has won the seat for the SP the last four times.

Even if locals wish Mahmood had paid more attention to development, he has their “trust”. There is also hope that the rising tempo of communalism will cool down should the BJP be dislodged from power.

Mohd Areeb, a resident of Deepa Sarai, argues that even the SP paid price last time for similar politics. “People do not want to live in a state of conflict and eventually get tired of communal rhetoric. When the SP built boundary walls for graveyards, they should have done the same for temples and cremation grounds. It was communal on their part and the public showed them the door. If the ruling party continues this narrative, it will anger people.”

The Congress candidate in Sambhal City is former News Nation journalist Nida Ahmad. The party has made tickets and promises to women the centrepiece of its campaign, and campaigning door to door, Ahmad tells voters she is ‘Sambhal Ki Beti’.

Mahmood, on the other hand, goes by the title ‘Sambhal ka Badshah’, and Ahmad admits the contest is tough. However, she has worked to a plan. “There are no degree colleges in many areas, no parks… I am a journalist and even in this role, I will continue to question the status quo till there is change,” she says.

Also in the fray is BSP’s Shakeel Ahmad, who owns a meat company and is believed to a strong contender for Muslim votes.

The BJP candidate, Rajesh Singhal, starts from a position of disadvantage given the numerical majority of Muslims. However, says a supporter, Anoop Sharma, there is much to recommend in the Yogi Adityanath government. “Law and order is in place, electricity supply has become regular. The Hindus are less in number but our entire vote is for Yogi ji. We are also hoping that our Muslim brothers will see the good since this government cares about everyone,” says Sharma.

A similar divide is visible in Moradabad, nearly 30 km from Sambhal. The six Assembly seats here are also Muslim-dominated. The SP had won four of the seats last time, against the BJP’s two.

The buzz is missing from the iconic brass market of Moradabad Sadar. With prices of raw materials up by nearly 100%, retail has been heavily impacted.

Moradabad Sadar was one of the seats won by the BJP last time. The party has fielded its sitting MLA, Ritesh Kumar Gupta. The SP has fielded Mohd Yunus Ansari while the BSP candidate is Irshad Hussain.

BJP supporters, however, argue that the government alone can’t be blamed for rising prices. Trader Bhushan Gupta lists reasons such as law and order, saying “the present government has done a lot”.

Source: Indian Express

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North America


Biden admin responsible for chaotic Afghanistan exit: Pentagon report

February 13, 2022

LONDON: The administration of US President Joe Biden was at fault for the chaos surrounding the US withdrawal from Kabul, a Pentagon report has said.

The declassified report, published by The Washington Post on Saturday, said decisions — or in some instances indecision — contributed to problems faced by US forces who were trying to secure Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport as the Taliban seized the city last August.

The Pentagon’s after-action report blamed the State Department and the number of its officials for issues and delays in the evacuation process.

“The delay in embassy staff drawdown, NEO declaration and lack of agreed upon (indications and warning procedures) increased risk to mission upon (noncombatant evacuations operations) execution,” it said.

In another section of the report, the same organization is faulted for phasing in a new team of embassy staff in the middle of the evacuation process, which the Defense Department said “caused confusion as the new consular team established operations,” which led to hundreds of US civilians and Afghans seeking passage out of the country through an unfamiliar application process.

“Consular staff did not have sufficient manning to supervise all processing at the gates which often led to Department of Defense personnel at the gates making on the spot calls on paperwork,” the report added.

Too many of these “on the spot calls” were being made by US soldiers, who had little experience in the processes of the State Department, the report concluded.

It also said that “confusion” surrounding bureaucratic decisions affected the capabilities of US forces attempting to conduct an orderly evacuation in the final days of the occupation, which were marred by images of Afghan civilians clinging to US aircraft.

Source: Arab News

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US F-22 fighter jets arrive in UAE following Houthi attacks

13 February ,2022

US F-22 fighter jets arrived at an air base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday following a spate of unprecedented attacks in Abu Dhabi by Houthi fighters in Yemen, the US Air force said on Saturday.

In recent weeks, the Iran-backed Houthis have waged a string of largely failed strikes on UAE targets that have triggered Emirati and US air defenses and have even seen American troops based there briefly taking shelter.

The jets arrived at the UAE base as part of a multifaceted demonstration of US support after a series of attacks throughout January threatened US and Emirati armed forces stationed at the host installation, the statement said.

The US Secretary of Defense ordered the rapid deployment of the fifth-generation aircraft in coordination with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE, said a statement by the United States Air Forces Central.

It will join a range of joint, coalition and allied and partner combat air power capabilities already based across the region.

The airmen and F-22s are deployed from the 1st Fighter Wing, located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, the US Air Force said.

Last week the US general overseeing Middle East operations told Reuters the US will help the UAE replenish interceptors it uses to knock down incoming missiles.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Ex-Afghan president: Biden order on frozen funds an ‘atrocity’

13 February ,2022

Afghanistan’s former president on Sunday called a White House order to unfreeze $3.5 billion in Afghan assets held in the US for families of 9/11 victims an atrocity against the Afghan people.

Former President Hamid Karzai at a packed news conference sought the help of Americans, particularly the families of the thousands killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to press President Joe Biden to rescind last week’s order. He called it “unjust and unfair,” saying Afghans have also been victims of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

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Bin Laden was brought to Afghanistan by Afghan warlords after being expelled from Sudan in 1996. Those same warlords would later ally with the US-led coalition to oust the Taliban in 2001. However, it was Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar who refused to hand over bin Laden to the US after the devastating 9/11 attacks that killed thousands.

“The people of Afghanistan share the pain of the American people, share the pain of the families and loved ones of those who died, who lost their lives in the tragedy of September 11,” said Karzai. “We commiserate with them [but] Afghan people are as much victims as those families who lost their lives... Withholding money or seizing money from the people of Afghanistan in their name is unjust and unfair and an atrocity against Afghan people.”

President Biden’s order signed last Friday freed $7 billion in Afghan assets currently held in the US, to be divided between 9/11 victims and humanitarian aid to Afghans.

September 11 victims and their families have legal claims against the Taliban and the $7 billion in the US banking system. The $3.5 billion was set aside for a US court to decide whether it can be used to settle claims by families of 9/11 victims. US courts would also have to sign off before the release of humanitarian assistance money.

We “ask the US courts to do the opposite, to return the Afghan money back to the Afghan people,” said Karzai. “This money does not belong to any government… this money belongs to the people of Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s order calls for the $3.5 billion allocated to humanitarian aid to be put into a trust and be used to assist Afghans, bypassing their Taliban rulers.

But Karzai demanded all $7 billion be returned to Afghanistan’s Central Bank to further its monetary policy. He argued against giving Afghan reserves to international aid organizations to provide humanitarian aid.

“You give us our own money so that it can be spent for those foreigners who come here, to pay their salaries, to give it to [non-governmental organizations],” he said.

Afghanistan’s economy is teetering on the brink of collapse after international money stopped coming into the country with the arrival in mid-August of the Taliban. Last month, the United Nations made a $5 billion appeal for Afghanistan. The UN warns that one million children are in danger of starving and 90 percent of Afghans live below the poverty level of just $1.90 a day.

Karzai was Afghanistan’s first democratically elected president after the US-led coalition ousted the Taliban in 2001. He served until 2014 before Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country on August 15, leaving the doors open for the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

arzai was highly regarded as embracing all of Afghanistan’s many ethnic groups but his administration, like subsequent Afghan administrations, was dogged by charges of widespread corruption.

Karzai spoke to a packed press conference inside his sprawling compound in the capital of Kabul. Dozens of Afghanistan’s Pashto- and Persian-language journalists jockeyed for space in a second-floor conference room with more than a dozen television cameras.

Karzai used the news conference to press the country’s Taliban rulers and their opponents to find a way to come together. He lobbied for the traditional Afghan grand council, or loya jirga, as a means to find consensus and establish a more representative administration.

Source: Al Arabiya

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French military kills 40 terrorists in operation with Burkina Faso

Alaattin Doğru


The French military announced Saturday the killings of at least 40 terror group members responsible for two Benin National Park attacks.

The military shared a statement on Twitter that said the operation was carried out jointly with the Burkina Faso army and it targeted terrorists active in neighboring Benin.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Cyprus minister pins blame for migration ‘emergency’ on Turkey

February 13, 2022

NICOSIA: The small Mediterranean island of Cyprus has an outsized problem with irregular migration, says the interior minister of the EU member state located closest to the Middle East.

“For us, this is a state of emergency,” Nicos Nouris told AFP, adding that 4.6 percent of the country’s population now are asylum seekers or beneficiaries of protection, the highest ratio in the EU.

The Greek Cypriot minister accused Turkey, whose troops have since 1974 occupied the island’s northern third, of encouraging much of the influx of Syrian refugees and arrivals from sub-Saharan Africa.

Rights groups and observers have criticized Cyprus for squalid conditions in its overcrowded main migrant camp, which was rocked by clashes this month, and for alleged brutal treatment of some arrivals.

But Nouris shot back that “brutal is what Turkey has been doing to us” as new asylum applications had multiplied to over 13,000 last year in the country of 850,000.

“The migration issue in Cyprus is a huge problem because it’s been instrumentalized by Turkey,” the minister from the conservative Democratic Rally party charged.

The Republic of Cyrus remains sharply at odds with Turkey, which under a deal with the EU hosts millions of Syrian refugees, and which contests potential offshore oil and gas reserves claimed by Cyprus.

Nouris charged that every day some 60 to 80 irregular migrants, guided by smugglers, cross the UN-patrolled 184-kilometer (114-mile) long Green Line that dissects the island, with 85 percent of asylum seekers last year having arrived in this way.

The top country of origin for pending asylum applications in 2021 remained Syria, but next came Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Somalia, according to the ministry.

Many of the newcomers, Nouris said, fly via Istanbul to the northern breakaway statelet recognized only by Ankara. “From there, with the smugglers, they find a way through the Green Line.”

It is only once they have crossed south that many discover they are not inside the European Union’s visa-free Schengen area.

“They are trapped on the island,” said Nouris. “They cannot travel to Germany or to France, where they want to go, because Cyprus is not a member of the Schengen zone.”

Cyprus stresses that the Green Line is not a border but merely the cease-fire line, beyond which lie “areas not under government control.”

Nonetheless, said Nouris, his government — having recently fortified one section of the line with razor wire — will soon build fencing, step up patrols and, from the summer, install an Israeli-made surveillance system.

The head of EU border agency Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, is due to visit Cyprus Wednesday, the minister said.

Nouris said Cyprus would like Frontex to patrol waters south of Turkey, “from where every night, especially during summertime, we had illegal departures of migrants” — but he acknowledged that this would require Ankara’s approval.

Cyprus is also asking the EU to expand the list of so-called safe countries of origin for migrants, and to strike deals to facilitate repatriations.

Nicosia recently sent back more than 250 Vietnamese migrants on a special flight, and cooperated with Belgium to repatriate 17 Congolese.

A joint flight with Germany is planned for March 8 to take back a group of Pakistanis, Nouris said, in what would be a “forced” rather than voluntary return.

Human Rights Watch and other groups have accused Cyprus of sometimes heavy-handed methods against migrants, including pushing back asylum seekers at sea.

Nouris insisted that “Cyprus has never, never made a pushback” but had exercised its right to intercept boats, which were usually escorted to Lebanon.

Source: Arab News

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Jamaat-e-Islami Striving For Enforcement of Sharia, Says Siraj

February 14, 2022

MARDAN: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq on Sunday asked the religious scholars to join hands with his party for the implementation of Islamic system in the country.

“The JI has been striving for the implementation of Islamic system,” he said while addressing a gathering held in connection with Khatm-e-Bukari Sharif and dastarbandi at Jamia Islamia Tafhim-ul-Quran.

Sirajul Haq added that the JI made alliance with former rulers for the implementation of Islamic system, but they cheated the JI. He added that today no decision was taken in the parliament.

Sirajul Haq added that the rulers had handed over the country to the International Monetary Fund. He said that the incumbent government was a threat to national security. The JI leader said that the sovereign of the country was compromised for securing loans.

He added that corruption was rampant in the country. He added that Jamaat-e-Islami had announced sit-ins across the country against the the corrupt and incompetent government. Sirajul Haq said that the rulers were least bothered to provide relief to the people. He said that the people had been exposed to a host of problems.

Source: The News Pakistan

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Breaking terrorists-supporters nexus imperative to defeat terrorism: COAS

February 12, 2022

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that breaking a nexus between terrorists and their supporters was imperative to defeat the menace of terrorism, according to the military’s media wing.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement said the army chief visited Panjgur district in Balochistan on Saturday and spent the whole day with troops who repulsed a terrorist attack on security forces camp in the same area earlier this month.

On arrival, the COAS was given a detailed update by the local commander on security situation in the area and response mechanism to effectively check emerging threats.

While speaking to the troops, Gen Qamar appreciated professionalism and effective response by the ground troops against recent terrorist activities.

He emphasised on maintaining high standard of operational readiness to fail hostile efforts to destabilise Balochistan and ensure safety and security of local population.

The army chief also paid tribute to shahuada [martyrs] for supreme sacrifice in line of duty for defence of the motherland.

While interacting with the notables and tribal elders of Panjgur, Gen Qamar appreciated them for their support to law enforcement agencies in fighting the menace of terrorism. “Breaking nexus between terrorists and their sympathisers / support base is imperative for defeating terrorism,” the ISPR quoted Gen Qamar as saying.

The army chief also assured local elders of military’s all-out support for creating environment for prosperity and development of the area particularly ensuring timely completion of ongoing socio-economic projects. The COAS said terrorists won’t be allowed to reverse the hard-earned gains irrespective of the challenges.

Earlier on arrival, Gen Qamar was received by Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, Commander Quetta Corps.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Boom time in Pakistan for US firearms discarded in Afghanistan

Omer Farooq Khan

Feb 14, 2022

LANDIKOTAL (PAK-AFGHAN BORDER): The last vestiges of the US war in Afghanistan are being preserved by a thriving illegal market for weapons and combat equipment left behind by American, Nato and former Afghan troops.

Landikotal, Pakistan’s farthest major town along the Durand Line in the tribal Khyber district, no longer makes a secret of what is perhaps its most lucrative trade. Firearms and equipment bearing military markings of the US and Nato countries are openly displayed for sale here.

The inventory is a hoplologist’s delight. Guns, long-range sniper rifl es, pistols, night vision goggles, binoculars, daggers, grenades, military uniforms and ammunition discarded by foreign or surrendered Afghan troops line the shelves of gun shops. Easy availability means prices of these fi rearms and accessories have already dropped significantly.

The asking rate for M4 rifles of the A2 and A4 categories has slid from $9,000-10,000 to $2,500-3,000. The value of the A2 and A4 versions of the M16 rifle ranges between $1,800 and $2,000, down from $5,000. The popular American-make Glock, Beretta, Smith & Wesson 9mm pistols are now available at almost throwaway prices. The Glock 9mm may still be expensive for most, but the price is nowhere near what it used to be. A Beretta or Smith & Wesson can be had for as little as $350-500 (Rs 26,000-37,000).

“These pistols are far superior than the ones legally imported by Pakistan. The American manufacturers use different metals in weapons for military and commercial purposes,” said an arms dealer in Landikotal.

According to arms merchants and security officials, weapons make their way from Afghanistan into Pakistan in trucks laden with fruits and vegetables. The trucks pass through border crossings in Torkhum (Khyber Agency), Chaman (Balochistan), Ghulam Khan (North Waziristan) and Nawa Pass (Bajaur Agency).

On entering Pakistan, the vehicles Kabul go through multiple layers of security checks. They first pass through a checkpoint of the army and the paramilitary Frontier Corps. The second security layer comprises personnel of the Anti-narcotics Force, followed by security clearance by Customs officials. After these three stages, the trucks have to be cleared by the police.

Scanners have been installed at these posts to check the vehicles for weapons in hidden compartments, but trafficking mysteriously continues. There is suspicion some Pakistani security offi cials are involved in this, without which it wouldn’t be possible to illegally take weapons past so many checks.

“This is a big challenge for us — how to stop the smuggling?” said Kamran, a senior customs official.

The Taliban had recently warned people in Afghanistan that if anyone was found in possession of a US-made fire-

Source: Times Of India

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Pak PM Calls for Strict Action after Mob Lynches Man for ‘Blasphemy’ in Khanewal

Omer Farooq Khan

Feb 14, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan PM Imran Khan said on Sunday that mob lynching will be dealt with strictly under the law after a middle-aged man was stoned to death in Khanewal district of Punjab province the day before for allegedly desecrating the Quran.

According to police, residents of Jungle Dera village of Mian Channu tehsil accused a man named Mushtaq of burning pages of the Quran and around 200-300 people tied him up to a tree before killing him by throwing stones and bricks and him and then beating him with rods and sticks.

The killing revived memories of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara being lynched in Sialkot in December 2021. Blasphemy charges are often enough to trigger mob violence in Pakistan. Such accusations, according to observers, are often aimed at settling personal vendettas, especially against the minorities.

PM Khan condemned Saturday’s lynching and wrote on Twitter: “We have zero tolerance for anyone taking the law into their own hands and mob lynching incidents will be dealt with full severity of the law. Have asked the Punjab police chief for report on action taken against the perpetrators of the lynching in Mian Channu and against the police who failed in their duty.”

Police have identified 33 suspects. “They hung his body from a tree,” the police report. The mob was apparently in no mood to let the cops cut loose the body and send it for an autopsy.

Source: Times Of India

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Two TTP men arrested in search operation in Chaman

Saleem Shahid

February 14, 2022

QUETTA: Two key suspects belonging to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were arrested in an operation conducted by the security forces in the border town of Chaman on Sunday.

The search operation was conducted on a tip-off about the presence of suspected terrorists in the border town.

According to security officials, the suspects confessed that they belong to Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the TTP and were working under a TTP commander who is operating from Spin Buldak, the border district of Afghanistan close to Chaman.

“They have confessed to killing Levies Force personnel in Chaman and are also involved in a grenade attack on Levies officials last week,” officials said.

Four suicide jackets, 10kgs of explosive material, two hand-grenades, three bundles of prima cards, eight IED controllers, two remote controls, four cells, 10 detonators, 100 rounds of SMG and 90 rounds of pistol, one mixer and one box were seized from the possession of the suspects, they said.

Source: Dawn

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Imran criticises war on terror as misguided venture

February 13, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said the American “war on terror” bred more terrorists, adding that Islamabad was virtually a “fortress” during this period.

The prime minister expressed these views during an interview with Fareed Zakaria for CNN, which aired on Sunday when he was asked about his take on terrorism in the broader Middle East.

“The US war on terror actually bred terrorists. I can tell you from Pakistan’s example because by joining the US, we had 80,000 people die,” he said, adding the war produced more terrorists as it went along.

“I am convinced it’s exactly the same what happened in Afghanistan. These night raids and drone attacks […] the US must review its policy.”

Two decades after the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism has emerged as a wasteful, misguided exercise that poses its own threat to US national security, experts say.

Khan said US citizens were being told that the drone attacks were accurate and the terrorists were targeted. “Bombs exploding in villages; how would they only [target] terrorists?” he asked, adding that there was a lot of collateral damage.

“I am afraid, the public in the US didn’t know the amount of collateral damage [that happened]. We bore the brunt.”

He said that Pakistan was considered a collaborator of the US and, therefore, had to face revenge attacks. “There were suicide attacks all over the country. We lost 80,000 people.”

“But the US has withdrawn and the terror continues,” Zakaria noted, to which Khan said that the attacks now “are much less”.

“You can’t compare […] during the height of the ‘war on terror’ Islamabad was a fortress. You had suicide attacks going [on] everywhere. Compared to what used to happen, terrorism is almost insignificant now.”

When asked about the situation in war-torn Afghanistan, the premier said that it was imperative for the US to understand that disliking the Taliban government was one thing but it was ultimately about the country’s 40 million people.

“Half of them are in a very precarious situation […] winter in Afghanistan is extremely wicked, ruthless,” he said, adding that the Afghans were also facing food shortages and there were concerns of the situation spiraling into a humanitarian crisis.

Zakaria also asked Khan about his experience in dealing with the Afghan Taliban and his advice to the US.

“What are the choices?” asked Khan.

“Is there an alternative to the Taliban right now? No, there isn’t. Is there a chance that if the Taliban government is squeezed there could be a change for the better? No.”

He went on to say that the only “alternative” that was currently available was to work with the Taliban and incentivise them in achieving things, such as inclusivity and human rights.

“That’s the only way forward right now.”

Khan said that if Afghanistan is abandoned, the neighbouring country could descend into chaos. “Our best hope is that a stable Afghanistan will ensure stability and peace in Pakistan,” he said, adding that peace in Afghanistan was in everyone’s interest.

Asked whether the US should recognise the Taliban government, Khan said recognition would have to come “sooner or later”.

“The world wants some guarantees before it recognises the Taliban. So how far is the US going to push the Taliban to conform to [their expectations]. This is the question. Can the Taliban go all the way? Are they capable of going all the way bearing in mind this is a very strong ideological movement that represents a culture that is completely alien to Western societies?”

The premier said that there would have to be “give and take”. Not recognising the government and freezing their accounts was only harming the people of the war-torn country, he said.

During the interview, Khan was also asked about China’s alleged mistreatment of Muslims in Xinjiang.

He said that Pakistan had sent its ambassador to Xinjiang who said the situation was different than what was being portrayed by the Western media.

The prime minister also highlighted that Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) was a disputed territory between Pakistan and India.

“Over the last 35 years, approximately 100,000 Kashmiris have died,” he said, adding that in 2019 India unilaterally revoked the region’s special constitutional status.

“There are extra-judicial killings. There are no rights, there are clampdowns [and] 800,000 Indian troops in the valley.”

Khan said that there was “hardly any indignation” about what was happening in IIOJK compared to what was supposedly happening in Xinjiang, lamenting the fact that the Kashmir issue “did not get the attention it deserved”.

“Are you saying that the treatment of Muslims in Kashmir is worse than the treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang?” Zakaria asked, to which the prime minister replied that there would be “absolutely no comparison”.

“I have only one source which is our ambassador in China […] what is happening in Kashmir is criminal.”

Source: Pakistan Today

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Pakistan to raise use of Iranian soil by Baloch terrorists as Iranian interior minister arrives today

By Mian Abrar

February 13, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to raise the use of Iranian soil by Baloch terrorists to mount terrorist attacks against its  security forces in Balochistan as Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi arrives Pakistan today on the invitation of Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed.

A source told Pakistan Today that Islamabad had raised the alleged involvement of Iranian elements in providing refuge and arms to Baloch terrorists. The official said that Pakistan had lodged a strong protest with Tehran over the recent attacks of Baloch terrorists and the martyrdom of around a dozen personnel of the security forces in these attacks.

The official said that Iranian official would discuss measures to clamp down on the Baloch terrorists who are using Iranian soil to mount attacks against Pakistan.

The interior ministry while detailing the visit shared that Sheikh Rasheed will welcome the visiting dignitary at the Noor Khan Airbase in Islamabad.

“The interior minister of Iran will meet several top government functionaries during his visit to Pakistan,” it said and added that a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan was also scheduled for Monday.

Sheikh Rasheed will also hold delegation-level talks with Ahmad Vahidi and discuss border management and the exchange of prisoners between the two countries.

Mr Vahidi would also make a call on with Prime Minister Imran Khan today while he is also expected to meet Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In October 2021, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has emphasized enhanced economic integration and regional connectivity for peace and prosperity in the region.

Addressing a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Dr Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran, he said the interests of Pakistan and Iran are allied.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said both the countries want peace, stability and prosperity in the region and realize that we have an important role to play.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Southeast Asia


Aid for Taliban but not Malaysia’s minorities? Guan Eng asks Putrajaya

13 Feb 2022


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Opposition lawmaker Lim Guan Eng today questioned the federal government’s priorities in providing financial aid after news reports highlighted claims the ethnic Chinese community in Terengganu were marginalised by the PAS-led state.

The Bagan MP said the news reports showed a dichotomy between the government’s treatment towards Malaysian minorities and its policies towards a foreign Muslim-led government, citing the Taliban control of Afghanistan as an example.

“Such discrimination is not only unfair but also unconstitutional to citizens and those who pay tax.

“Questions will be asked why citizens who happen to be minorities in Terengganu are not given financial aid whilst Malaysia can offer aid to the extremist Taliban government in Afghanistan?” Lim pointed out in a statement.

He had referred to a February 12 news report by The Malaysian Insight titled “Terengganu Chinese feel sidelined by PAS govt”, which he said related the treatment of non-Malays in the peninsular east coast state as a result of the policies of both the PAS and BN led state and federal governments.

Local daily The New Straits Times reported on February 4 that PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang who is also the prime minister’s special envoy to the Middle East met with Afghanistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Sheikh Mohammed Suhail Shaheen, during a four-day working visit to Qatar on January 31 to discuss Malaysia’s readiness to help rebuild Afghanistan.

Another local paper The Star reported Malaysia’s two-stage aid to Afghanistan on December 18 last year.

Source: Malay Mail

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9 dead in feud between Philippine Muslim clans

February 12, 2022

COTABATO: Nine people were killed and three injured in the southern Philippines today when a convoy of SUVs was shot at in an ambush linked to a feud between rival Muslim clans, police said.

The attack occurred in a region with a long history of violence, and a short drive from where 58 people – including 32 journalists – were murdered in the nation’s worst political massacre in 2009.

Clan leader Peges Mamasainged and eight others were killed as they travelled down a farm-lined road in Maguindanao province, according to police.

Both the victims and attackers were led by former commanders of a Muslim guerrilla group that waged a bloody, decades-long insurgency in the region before a peace agreement was signed in 2014, provincial police spokesman Fhaeyd Cana told AFP.

Authorities are looking for suspects led by Mamasainged’s rival, Cana said, adding the two families were involved in a long-running blood feud.

Well-armed Muslim families in the mainly Catholic country’s lawless south at times resort to clan warfare to settle disputes that can last for generations.

“(Guindulungan town) police described this attack as a rido,” Cana said, using the local term for blood feud.

The attack was the province’s bloodiest since the 2009 massacre, he added.

Five clan members were among the gunmen found guilty of those killings.

The family’s leaders were sentenced to 30-year prison terms in 2019.

Both the main suspect in today’s attack and the slain Mamasainged were once commanders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the military arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The front signed a peace deal with Manila in March 2014, ending decades of rebellion that claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Mujahid to ‘clueless’ Zailah: focus on policies, not marriage advice

Dineskumar Ragu

February 13, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Former Islamic affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa says Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff is “clueless” about her role as a deputy minister in charge of women’s development.

Mujahid said instead of posting marriage advice videos, Siti Zailah as a deputy minister, should be focussed on policy and issues like domestic violence, child marriage and social illnesses.

“It is not appropriate for a (deputy) minister or a lady to give advice in public about how husbands should reprimand their wives. That clearly shows she herself does not know what her function is and is trying to be something else,” he told FMT.

Yesterday, Siti Zailah had posted several video clips advising husbands to use a “gentle but firm physical touch” to reprimand their wives while urging women to take a softer approach with their husbands. Among the other tips she suggested were counselling, sleeping separately for three days and praying.

Women’s rights NGO, Sisters in Islam (SIS) also called out Siti Zailah for being ignorant on the lived realities of women.

“The rhetoric about husbands being allowed to discipline their wives is delivered without deep reflection and connection with the reality that women face,” the group said. “How can she be oblivious to the high reporting of domestic violence during the period of this pandemic?”

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Newborn stabbed to death by teen mum laid to rest in Kemaman

14 Feb 2022

SEBERANG PERAI, Feb 14 — The newborn baby boy who was stabbed to death last Tuesday was laid to rest at the Seri Nandi Muslim cemetery near Kemaman here today.

The funeral arrangement and prayers for the baby were carried out by several staff and officers from the Kemaman Islamic Religious Office.

Also present were Kemaman Police chief Hanyan Ramlan and the baby’s family members.

Source: Malay Mail

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Controversial Far-Right Jewish Lawmaker’s Visit Sparks Clashes In Jerusalem

February 14, 2022

JERUSALEM: Israeli police clashed with Palestinians in the flashpoint east Jerusalem neighbourhood of She­ikh Jarrah on Sunday, during a visit by a controversial far-right Jewish lawmaker that inflamed tensions.

Police said they arrested eight people during the day for suspected involvement in “public riots and viole­nce,” in the area of annexed east Jerusalem that has emerged as a symbol of Pales­tinian resistance against Israeli control of the city.

Scuffles broke out as Itamar Ben Gvir of the far-right Religious Zionism alliance opened a parliamentary office in Sheikh Jarrah, in what he described as an effort to show support for its Jewish residents.

Tensions that erupted in Sheikh Jarrah last year — as several Palestinian families faced eviction by settler groups — in part sparked the May war between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

More than 200,000 Jewish settlers live in east Jerusalem, in communities widely regarded as illegal under international law.

Efforts by settler groups to expand the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital, have further fuelled hostilities.

Ben Gvir, a Jewish nationalist with a long history of incendiary comments about Palestinians, accused police of failing to react to alleged arson attacks on a settler home in Sheikh Jarrah.

“Jewish lives have become worthless,” Ben Gvir char­ged in a tweet before his visit.

He told reporters in Sheikh Jarrah, where he set up his “make-shift office” under a tent, that he would remain there until police “looked after the security of the (Jewish) residents”.

In a move that risked sparking fresh hostilities, Ben Gvir urged supporters to gather in the area. Pales­tinians were also called on to mobilise, while a group of Jewish Israelis that oppose Ben Gvir circulated a petition online urging people to head to Sheikh Jarrah as a show of support for its Arab residents.

Voicing concern over Sunday’s “violent clashes,” the European Union in a tweet said “irresponsible provocations and other escalatory acts in this sensitive area only fuel further tensions & must cease.” The Palestinian Authority, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, condemned Ben Gvir’s visit as a “provocative and escalating move that threatens to ignite... violence that will be difficult to control.” Seven Palestinian facing eviction by settler groups have taken their cases to Israel’s supreme court.

Hamas, the Islamists who control Gaza, warned there would be “consequences” over Israel’s repeated “attacks” on Sheikh Jarrah. Palestinians across east Jerusalem accuse Israeli police of using heavy-handed tactics to quell protests.

Source: Dawn

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Venezuelan Envoy Calls for Formation of Bloc with Iran against US


“We in Latin America have great respect for the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian people and leadership, who set a great example for us,” Cordones said.

He also said what the revolutions in Iran, Cuba and Venezuela have in common is their resistance and opposition to the US imperialism and its hegemonic policies and doctrines.

“The Islamic Revolution [in Iran], the Cuban Revolution, and the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution oppose these policies,” Cordones said.

The envoy drew a comparison between the revolutions in Iran and Venezuela, saying they were both against imperialism and hegemonic regimes such as the United States and Israel.

Other commonalities, he said, include the holding of a referendum in both countries to consult with the people about the constitution and both nations’ participation in the decision-making process through elections.

The envoy underlined the need for the formation of a bloc consisting of Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China, and etc. against the US, which has imposed sanctions on all of them.

“A measure that can help us confront the US and its allies is to unite, share experience and information, socialize, and organize a bloc among the countries that are sanctioned... In the face of American imperialism, we must unite financially, economically, socially and culturally, as well as through art, sports, science and technology,” he said.

“If such a bloc is set up, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China, and etc. can support each other against their common enemy, the White House.”

The ambassador hailed the character of General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the United States in early 2020, saying a visit by Iran’s top anti-terror commander to Caracas played a key role in reinforcing bilateral relations.

Cordones said General Soleimani was “a symbol of love and sacrifice for the homeland, government and sovereignty of Iran, as well as a great example to be followed”.

He said the legendary commander’s trip to the Latin American state was of paramount importance to the Caracas government, and that it contributed to the further expansion of bilateral ties between the two countries.

General Soleimani was assassinated along with his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, in a US drone strike ordered by ex-president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

Both commanders were highly popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said late last year that General Soleimani had visited the country between March and April of 2019.

Additionally, the ambassador expressed his gratitude to Iran for sending ships carrying fuel, food and other products to Venezuela at a critical time and playing a key role in revitalizing the country’s oil industry.

He also hailed Iran’s opening of Magasis chain stores and pharmacies in Venezuela, saying his countrymen are very thankful to Iran because the Islamic Republic, as a friendly and brotherly country, has always supported the liberation of Venezuela.

Cordones stressed that Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez was the one who reactivated a friendly relationship with Iran, adding that the current administration in Caracas is pursuing the same strategy.

The two countries, he noted, have signed agreements on the supply of medicines and medical equipment and have now reached a financial strategy to facilitate transactions.

He further said that his three-year tenure in Iran, the two states have increased their bilateral exchanges and inked several deals to boost cooperation in energy, tourism, food industry, defense, healthcare and security sectors.

Iran in December delivered the fourth shipment of its gas condensate to Venezuela in line with concluding a contract with Venezuela for exporting gas condensate and importing crude oil in return.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Palestinian official threatens ‘open conflict’ with Israel

Awad al-Rajoub  


RAMALLAH, Palestine

The head of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), Rawhi Fattouh, has threatened an “open conflict” with Israel, amid a deadlock in peace talks between Tel Aviv and the Palestinians.

Speaking on state television late Saturday, Fattouh said the international community has until September to respond to Palestinian demands and hold an international conference for the Middle East peacemaking.

“We will be absolved of all our commitments if the international community fails to respond and hold an international peace conference…and the conflict will be open,” he said.

The PNC is the legislative body of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

On Wednesday, the Palestinian Central Council (PCC), a smaller assembly emanating from the PNC, suspended its recognition of Israel until Tel Aviv recognizes a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 border.

In a statement after its meetings in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the PCC said it decided to end its commitment to all agreements with Israel.

Fattouh said the PCC decisions will be implemented “gradually”, without giving any further details. He cited that the PLO Executive Committee will hold an “important” meeting on Thursday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in West Bank clashes

February 14, 2022

Israeli forces have shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian in West Bank clashes during what Israel on Monday described as an operation to demolish the home of a 'terrorist' suspected of a recent attack.

The Palestinian health ministry said Mohammad Abu Salah was killed in the village of Silat al-Harithiya near the flashpoint town of Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel's army in a statement said its troops along with border police had entered the village “to demolish the floor of the residence in which the terrorist Mohammad Jaradat resided”.

It claimed Jaradat and others had carried out the recent fatal shooting of a Jewish settler in the West Bank.

The army said “violent riots” broke out ahead of the planned demolition, “with the participation of hundreds of Palestinians”, some of whom allegedly hurled explosives at Israeli troops.

“The troops identified a number of armed rioters, and fired towards them in order to neutralise the threat,” the army statement claimed without commenting directly on the teen's death.

Israel regularly destroys the homes of individuals it claims have carried out attacks on Israelis, in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The practice, which often fuels tensions, has been condemned by critics as a form of collective punishment. Israel insists it deters attacks.

The army claimed Jaradat was responsible for the death of Yehuda Dimentman, a 25-year-old religious student shot dead in the West Bank in December.

A married father, Dimentman was studying at a religious school in the Homesh settlement in the West Bank when he was killed in a shooting that wounded several others.

Israel arrested several people over the shooting days after it occurred.

Roughly 475,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, alongside some 2.9 million Palestinians, in communities widely regarded as illegal under international law.

Homesh is among the settlements that even Israel considers to be unauthorised.

Source: Dawn

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Nuclear talks harder as West ‘pretends’ to take initiative: Iran official

14 February ,2022

A senior Iranian security official said on Monday that progress in talks to salvage Iran's 2015 nuclear deal was becoming “more difficult” as Western powers only “pretended” to come up with initiatives.

The indirect talks in Austria between Iran and the US resumed last week after a 10-day break. Delegates have said the talks have made limited progress since they resumed in November after a five-month hiatus prompted by the election of hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

“The work of Iranian negotiators towards progress is becoming more difficult every moment ... while Western parties 'pretend' to come up with initiatives to avoid their commitments,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said on Twitter.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's envoy to the talks in Vienna, said on Twitter hours earlier: “Significant progress has been made in the course of negotiations.”

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was still a long way to go before the 2015 deal could be revived. Iran's nuclear advances were curbed in exchange for the loosening of US and other economic sanctions.

The agreement imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities that extended the time Tehran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, to at least a year from around two to three months. Most experts say that time is now shorter than when the deal was struck.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Hamas says Israeli settler violence ‘playing with fire’

Mohammad Majid 


GAZA CITY, Palestine

Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Sunday condemned Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

In a statement, group spokesman Mohammad Hamada termed settler violence as “blatant aggression and playing with fire.”

Several Palestinians were injured on Saturday night when Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah.

Hamas called on the Palestinians “to rally support to our people in Sheikh Jarrah” and to confront settler violence.

Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah have complained of repeated attacks by Israeli settlers, who reside next to them in homes taken from Palestinians over past years.

Last year, tensions ran high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood after an Israeli court ordered the eviction of several Palestinian families in favor of Israeli settlers.

In 1956, 28 families settled in Sheikh Jarrah under an agreement with the Jordanian government, which ruled the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, before the Israeli occupation in 1967, and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Sudan’s military leader lauds intelligence ties with Israel

February 14, 2022

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has praised intelligence cooperation between the African country and the Israeli regime, which has seen officials from the two former adversaries exchange meetings in unannounced trips.

Speaking in an interview with Sudan’s state-run TV aired on Saturday, Burhan claimed that it was legitimate for Sudanese security and intelligence agencies to have ties and exchange visits with Israel.

Burhan said meetings between Israeli and Sudanese officials had not been high-level and only involved the security and intelligence apparatuses. “It is no secret that the information shared enabled us to catch several terrorist organizations located inside Sudan,” he claimed.

The head of the ruling Sovereign Council said the intelligence sharing has enabled Sudan to dismantle and arrest suspected armed groups that “could have undermined the security of Sudan and the region.”

Such comments would have been unthinkable until recently in a country where public hostility toward Israel remains strong.

Sudan was once one of Israel’s fiercest foes in the Arab world and hosted the Arab Summit in Khartoum after the Middle East war in 1967. The resolution of the summit has long been known for the “three NO’s;” no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.

Sudan agreed to normalize ties with the Israeli regime in October 2020 as part of the US-led so-called Abraham Accords, a month after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed similar détente deals with Tel Aviv.

Israeli and Sudanese officials have exchanged unannounced visits in recent weeks. Most recently, a Sudanese security delegation visited Tel Aviv last week, following a visit by Israeli officials, including Mossad intelligence officers, to Khartoum in January.

Source: ABNA24

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Sudan’s Burhan dismisses sanctions threats, says Israel visits not political

12 February ,2022

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Saturday dismissed Western threats of sanctions and said meetings between Sudanese and Israeli officials were part of security cooperation rather than political in nature.

Burhan led a military coup on October 25 that ended a partnership between the army and civilian parties which was meant to lead to democratic elections, leading to months of protests as well as Western condemnation.

US officials have said they are looking into options to respond to the killing of at least 79 protesters, according to a toll by medics, and to moves to impede civilian-led government.

In his first interview on state television since the coup, Burhan said Washington was receiving inaccurate information.

“Sanctions and the threat of them are not useful,” he said.

Burhan said he took personal responsibility for investigations of protester deaths and that five or six were ongoing. But he added that there were suspicions of involvement by “outside groups,” without elaborating.

The armed forces were committed to handing over power to an elected government or to an arrangement decided through “national consensus,” he said, repeating a commitment to holding elections in mid-2023.

The military had met resistance committees that are leading the protest movement, and they agreed on many points, he said. In statements, resistance committees have rejected dialogue with the military.

Prior to the coup, the military had led steps to reach an agreement in late 2020 to normalize relations with Israel, a move also made by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

Burhan said meetings between Israeli and Sudanese officials since the coup had not been high-level and only involved the security and intelligence apparatus.

“This is a legitimate matter for these agencies, and it is no secret that the information shared enabled us to catch several terrorist organizations located inside Sudan,” he said.

Protesters have accused the military of bringing back loyalists of ousted President Omar al-Bashir. This week, two prominent politicians involved in a committee to dismantle Bashir’s network were arrested.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN adviser tells Libya it must preserve calm, stability

13 February ,2022

The UN Secretary-General’s special adviser on Libya on Sunday called on both Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and his parliament-designated successor Fathi Bashagha to preserve calm and stability.

Dbeibah, prime minister of the UN-recognized Government of National Unity (GNU), has said he will hand over power only after an election and has rejected the parliament’s move last Thursday to appoint former interior minister Bashagha to head a new government.

Libya was meant to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in December, but arguments between factions and bodies of state over how they should take place meant the process collapsed days before the vote.

UN adviser Stephanie Williams held separate meetings with Dbeibah and Bashagha.

Williams said on Twitter she highlighted in her meeting with Bashagha “the need to go forward in an inclusive, transparent, and consensual manner, and to maintain stability in Tripoli and throughout the country.”

She added that the focus must continue to be on the holding of “free, fair and inclusive national elections in the shortest possible time.”

Dbeibah emphasized during his meeting with Williams the need to complete the roadmap approved in Geneva, GNU’s Facebook page said.

All parties are responsible for creating “the appropriate conditions for holding national elections and holding a referendum on the constitution during this year,” Dbeibah said.

For his part, Bashagha said his meeting with Williams touched on efforts to form the proposed government “in a transparent and fair manner.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Tunisian president cements power over judiciary

13 February ,2022

Tunisia’s president cemented his grip over the judiciary on Sunday with a decree that lets him dismiss judges or block their promotion, helping consolidate his power after he seized executive authority last summer in a move his foes call a coup.

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President Kais Saied outraged his opponents and alarmed democratic foreign allies with his announcement last week that he was dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council, a body that guaranteed judicial independence.

Saied, a former constitutional lawyer and the husband of a judge, has accused the council of acting for political interests and has set up a temporary replacement to oversee judges’ work while he prepares broader changes.

The judiciary was seen as the last remaining institutional block on Saied’s actions after he suspended the parliament last year and said he could rule by decree.

Saied has said his actions were temporary and were needed to save Tunisia from a corrupt, self-serving elite that had allowed its economy and politics to stagnate for years and brought the state to the brink of collapse.

Some Supreme Judicial Council members and other judges demonstrated last week and shut down many courts with a two-day strike in protest at Saied’s moves on the judiciary.

However, Saied issued a new decree early on Sunday creating a temporary new council, with no fixed term, to oversee the judiciary and saying judges had no right to go on strike.

The decree also said Saied has the right to object to the promotion or nomination of any judges and is responsible for proposing judicial reforms, effectively giving him sole power over the entire justice system.

With Tunisia facing a rapidly looming crisis in public finances, the Western donors that have previously bailed it out have voiced deep concern at Saied’s moves and have said any political process needs to be inclusive.

Source: Al Arabiya

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False information spread via social media endangers Somalia's political stability

Mohammed Dhaysane 



The unfiltered flood of information through social media networks has confused Somali people, who are struggling to differentiate between disinformation, misinformation, and true information, particularly in relation to politics, as the Horn of Africa country is in the middle of parliamentary elections.

Somalia, which is struggling with drought, terrorism, and economic issues, is going to complete the clan-based electoral process called the “4.5 system” on Feb. 25. So far, 120 members of the 275-seat lower house have been elected, with the remaining 155 members to be elected before the deadline.

However, as the election process nears its completion, misleading or propaganda material about rival candidates is spreading more, potentially jeopardizing the country's political stability.

False information is a worldwide problem, and certain individuals and groups are actively involved in spreading various forms of hatred for personal gain.

Somalia is in a similar situation, with people having easy access to the internet, as well as technological advancements and the wide availability of smartphones. And, because there is no mechanism in place to regulate or properly handle social media content, some people are spreading false information for political advantage.

Both the government and the opposition have accused each other of operating a social media disinformation campaign in the country.

False information and propaganda are serious issues that can influence government decision-making and undermine the economy, according to Abdirashid Mohamed Hashi, the communications director of the Somali Presidency.

The African Union (AU) annual summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, earlier this month, which was also attended by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, discussed the issue and how to establish a continental media development center, as well as the ways to combat "fake news" and misinformation, according to Hashi.

"These challenges pose a threat to the country's development and have the potential to contribute to political instability and insecurity," he warned.

"Misinformation reached a critical juncture during COVID-19 and the country's parliamentary elections, affecting electoral commissions, and there is widespread misinformation during election results, which is very dangerous and so dangerous even before the country's most important presidential election," he added.

He stated that Somalia is a fragile country recovering from civil war and lawlessness, but that it has taken a "milestone step and progress toward forwarding" and that it "cannot handle the problem of fake news at this scale."

Help sought to counter issue

To tackle the issues, Hashi said, the government is seeking help from friendly countries such as Turkiye. "We're working on these issues with countries that are very close to us, like Turkiye, our brotherly country," he added.

He stated that the government is striving to manage, combat and establish guidelines to govern social media.

In a tweet to his Somali counterpart earlier this month, Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun stated: "May our brotherhood prosper for working even harder to combat disinformation, fake news, and any sort of manipulation targeting our nations." Let's keep conveying truth forever, he added.

Character assassination

Yusuf Hassan Mursal, a senior opposition leader in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency that disinformation has increased significantly in the country during the last five years

He alleged that the country's top elites are contributing to the problem by misleading the people and utilizing false news to carry out personal attacks.

"I believe that the spread of misinformation on social media is part of a malicious and damaging campaign against the country's politicians. It's impossible to accept character assassination through social media," he remarked.

He pointed out that attacking opposition candidates, politicians, or elected members on social media is damaging, but expressing one's viewpoint is normal without weaponizing it or misleading the public.

"We, the opposition, regard false news and misinformation as a threat to Somalia's fledgling democracy," he said.

He noted that politicians in the presidential candidates' council, including some heavyweights such as Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, two former heads of state, are among numerous politicians who have been politically attacked by false information.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Supporting force of Libyan army condemns election of Fathi Bashagha

Said Ibicioglu  



Leaders and revolutionaries of the force supporting the Libyan army condemned on Saturday the election of Fathi Bashagha as head of the new government.

In a statement read in Martyrs Square in the capital, Tripoli, they said the supporting force denounces "the state of absurdity that contradicts the outcomes of the political dialogue forum and wants the country to enter new transitional stages."

Decisions were taken in the House of Representatives in its last meeting in Tobruk were not "in accordance with fair and transparent procedures," they said.

They voiced "strong support for parliamentary elections, the referendum on the constitution, and presidential elections as soon as possible," according to the statement.

The parliament in eastern Libya named Bashagha the country’s new prime minister on Thursday.

Incumbent Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, however, rejected the move, vowing to remain in his post until national elections are held.

The UN said it still recognizes Dbeibeh after the House's vote.

Libya’s polls were scheduled on Dec. 24 but were postponed because of disagreements among political rivals. No new date for the vote has been agreed to as of yet.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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