Taliban attack Afghan security forces in north, killing 37

An Afghan police pickup truck transports injured victims following a suicide attack in Kabul on July 22, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Taliban attack Afghan security forces in north, killing 37

KABUL: Taliban insurgents have launched separate attacks on Afghan security forces in the country's north, killing at least 37, provincial officials said Monday.
Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council in Kunduz province, said that at least 13 security forces were killed in an attack on a checkpoint they were manning in Dashti Archi district, with another 15 security forces wounded there. The firefight began late Sunday and continued into Monday morning.
Meanwhile in Jawzjan province, Provincial Police Chief Gen. Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani said the Taliban attacked Khamyab district from different directions, forcing Afghan forces to withdraw from the district headquarters to avoid civilian causalities.
"There was intense fighting and we didn't want civilian houses destroyed, or any civilian casualties," said Jawzjani. He said that at least eight policemen were killed and three other police were wounded. Seven Taliban were killed and eight were wounded during the gun battle, he added.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the group for the attacks in Kunduz and Jawzjan provinces.
The Taliban also killed another 14 local Afghan policemen and pro-government militiamen in the Dara Suf district of Samangan province, provincial spokesman Sediq Azizi said, adding that six others were also wounded.
Azizi added that three Taliban fighters were killed and four others were wounded during the Monday morning battle.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack in Samangan, but Azizi blamed Taliban insurgents who are active in the province and often target Afghan security forces and local, pro-government militias.
In another report from northern Sari Pul province, provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizai said that Taliban attacked checkpoints of the army and pro-government militia near the provincial capital, Sari Pul city.
Two pro-government militia fighters were killed and two others wounded, he said, but had no details on any possible casualties among the army.
"The Taliban's attack has been repelled, but sporadic gun battles are underway at the outskirts of the city," he added.
The Taliban hasn't yet commented on the fighting in Sari Pul province.


Own up to mass Muslim detentions, Amnesty tells China

Updated 34 min 7 sec ago
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Own up to mass Muslim detentions, Amnesty tells China

  • Beijing has tightened restrictions on Muslim minorities to combat what it calls Islamic extremism and separatist elements in Xinjiang
  • Critics say the drive risks fueling resentment toward Beijing and further inflaming separatist sentiment

BEIJING: China must come clean about the fate of an estimated one million minority Muslims swept up in a “massive crackdown” in its far western region of Xinjiang, Amnesty International said Monday.
Beijing has tightened restrictions on Muslim minorities to combat what it calls Islamic extremism and separatist elements in Xinjiang.
Critics say the drive risks fueling resentment toward Beijing and further inflaming separatist sentiment.
In a new report, which included testimony from people held in the camps, the international rights group said Beijing had rolled out “an intensifying government campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation.”
Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are punished for violating regulations banning beards and burqas, and for the possession of unauthorized Qur’ans, it added.
Up to a million people are detained in internment camps, a United Nations panel on racial discrimination reported last month, with many detained for offenses as minor as making contact with family members outside the country or sharing Islamic holiday greetings on social media.
“Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by this massive crackdown,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East Asia director, in a statement.
“They are desperate to know what has happened to their loved ones and it is time the Chinese authorities give them answers.”
Beijing has denied reports of the camps but evidence is mounting in the form of government documents and escapee testimony.
These suggest that Chinese authorities are detaining large groups of people in a network of extrajudicial camps for political and cultural indoctrination on a scale unseen since the Maoist era.
Amnesty’s report interviewed several former detainees who said they were put in shackles, tortured, and made to sing political songs and learn about the Communist Party.
The testimony tallies with evidence gathered by foreign reporters and rights groups in the past year.
Amnesty also called on governments around the world to hold Beijing to account for “the nightmare” unfolding in Xinjiang.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced “awful abuses” of Uighur Muslims detained in re-education camps.
“Hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of Uighurs are held against their will in so-called re-education camps where they’re forced to endure severe political indoctrination and other awful abuses,” Pompeo said in a speech.
However Pakistan, China’s biggest Muslim ally, quickly denied reports last week that it had criticized Beijing — which is pouring billions in infrastructure investment into the country — over the issue.
Religious affairs minister Noorul Haq Qadri told AFP China has agreed to exchange delegations of religious students to help promote “harmony” between Muslims and Chinese authorities.
China’s top leaders recently called for religious practices to be brought in line with “traditional” Chinese values and culture, sparking concern among rights groups.
Earlier this month draft regulations suggested Beijing was considering restrictions on religious content online, such as images of people praying or chanting.
State supervision of religion has increased in a bid to “block extremism,” and authorities have removed Islamic symbols such as crescents from public spaces in areas with significant Muslim populations.
Christians have also been targeted in crackdowns, with a prominent Beijing “underground” church shuttered by authorities earlier this month. Churches in central Henan province have seen their crosses torn down and followers harassed.