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
0

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.


Uzbekistan to join Turkmenistan-India gas pipeline project

Updated 8 min 12 sec ago
0

Uzbekistan to join Turkmenistan-India gas pipeline project

  • Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said Uzbek experts would travel to Turkmenistan to discuss Tashkent's role in the pipeline
  • "We have agreed that Uzbekistan will also take part in this project," says Mirziyoyev

TASHKENT: Uzbekistan plans to join an $8 billion project to build a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to India, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said on Monday, although it was unclear whether Tashkent might eventually ship gas through it.
Turkmenistan, which sits on the world's fourth-biggest gas reserves and borders Afghanistan, started this year laying the Afghan section of the pipeline which will also cross Pakistan, seeing it as key to diversifying exports away from China.
Uzbekistan also exports gas, mainly to China and Russia, although its export volumes are much lower than the Turkmen ones due to higher domestic consumption.
"We have agreed that Uzbekistan will also take part in this project," Mirziyoyev told reporters after meeting his Turkmen counterpart Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who visited Uzbekistan.
He provided no details, but said Uzbek experts would travel to Turkmenistan to discuss Tashkent's role in the pipeline.
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, both ex-Soviet Central Asian republics, each produce more than 60 billion cubic metres of gas a year. China dominates Turkmen exports while Uzbek gas sales are split roughly equally between China and Russia.