Russia, Pakistan share fears over Daesh in Afghanistan

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, left, and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif enter a hall for their talks in Moscow, Russia, on Feb. 20, 2018. (AP)
Updated 21 February 2018

Russia, Pakistan share fears over Daesh in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have expressed concerns over the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan.
Following a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who is on an official four-day visit to Russia, said: “There was unanimity of views that unchecked proliferation of Daesh in Afghanistan, particularly along the borders of neighboring countries, was a threat to peace in the entire region.”
During talks, Lavrov insisted that combating terrorism is a priority area of cooperation between Islamabad and Moscow.
“We are planning to continue giving practical assistance in strengthening the counterterrorism potential of your country,” he told the Pakistani delegation.
The Russian foreign minister also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism.
“He conveyed Russia’s continued support for enhancing Pakistan’s counterterrorism capabilities,” a Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement said.
Analyst Qamar Cheema told Arab News that Russia is reportedly negotiating with the Afghan Taliban in order to curb Daesh’s influence in the country.
“Russia believes militant movements in Central Asia may get impressed by (Daesh’s) ideology, so it is important to curb and eliminate Daesh infrastructure and cells in Afghanistan,” Cheema said.
“That is the reason Russia is reportedly enhancing ties with the Afghan Taliban, so that they could engage Daesh in the country knowing that the Afghan authorities are not capable of fighting Daesh.”
Asif tweeted on Wednesday that his meeting with Lavrov was “very fruitful” and added that “consensus on regional and international issues, particularly Afghanistan … need for close cooperation on counterterrorism and eliminating drug trafficking, better trade and defense relations were discussed.”
At a delegation level meeting in Moscow, the two sides also discussed the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the region. They reiterated that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and a negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process was the only viable option for lasting peace in the country.
“They agreed to closely coordinate in all Afghanistan-related processes for a regional solution of the Afghan conflict,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said.

Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

Updated 58 min 29 sec ago

Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

  • ‘He should never be allowed to go free,’ Bosnian diplomat tells Arab News
  • Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict

JEDDAH: Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, widely known as the “Butcher of Bosnia,” has had his sentence for genocide and war crimes increased to life in prison.

He was appealing a 2016 verdict in which he was given a 40-year sentence for the Srebrenica massacre in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the town of Srebrenica by Bosnian-Serb forces in July 1995. Karadzic, 73, was also found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

The UN court said the 40-year sentence did not reflect the trial chamber’s analysis on the “gravity and responsibility for the largest and greatest set of crimes ever attributed to a single person at the ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia).”

The ruling by the judges on Wednesday cannot be appealed, and will end one of the highest-profile legal battles stemming from the Balkan wars.

Karadzic showed almost no reaction as presiding Judge Vagn Joensen of Denmark read out the damning judgment.

The former leader is one of the most senior figures tried by The Hague’s war crimes court. His case is considered as key in delivering justice for the victims of the Bosnian conflict, which left more than 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.

Joensen said the trial chamber was wrong to impose a sentence of just 40 years, given what he called the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of Karadzic’s crimes. Applause broke out in the public gallery as Joensen passed the new sentence.

Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict. Mothers, some elderly and walking with canes, wept with apparent relief after watching the ruling read on a screen in Srebrenica.

Halim Grabus, a Bosnian-Muslim diplomat based in Geneva, told Arab News that the verdict “will act as a deterrent against the criminals responsible for the genocide of Muslims during the 1992-1995 war. He (Karadzic) should never be allowed to go free. He deserves maximum punishment.”

Grabus was in Bosnia during the war, and witnessed the scorched-earth policy of Karadzic and his fellow generals.

Grabus said it was not possible in today’s world to expect total justice, “but the verdict is important for the victims and survivors of Karadzic’s genocidal politics and ideology of hate.” 

A large majority of Serbs “continue to justify what he did, and continue to carry forward his hateful campaign against Bosnian Muslims,” Grabus added.

“Many of the killers of Muslims during the Bosnian war are still roaming free. They need to be arrested and brought to justice.”

Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian-Serb wartime military commander, is awaiting an appeal judgment of his genocide and war crimes conviction, which earned him a life sentence. Both he and Karadzic were convicted of genocide for their roles in the Srebrenica massacre.