Amnesty possible for Daesh fighters surrendering in north Afghanistan

A foreign Daesh fighter, second right, speaks to a journalist after he surrendered to government security forces in the Darzab district of Jawzjan province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (AP)
Updated 04 August 2018
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Amnesty possible for Daesh fighters surrendering in north Afghanistan

  • Around 150 Daesh fighters gave themselves up after being driven from their strongholds in Jawzjan by the Taliban after weeks of fighting
  • Government officials said it was the first time such large numbers of Daesh fighters had surrendered at once

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan: Daesh fighters who surrendered to Afghan forces this week in the northern province of Jawzjan may be granted amnesty despite accusations of atrocities including rape and murder, officials said.
Around 150 Daesh fighters, including two senior commanders, gave themselves up after being driven from their strongholds in Jawzjan by the Taliban after weeks of fighting.
Thousands of civilians fled the area in the districts of Darzab and Qush Tepa and many accused Daesh fighters of multiple atrocities, giving detailed accounts of women and young girls being taken from their families, raped and, in some cases, murdered.
However the spokesman for the Jawzjan provincial governor said the need to encourage militant fighters to surrender was likely to mean that they would not face charges.
“There is an amnesty for the Daesh group that surrendered in Darzab district,” Mohammad Reza Ghafouri, spokesman for the Jawzjan provincial governor, said.
“The group will not be presented to legal and judicial authorities because they are taking part in the peace process,” he said, adding that people with complaints about individual Daesh members were free to take the matter up with the courts.
Government officials said it was the first time such large numbers of Daesh fighters had surrendered at once. Several women and children, all related to the fighters, had also handed themselves to Afghan authorities.
“Any adversary of the government that joins the peace process has to be given amnesty because if they are taken before the judges, other adversaries who have reached an agreement with the government will go cold on it,” Ghafouri said.
While pressure has been building for peace talks between the Western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban, the local affiliate of Daesh, which has gained an unmatched reputation for brutality, has shown no signs of joining.
The Taliban, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster, also took credit for the surrender, saying they had “cleared” Jawzjan.
Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the military had done its duty and it was now for the government to decide the next step.
“As defenders of our people and country, our job is to fight our enemy until the battle ground. Now they have surrendered...our job is done,” he said.
Another official, Jawzjan security commander General Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, said any Daesh fighter who had committed crimes against humanity would face justice and expressed skepticism about any reconciliation.
He said those fighters who surrendered to the government were Afghans, although foreign fighters believed to be in the area may have been killed or captured by the Taliban.
“I am concerned and afraid that after surrendering, these people will commit more crimes because they are completely untrustworthy,” he said.


Spain police break up Moroccan migrant smuggling ring

Updated 10 min 7 sec ago
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Spain police break up Moroccan migrant smuggling ring

  • The ring recruited its “customers” mainly in the northern Moroccan city of Larache, charging “at least” 2,500 euros ($2,825) per person

MADRID: Spanish police said Monday they have smashed an alleged people trafficking network which “operated like a travel agency” and smuggled around 600 Moroccans into Spain by sea this year.
The ring recruited its “customers” mainly in the northern Moroccan city of Larache, charging “at least” 2,500 euros ($2,825) per person for the dangerous crossing, police said in a statement.
“The organization operated like a sort of travel agency” which took the migrants to Spain, picked them up from the coast and then transported them by car to “safe houses.”
From there, they took them to their desired destination in the country, usually in Catalonia or the northern Basque Country, the statement added.
Police arrested seven suspected leaders of the ring, including its Moroccan-based chief, who was charged with recruiting migrants as part of the operation.
The network smuggled around 600 migrants into Spain this year, earning at least 1.5 million euros, the statement added.
Spain has seen growing numbers of migrants after Italy began to stem the flow of sea arrivals from Libya last year.
The International Organization for Migration says that more than 55,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea this year, and that at least 743 have died or gone missing trying, making it the main entry point for migrants seeking a better life in Europe.