Kabul: The General Directorate of National Security personnel thwarted a terrorist attack plan on a Herat-Kabul flight.
Sayed Idris, son of Rajab Ali, a terrorist who, under the guise of an artist, had planted a bomb containing RDX explosives, a hand grenade and chemicals in a musical instrument and tried to detonate it during a flight had been caught during counterchecks by NDS, NP stationed in Herat’s Khawaja Abdullah Ansari Airport.
In fact, Ian McCary, Deputy chief of Mission of US embassy in Kabul said, “I am disturbed by reports that the Taliban is shutting down media organizations in the districts they assault, attempting to conceal their violence in a press blackout. It seems they seek to silence media to hide their destruction of public infrastructure, looting, and killings of Afghan civilians and soldiers. The Taliban is using violent propaganda and hate speech to intimidate, threaten & attack Afghans on social media. Violence and terror cannot create peace.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is exploring having three Central Asian countries temporarily take in thousands of Afghans who worked with US forces and face threats from the Taliban now that American troops are withdrawing after 20 years, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. They said Washington is in talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan about letting in the at-risk Afghan citizens. Two of the sources were U.S. officials and all requested anonymity.
The three sources said an agreement did not appear imminent with any of the countries. The decision to move at-risk Afghans risks inflaming a sense of crisis in Afghanistan, as fighting between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban has surged in recent weeks, with the militants gaining control of large amounts of territory. Thousands of Afghan translators and interpreters face threats from the Taliban after working for two decades alongside the U.S. military. The United States announced plans last week to seek refuge for thousands of vulnerable Afghans in countries outside Afghanistan so their U.S. visa applications could be processed from safety, but Washington did not specify where they would go.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki provided no further details on Friday. “One of the reasons that I’m not going to get into security details about what third country they might go to, and how many, is exactly for that reason, but certainly our timeline is to relocate these individuals to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown,” Psaki said.
President Joe Biden has said those who helped the United States will not be left behind, and on Thursday a senior Republican lawmaker said plans to evacuate at-risk Afghans will include their family members for a total of as many as 50,000 people. “We are identifying a group of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants who have served as interpreters and translators, as well as other at-risk categories who have assisted us. They will be relocated to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown by September, in order to complete the visa application process,” a senior administration official said.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met his Tajik and Uzbek counterparts. The State Department said in readouts of the meetings that Afghanistan was discussed but provided no further details. Washington agreed to withdraw in a deal negotiated last year under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden rejected advice from military leaders to hang on until an agreement could be reached between the insurgents and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government. Biden told Ghani in Washington last week the Afghans must decide their own future. Ghani said his job was now to “manage the consequences” of the U.S. withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has assured Tajikistan that the current high levels of Taliban attacks are not permanent, and will decline after religious madrassas in Pakistan restart. Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab met with Tajikistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Muzaffar Huseinzoda on the sidelines of the EU-Central Asia High-Level Political and Security Dialogue in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and discussed security developments in Afghanistan and the region.
Nab said that the developments on the battlefield were not unexpected with the sudden withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, however, these changes are short-term, and the Taliban will soon face a military stalemate and the situation will improve. The MoFA quoted Huseinzoda that Tajikistan is optimistic about Afghanistan’s future and remains committed to strengthening and expanding bilateral relations and cooperation. Tajik media reported that with Taliban attacks in northern provinces, Tajik forces have transited to high alert.