Afghanistan rules out peace deals with Haqqanis

Updated 07 November 2012
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Afghanistan rules out peace deals with Haqqanis

KABUL: Afghanistan welcomes the United Nations’ decision to impose sanctions on the Haqqani network and would not negotiate for peace with the group blamed for several high-profile attacks in the country, the presidential spokesman said yesterday.
On Monday the UN Security Council’s Taleban sanctions committee added the Haqqani network to a UN blacklist, the United States said.
Aimal Faizi, President Hamid Karzai’s chief spokesman, said Kabul backed the UN decision, but added it should have been made a long time ago to weaken the Haqqanis, a Pashtun tribe allied to the Afghan Taleban, who he said had carried out most of the terrorist attacks in the nation over the past 10 years.
Although the Afghan government is engaged in reconciliation talks with members of the Taleban, it rules out dialogue with the Haqqani group, believed to be based in the unruly border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We don’t want any kind of deal with the Haqqanis, who were behind many of the attacks on Afghan security forces and civilians including women and children,” Faizi said.
“We have certain negotiating conditions with armed opposition groups but the Haqqanis do not meet the criteria and they are in the service of a foreign spy agency.” Afghan and US officials have accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of using Haqqani militants as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the influence of rival India. Islamabad denies the allegations.
The United States designated the Haqqani network a terrorist organization in September, a move the group’s commanders said proved Washington was not sincere about peace efforts in Afghanistan.
Isolating the Haqqanis, who were blamed for the 18-hour attack on embassies and parliament in Kabul in April, could complicate efforts to secure peace in Afghanistan as most NATO combat troops prepare to leave by the end of 2014.
The Haqqanis say they are intricately tied to the Afghan Taleban and both groups insist they must act in unison in any peace process.
Most of the Haqqani leaders have already been blacklisted individually.
A report in July by the Center for Combating Terrorism said the Haqqanis run a sophisticated financial network, raising money through kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking but also having a legitimate business portfolio that includes import/export, transport, real estate and construction interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Gulf.


Arrests follow rape of Indian anti-trafficking activists

Updated 23 June 2018
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Arrests follow rape of Indian anti-trafficking activists

  • At least 60 NGOS in four networks are working on a memorandum asking the state to protect activists
  • More recently it brought in the death penalty for those who rape children under the age of 12 following a national outcry over the gang rape

NEW DELHI: Police have made a series of arrests in connection with the abduction and rape at gunpoint of five anti-trafficking campaigners in the central Indian state of Jharkhand early this week.

Khunti police station officials, where the incident happened, told Arab News that three people have been arrested, including the head of the school where the play was being performed. 

Police superintendent Ashwini Kumar Sinha said a leader of a local movement called Pathalgadi instigated the accused, saying that the play performers were against the movement and should be taught a lesson. 

Pathalgadi is a political movement whose followers recognize their village councils as the only sovereign authority and views all outsiders suspiciously.

Activists working in the area say the incident has left them shocked and worried for their safety.

Earlier this week, nine activists were abducted while performing a street play in Kochang village and driven into a forest, where they were beaten and the women raped.

The activists were from the nonprofit organization Asha Kiran, which runs a shelter in the Khunti district for young women rescued from trafficking. Activists say that while such incidents are rare, the abductions have shaken the community.

“There is definitely fear now,” said Rajan Kumar, of Sinduartola Gramodaya Vikas Vidyalaya, a nonprofit group campaigning against people trafficking in the district. 

“But people have to work. We need to do more to take members of the village council into our confidence.”

Rajiv Ranjan Sinha, of the Jharkhand Anti-Trafficking Network, a coalition of 14 organizations, said the incident has frightened everyone.

“We’ve never had to face this before,” Sinha said. “But it will definitely have an implication. New people will be scared to go into the field.”

On Saturday, several non-profit organizations called for a silent protest march at 10 a.m. in the state capital Ranchi on Sunday.

At least 60 NGOS in four networks are working on a memorandum asking the state to protect activists and to take seriously the issue of violence against women.

“We are not only NGO workers, but we are female also,” a spokeswoman said. “There is a lot of fear among workers now.”

India has a poor record of sexual violence against women — at least 39,000 cases were reported in 2016, the latest government data available. Activists say many more incidents go unreported.

The country changed its rape laws and introduced Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences legislation after the rape and murder of a 19-year-old student in December 2012 in the Indian capital.

More recently it brought in the death penalty for those who rape children under the age of 12 following a national outcry over the gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in the northern state of Kashmir.

The girl was kidnapped, drugged and raped in a temple where she was held captive for several days before being beaten to death.