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.


Hundreds of migrants storm Spanish enclave in North Africa, one dies

Updated 53 min 14 sec ago
0

Hundreds of migrants storm Spanish enclave in North Africa, one dies

  • About 200 migrants managed to scale the seven-meter high metal barrier and were taken to a reception center in Melilla
  • The man died of a suspected cardio-respiratory arrest despite being treated by emergency services

MADRID: One African migrant died and three others were injured when around 300 stormed the border fence separating Spanish enclave Melilla from Morocco on Sunday, the local authorities said.
About 200 migrants managed to scale the seven-meter high metal barrier and were taken to a reception center in Melilla where officials started the process of identifying them.
The man died of a suspected cardio-respiratory arrest despite being treated by emergency services, the Spanish government’s local delegation said in a statement.
More than 6,000 migrants have made it to Melilla and Spain’s nearby territory Ceuta so far this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR. In some places, the fences around the enclaves are topped with razor wire.
On Sunday, wooden-handled hooks and shoes fitted with spikes to help the climb were left behind, along with a bloodied t-shirt.
More than 40,000 have arrived by sea on Andalucia’s southern coast since January, making Spain Europe’s top destination for migrants which the European Union has failed to agree on how to handle.
The routes have changed as Italy clamped down on rescue ships to dock at its ports, and a deal between the EU and Turkey eased flows across the Aegean Sea to Greece.
The vast majority of arrivals in Spain are men, primarily from Guinea, Mali and Morocco, the UNHCR says.
On Saturday, Spain returned to Morocco 24 migrants who reached the Chafarinas islands, another Spanish territory off the North African coast, under a bilateral agreement signed in 1992, under which citizens of third countries who have entered illegally can be returned within a certain time frame.
This agreement was very rarely used until this summer, when 116 men who stormed the Ceuta fence were turned back. Spain’s Interior Ministry says it is being used now thanks to good bilateral relations.