US-led coalition: No evidence of Daesh influx to Afghanistan

Security personnel arrive outside the site of a suicide attack in kabul, Afghanistan, in this Dec. 28, 2017 photo. (AP)
Updated 31 December 2017
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US-led coalition: No evidence of Daesh influx to Afghanistan

KABUL: The US-led coalition in Afghanistan on Saturday said it has no evidence about a claim by a top Russian diplomat in Kabul who recently revealed that Daesh fighters from the Middle East were heading to Afghanistan.
Last week, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told Russia’s Sputnik news agency that militants fleeing from Iraq and Syria are entering Afghanistan and that unidentified helicopters supplied Western arms to Daesh fighters in the country's northern border regions.
Arab News emailed a set of questions to the US-led Resolute Support coalition in Afghanistan about Kabulov’s allegations.
Capt. Tom Gresbak, public affairs director for the coalition, in reply to all the queries and allegations, told Arab News on Saturday that there is no evidence of any influx.
“Resolute Support has no evidence of migration of foreign fighters into Afghanistan from Syria, Iraq. We are aware of the ISIS threat, opportunistic nature and barbaric resilience. ISIS will be eliminated, and Resolute Support will support ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) in achieving this goal.” Gresbak told Arab News
In the interview last week, Kaulov, the Russian ambassador in Kabul, said: “Russia was among the first to sound the alarm in connection with the emergence of Daesh in Afghanistan ... Daesh has significantly increased its power in the country recently. According to our estimates, the number of militants exceeds 10,000 and continues to grow, particularly due to new fighters arriving from Syria and Iraq.”
Afghan Chief of Army Staff Gen. Mohammed Sharif Yaftali dismissed Kabulov’s claims. “We confirm the presence of up to 2,000 Daesh fighters in Afghanistan,” he said. “Mr. Kabulov is sick and it is his habit to exaggerate things.”


Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

Updated 20 min 2 sec ago
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Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

  • The amendments seek to limit the government's ability to set up the customs arrangements May has advocated, which would keep close ties to Europe
  • May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc

LONDON: A former senior British minister called on Monday for a second referendum to solve a parliamentary stalemate on Brexit, saying Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals for new ties with the European Union were a fudge that satisfied no one.
Justine Greening, an ex-Education Secretary who quit the government in January, said May’s negotiating strategy would neither please those who wanted a clean break with the EU nor those who opposed Brexit altogether.
“We’ll be dragging Remain voters out of the EU for a deal that means still complying with many EU rules, but now with no say on shaping them,” Greening wrote in the Times newspaper.
“It’s not what they want, and on top of that when they hear that Leave voters are unhappy, they ask, ‘What’s the point?’. For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted.”
May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc.
Her Brexit negotiating strategy, which aims for a close relationship with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, was only agreed with her cabinet earlier this month after two years of wrangling. Two senior ministers resigned in protest shortly afterwards.
May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government’s post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.
However, she has told unhappy lawmakers that they needed to back her or risk there being no Brexit at all.
Greening said that with divisions in the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party over how to proceed with Brexit, there should be another vote, with the public able to choose between May’s plans, a “no-deal” break with the EU or remaining in the bloc.
“The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people,” she said.