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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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Air Trade Corridor Between China And Afghanistan Now Open

In the wake of its increased economic engagement in the region, China recently set up a trilateral foreign ministers' level dialogue with Pakistan and Afghanistan

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afghanistan and china
Google Maps. VOA

Landlocked Afghanistan has opened its first direct air link with China, dispatching 20 tons of pine nuts on the inaugural cargo flight.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and senior Chinese diplomats attended the special ceremony Monday in Kabul, hoping the air corridor will lead to increased Afghan exports of dry and fresh fruits to Chinese markets and address a massive trade deficit.

Polio, afghanistan
A boy receives polio vaccination drops during an anti-polio campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

 

During the past year, Afghanistan has launched air corridors with India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.

A presidential statement said 20 tons of pine nuts will be exported daily to China until the end of the season this year. Beijing is one of the largest importers of Afghan pine nuts.

Afghan officials estimate the air corridor would enable them to transport 23,000 tons of pine nuts annually to China, earning up to $800 million in revenue.

Ghani described pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and cumin as “the hidden treasures” of Afghanistan, saying the trade corridors would enable the country to utilize its full potential.

Polio, afghanistan
Australia’s Defense Minister Marise Payne (L-R), China’s PLA Lieutenant-General He Lei and Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan listens to U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ address at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2018. VOA

Afghan businessmen and traders expect raw materials, including saffron and semi-precious stones, which are found in Afghanistan, will also be exported to China through the newly opened link.

The Afghan government has been searching for alternate trade routes to reduce dependence on uneasy neighbor Pakistan for international trade. Under a bilateral understanding, Islamabad allows Kabul to use Pakistani land routes and sea ports for international exports.

Also Read: Knowledge To Restrict Internet Worldwide Exported By China: Report

But Afghan officials and businessmen say political tensions and border skirmishes often prompt Islamabad to close major border crossings for days, hampering overland Afghan shipments, mostly containing perishable goods.

In the wake of its increased economic engagement in the region, China recently set up a trilateral foreign ministers’ level dialogue with Pakistan and Afghanistan to help ease tensions between the two countries and increase mutual security cooperation to fight regional terrorism. (VOA)