Over 13,000 Afghans forced to flee Taliban, Daesh battle

Members of an Afghan family who fled their village in Nangarhar province at their temporary home in Jalalabad. (AP)
Updated 12 June 2019
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Over 13,000 Afghans forced to flee Taliban, Daesh battle

  • Displaced people await aid from the government
  • Daesh has frequently been met with resistance from locals, due to its extremist conduct

KABUL: Hundreds of Afghan families have been forced to leave their villages because of fighting between the Taliban and affiliates of Daesh in eastern Nangarhar province in recent weeks, officials said on Wednesday.

The fighting concentrated in the Shinwari and Khoghani districts of the province, which borders Pakistan, and has served as a bastion for Daesh loyalists since the group emerged in Afghanistan in late 2014.

Most of the displaced, including children and the elderly, have ended up in the desert, where they face soaring heat, lack of water, shelter and food, Aryan Youn, a local delegate, told Arab News.

“These people have suffered casualties and now live in miserable conditions. It is nearly 50 degrees there. A few families have received aid from locals and traders, but the government has not provided any aid for them yet because of bureaucracy,” she said.

Fighting in Nangarhar broke out days before the holy month of Ramadan after Daesh tried to take control of Taliban territory.

Najibullah Qayoumi, head of the provincial department for refugees, said the government has provided aid to some of those displaced and confirmed that families have settled in the desert.

He told Arab News the number of displaced was over 13,000.

“The fighting erupted in one area and then spread to other parts, so like many other people we had to flee,” Tawakal Shah, a displaced resident, said.

FASTFACT

The terrorist organization wanted to gain control of Taliban strongholds in Nangahar province.

Shah Mahmood Miakhel, governor of Nangarhar, told Arab News both Daesh and the Taliban were enemies of the government and that it has used airstrikes against both groups. He added that Daesh had filled the vacuum created after a government airstrike wiped out a number of Taliban leaders in April.

The governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, refused to be drawn on whether Afghan forces would be deployed against the two groups. He also refused to answer questions on how the organizations had gained such a foothold in the region, after a series of prolonged operations against them by the US and Afghan soldiers. Washington famously dropped the world’s largest bomb, nicknamed the “Mother of all Bombs” (MOAB) on militants in 2017.

Daesh has frequently been met with resistance from locals, due to its extremist conduct, including forcefully marrying young girls and killing community elders in brutal ways. 

Waheed Mozhdah, an analyst, said the spread of Daesh’s activities in Afghanistan had “raised lots of questions and suspicions not only among ordinary Afghans, but the Taliban too.

“One reason why the Taliban are hesitant about talks (with the US) is that they think America is bringing Daesh to Afghanistan. The Taliban have openly said that America is aiding Daesh here,” he said.

US officials have repeatedly rejected as baseless accusations raised by Iran, Russia and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai that Washington is helping Daesh in Afghanistan to destabilize the region.

Some 1.4 million Afghans have been internally displaced due to the conflict, as well as natural disasters, in the last 18 years.


Indonesia becomes latest Southeast Asian country to return waste to the West

Updated 9 min 19 sec ago
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Indonesia becomes latest Southeast Asian country to return waste to the West

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last month ordered his government to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada

JAKARTA: Indonesia has sent back a consignment of Canadian paper waste, imported via the United States, because it was contaminated with material including plastic, rubber and diapers, the environment ministry said.
Indonesia is the latest Southeast Asian country to send back trash amid a spike in imports from Western countries after China banned imports, disrupting the global flow of millions of tons of waste each year.
Environment ministry official Sayid Muhadhar said by telephone five containers, or around 100 tons, of waste had now been sent back to Seattle from Indonesia’s second-biggest city of Surabaya.
“This is very simple. Indonesia does not allow imports of trash,” Muhadhar said.
“In Surabaya, what happened was we were supposed to get paper scrap, but instead it came with other materials such as plastic bags, rubber, plastic bottles, plastic pouches from cooking oil and soap,” Muhadhar said.
The ministry did not name the company that had exported the waste, but said it was the first time in around five years that scrap had been re-exported.
“It’s been happening more because China has shut down its recycling facilities, so other countries have to look for new places,” said Muhadhar.
Last month, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refused to accept them.
Malaysia also said recently said it would send as much as 3,000 tons of plastic waste back to the countries it came from.