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Turf war between IS, Taliban escalates in Afghanistan

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image courtesy-www.indiandefencereview.com
image courtesy-www.indiandefencereview.com

 

London: Islamic State militants have executed three fighters accused of defecting to the Taliban as a brutal turf war escalates between the rival organizations in Afghanistan.

The killings come days after the Taliban sent a letter to IS warning them to stay out of the country, saying there was room for only “one flag, one leadership” in their fight to re-establish strict Islamist rule, a Daily Mail report said.

One video posted on pro-IS accounts shows a line of armed fighters standing behind two kneeling men who are shot dead by one of the militants with a handgun.

In a separate execution, pictures appeared to show another alleged defector being beheaded.

The groups declared war against each other in April after the Afghan Taliban branded IS’s self-declared caliphate illegitimate and refused to declare allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

IS responded by launching recruitment drives deep into Taliban territory, allowing them to expand rapidly — even reportedly replacing the Taliban as the dominant controlling force in one district.

The warning letter from the Taliban came amid heavy fighting this week in eastern Afghanistan between the Taliban and breakaway factions who now swear allegiance to IS, which in the past year seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The entry of IS, while its numbers remain small, has complicated Afghanistan’s already escalating war following the withdrawal of most foreign troops at the end of last year.

The letter addressed to Al-Baghdadi said the Taliban “based on religious brotherhood asks for your goodwill and doesn’t want to see interference in its affairs”.

The Taliban have fought to topple Afghanistan’s Western-backed government since the US-sponsored military intervention that toppled their own five-year rule in 2001. 

The letter to Al-Baghdadi, signed by Taliban political committee chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, shows the insurgents also were worried.

“Jihad against American invaders and their slaves in Afghanistan must be under one flag, one leadership and one command,” it said.

The letter also appeared intended to dissuade other Taliban fighters considering switching sides.

Besides Arabic, it was written in Dari, Pashto and Urdu languages that are spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan and was distributed by an official Taliban spokesperson.

(IANS)

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Karun Nair Opens Up Over New Opportunities in His Life

Nair has had a moderate IPL so far, scoring 246 runs in 11 matches at 24.60.

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Nair has had a moderate IPL so far, scoring 246 runs in 11 matches at 24.60.
Nair is currently playing for Kings XI Punjab in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). wikimedia commons

Back in the Indian Test cricket team after more than a year, middle-order batsman Karun Nair says he is now working to become an all-format player in future.

The 26-year-old Karnataka right-hander will replace Virat Kohli in the Indian team, which will take on debutants Afghanistan in Bengaluru from June 14-18.

Captain Kohli will play for English county side Surrey during that time to prepare for the England tour later this year.

Nair is currently playing for Kings XI Punjab in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

“I am really excited to be wearing those whites again and representing my country has always been an honour and privilege. I am really looking forward to it,” Nair told IANS in a telephonic interview.

“I have worked really hard over the last one and half years. My form in the IPL and the way I have batted, I consider myself an all-format player and it’s just about getting those opportunities and making the most of them,” said Nair when asked about common perception that the Karnataka willower is a Test specialist.

“It’s just that finding a spot in the one day team is difficult. I need to do better to get those opportunities and I am on the right track. I will do everything I can with the bat to make sure I play all formats,” he said.

Nair, who scored an unbeaten 303 against England in the fifth test in Chennai two years back, will lead the India A side in the four-day matches in the UK. For India A’s One-Day tri-series assignment in the UK, he has not been picked.

Back in the Indian Test cricket team after more than a year, middle-order batsman Karun Nair says he is now working to become an all-format player in future.
Karun Nair will lead the India A side in the four-day matches in the UK. wikimedia commons

“I am really happy to be leading the team. It’s a great opportunity for us as a team to be playing in England and learning how to play cricket in England,” said Nair, who played his last Test against Australia in Dharamsala last year before being dropped to accommodate Rohit Sharma in the playing XI.

“We need to learn to adjust to those conditions. For me as a captain, we have a talented bunch of youngsters who are really exciting,” he added.

Nair has had a moderate IPL so far, scoring 246 runs in 11 matches at 24.60.

Talking about Kings XI who are experiencing a downturn after losing four of their previous five games, Nair said it’s time to get their act together at the business end of the season. Punjab have 12 points from 11 matches.

“It’s almost the business end of the tournament. So we need to get our act together,” he said.

“The matches that we have won, we have completely played as a team. Individual performances have helped like K.L. Rahul has batted exceptionally well in some of the games.

“Chris (Gayle) has also batted superbly in few games. But it has been a collective effort overall,” Nair said.

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Nair also lavished praise on Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, saying he has done exceedingly well in his first year as captain.

“It’s been brilliant under Ash. He has done exceedingly well as a captain and to be captaining in the IPL for the first time, he has done exceptionally well,” he said.

“He has always been a smart cricketer, if you look at his bowling he always has different plans for different batsmen and he can change it anytime during the game. He takes wise and quick decisions which is definitely needed in T20 cricket. I hope we win more games under his captaincy.” (IANS)