Afghan forces to launch operation against Daesh in the north

Afghan police special forces assemble for an exercise in the Mohammad Agha district of Logar province, eastern of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP/Rahmat Gul)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Afghan forces to launch operation against Daesh in the north

KABUL: Afghanistan’s military plans to launch a major operation to stop the Daesh group making inroads into the country’s northern provinces, officials said Tuesday, after AFP reported that fighters including French nationals were present there.
“(The) ministry of defense is planning to launch an operation against Daesh in northern provinces of Sari Pul, Faryab and Jowzjan,” defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP.
“We know there are foreign fighters among them, but we will eliminate all of them regardless of their nationality,” he said, without elaborating further.
On Sunday, AFP reported that French and Algerian fighters, some arriving from Syria, had joined the ranks of the Daesh group in northern Afghanistan where the militants have established new bases.
European and Afghan local sources confirmed that French citizens were among the fighters in Darzab district of Jowzjan province, suggesting they may have links to Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K), the group’s franchise in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is the first time that the presence of French Daesh fighters has been recorded in Afghanistan, and comes as analysts suggested foreigners may be heading for the war-torn country after being driven out of Syria and Iraq.
“We have reports that more than 40 foreign Daesh fighters, mostly Uzbeks, are present in Darzab and Qushtepa districts. They are there to recruit locals and train them to become fighters,” Mohammad Reza Ghafoori, a spokesman for the governor of Jowzjan, told AFP.
“The government is planning to launch an operation to clear the area from them soon,” he said, also without giving further details.
When it first emerged in 2015, IS-K overran large parts of eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, though initially its part in the Afghan conflict was overshadowed by the Taliban.
The jihadists have since spread north, including in Jowzjan on the border with Uzbekistan, and carried out multiple devastating attacks in the capital Kabul.


Pakistan party: Jailed ex-PM needs to be taken to hospital

Updated 30 min 27 sec ago
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Pakistan party: Jailed ex-PM needs to be taken to hospital

  • The party isn't "seeking any concession" for Sharif but that he has a right to be treated by his doctor, says spokesman for Sharif's party
  • Sharif underwent an open-heart surgery at a hospital in London in 2016

ISLAMABAD: The political party of Pakistan's jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has asked authorities to urgently move him to a hospital, saying his health has deteriorated.
Monday's comment by Pervaiz Rashid, spokesman for the Pakistan Muslim League, came as doctors were due to examine Sharif, who has a history of heart disease.
Sharif underwent an open-heart surgery at a hospital in London in 2016.
He has been held at a jail in the city of Rawalpindi since July 13, when he returned from London to face a 10-year prison sentence on corruption charges.
Rashid says the party isn't "seeking any concession" for Sharif but that he has a right to be treated by his doctor.
Tensions and violence have escalated in Pakistan ahead of parliamentary elections on Wednesday.