Afghan spymaster claims Russia, Iran are assisting Taliban

In this file photo, Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai speaks during an interview in Kabul December 31, 2012. (REUTERS)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Afghan spymaster claims Russia, Iran are assisting Taliban

KABUL: The head of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence agency, Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai, claimed over the weekend that Russia and Iran are aiding the Taliban.
The militant group is currently regaining its grip on the country, with the BBC reporting last week that it is now openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan — “much more territory than when foreign combat troops left in 2014.”
“There is evidence that Russia and Iran are somehow helping the Taliban, but not to the extent that the propaganda reports claim,” Stanekzai told the BBC’s Dari service in an interview this week.
Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters this week that Iran is not interfering in Afghanistan’s “internal affairs.”
The Russian Embassy in Kabul did not respond to Arab News’ requests for comment.
Moscow has, in the past, confirmed ties with the Taliban, but claims it maintains that relationship solely to safeguard Russian nationals in Afghanistan and in the hope of restarting stalled Afghan peace talks.
Afghan officials have repeatedly accused Moscow and Tehran of providing both money and weaponry to the Taliban. However, Stanekzai is the first high-level government official to publicly accuse them of supporting the insurgents.
The emergence of Daesh in Afghanistan and its expansion in pockets of northern areas in recent months has been a source of concern not just for Afghans, but also for regional players, including Russia and Iran.
Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Russia’s Sputnik news agency at the end of last year that pro-Daesh militants fleeing Iraq and Syria were entering Afghanistan.
Members of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission told Arab News at the time that it had no evidence of the migration of foreign fighters into Afghanistan from Syria or Iraq.


Japan court opts to detain Nissan’s Ghosn through Dec. 20

Updated 11 December 2018
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Japan court opts to detain Nissan’s Ghosn through Dec. 20

  • The extended detention is for additional allegations prosecutors issued Monday against Ghosn and Kelly, of underreporting another $36 million in 2016-2018
  • The arrest of an industry icon admired both in Japan and around the world stunned many and has raised concerns over the Japanese automaker and the future of its alliance with Renault SA of France

TOKYO: A Tokyo court has decided Nissan Motor Co.’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn and another executive, both arrested Nov. 19, will remain in custody through Dec. 20.
The Tokyo District Court decision on Tuesday comes a day after Ghosn, Greg Kelly and Nissan Motor were indicted for allegedly falsifying financial reports to underreport Ghosn’s pay by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) in 2011-2015.
The extended detention is for additional allegations prosecutors issued Monday against Ghosn and Kelly, of underreporting another 4 billion yen ($36 million) in 2016-2018.
The arrest of an industry icon admired both in Japan and around the world stunned many and has raised concerns over the Japanese automaker and the future of its alliance with Renault SA of France.