23 June 2018

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Saturday June 16, 2018 Kabul (BNA) The Netherlands is to stop sending troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali and will shift focus to beef up operations in Afghanistan, the defense ministry announced Friday. "The Netherlands will halt its current (military) contribution to the UN mission by 1 May 2019," the ministry said in a statement issued in The Hague, adding it will "extend and intensify" the mission to Afghanistan. The announcement comes two days after a highly critical report by the Dutch Audit Chamber -- which looks at government spending -- saying the country "barely managed to get units ready to deploy to Mali". The report lashed the defence minister, saying Dutch blue helmets "lacked material, had insufficient training and and defective equipment," on the Mali mission. Dutch troops formed part of the MINUSMA stabilisation mission in the west African nation since April 2014, and at one time numbered as many as 400 backed by four Apache attack helicopters and three Chinook transports. The Dutch helicopters were withdrawn early last year. Currently some 250 troops are reportedly stationed alongside French and other forces to fight jihadist insurgents who overran the country's northern territory. But the Dutch mission has been plagued by a series of mishaps which saw four Dutch military personnel lose their lives. In 2015 an Apache attack helicopter crashed killing two pilots, while a year later, two soldiers died when a mortar shell unexpectedly went off during a live-fire exercise. Dutch safety inspectors heavily criticized the deaths of the two men, saying they were using old ammunition stocks bought back in 2006. Former Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis resigned in the wake of the report into the soldiers' deaths, saying although she was not minister at the time of the purchase, she was "politically responsible". More than 11,000 UN police and military are currently serving in Mali, attempting to bring security to lawless swathes of the vast Sahel nation. Although jihadists were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013, extremist groups still pose a threat. Dailymail Ansari

Friday June 15, 2018

Pul-e-Khumri City (BNA) A ISIS loyalist while wanted to assassinate a religious scholar was arrested by Afghan national police personnel in northern Baghlan province.
Gen. Ikramuddin Sarea police chief of Baghlan told BNA correspondent, the ISIS adherent was arrested when he had plan to martyr a religious scholar in Chashma Shir region, Pul-e-Khumri city the provincial capital of the province.
In primary investigation the arrested person confessed that he is member of ISIS terrorist group and had plan to assassinate religious scholar, Sarea added.

Friday June 15, 2018

Kabul (BNA) The U. S. military said on Thursday it had carried out a strike aimed at a senior militant near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and one U.S. official said the target was believed to be the head of the Pakistani Taliban militant group.
“U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike, June 13, in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization,” Lieutenant-Colonel Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said.
A U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the target of the strike is believed to have been Mullah Fazlullah, the chief of the Pakistani Taliban group that has waged a decade-long insurgency in the South Asian nation.
The official said the status of Fazlullah was unclear.
In March the United States offered a $5-million reward for information on Fazlullah.
Although Pakistani Taliban militants still unleash attacks, the group has lost control of all territory in Pakistan since its Dec. 2014 attack on an army school that killed 132 children.
The Pakistani Taliban, whose Urdu name is Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, has also threatened attacks against the U.S. homeland. The group claimed responsibility for a failed 2010 bomb attack in New York City’s Times Square.
In 2012, its fighters also shot Malala Yousafzai, then an 11-year-old who advocated education for fellow girls. She received the Nobel peace prize in 2014.
Washington and Kabul accuse Pakistan of harboring Afghan Taliban and fighters of the allied Haqqani network, which Islamabad denies. Islamabad says the Pakistani Taliban maintains sanctuaries in neighboring Afghanistan.

Friday June 15, 2018

Pul-e-Alam City (BNA) At least four mine planters were arrested by Afghan security forces in central Logar province.
Shah Poor Ahmadzai spokesman of police chief in Logar told BNA correspondent, the mine planters were arrested while wanted to plant roadside mines in Padkhawab region, Pul-e-Alam city the provincial capital of the province.
Afghan security forces are trying to ensure security and protect the lives and properties of people, particularly, in Eid days and nights, Ahmadzai added.

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