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.


Rohingya Muslim group fleeing India to Bangladesh stuck on ‘zero line’

Updated 2 min 7 sec ago
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Rohingya Muslim group fleeing India to Bangladesh stuck on ‘zero line’

  • The stranded Rohingya, including women and children, had been living in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Many hundreds of thousands of members of mostly Buddhist Myanmar’s Rohingya community have left their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine Sate

DHAKA: Bangladesh has denied entry to 31 Rohingya Muslims trying to enter from India and they are stuck in no-man’s land on the border, Bangladesh authorities said on Monday, as India cracks down on members of the community.
The stranded Rohingya, including women and children, had been living in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) official who said he had seen some of their identity cards issued by the UN refugee agency in India.
The 31 had been stuck on Bangladesh’s border with northeast India since Friday, said the BGB commander in the area, Golam Kabir.
“We stopped them as they were crossing the border,” Kabir told Reuters by telephone.
“They’ve been on the zero line since the 18th of this month,” he said, referring to the border.
Two rounds of talks on what to do with the 31, with India’s Border Security Force on Sunday, had “ended without any conclusive decision,” Kabir said.
Many hundreds of thousands of members of mostly Buddhist Myanmar’s Rohingya community have left their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine Sate over the decades, most fleeing military crackdowns and discrimination.
Many have sought shelter in Bangladesh — where nearly 1 million live — but others have ended up in India, Southeast Asia and beyond.
An Indian border force officer in Tripura state told reporters on Sunday that they were providing food and clothing to the Rohingya, 16 of whom were children.
The force could not be reached for comment on Monday.
India estimates that 40,000 Rohingya are living in scattered settlements in various parts of the country.
But its Hindu nationalist government regards them as illegal aliens and a security threat, and has ordered that they be identified and repatriated.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has issued about 16,500 Rohingya in India with identity cards that it says can help “prevent harassment, arbitrary arrests, detention and deportation.” India does not recognize the cards.
Hundreds of Rohingya families have left India for Bangladesh since seven Rohingya men were deported to Myanmar in October. This month, India sent a Rohingya family of five to Myanmar.
The United Nations says conditions are not conducive for Rohingya to return to Myanmar.
In August, the United Nations accused the Myanmar military of mass killings and rapes of Rohingya with “genocidal intent” in a 2017 military operation that drove more than 700,000 of them into Bangladesh, according to UN agencies.
Myanmar has denied the accusations, saying its military launched a counter-insurgency operation after attacks on security posts by Muslim terrorists.