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
0

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.


France arrests 10 ultra-right suspects over plot to attack Muslims

The suspects were being monitored by France’s DGSI intelligence agency, intercepted messages showing they were seeking to buy arms. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 June 2018
0

France arrests 10 ultra-right suspects over plot to attack Muslims

  • France is home to an estimated 5.7 million Muslims or almost nine percent of the population
  • Sources said the gang was looking to hit “targets linked to terrorists

PARIS: Ten people with links to the radical far-right have been arrested by anti-terrorist police in France over an alleged plot to attack Muslims, judicial sources said Sunday.
The arrests were made late Saturday in operations across France, including the Mediterranean island of Corsica, the sources told AFP.
The suspects had an “ill-defined plan to commit a violent act targeting people of the Muslim faith,” one source close to the probe said.
Another source said the gang was looking to hit “targets linked to terrorists.”
France has been hit by a string of militants attacks since early 2015, often by people who have become radicalized or claim to have acted in the name of the Daesh group.
More than 240 people have been killed in the attacks, including 130 who lost their lives in a wave of bombings and shootings mainly in Paris nightspots in November 2015.
The suspects were being monitored by France’s DGSI intelligence agency, intercepted messages showing they were seeking to buy arms, and searches turned up some weapons, the sources said.
France is home to an estimated 5.7 million Muslims or almost nine percent of the population, according to a report by US-based think-tank the Pew Research Center at the end of last year.