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Old 09-01-2022, 11:40 AM
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Arrow Taliban Puts On Show Of Force To Celebrate Anniversary Of U.S. Withdrawal

Taliban Puts On Show Of Force To Celebrate Anniversary Of U.S. Withdrawal
By: Counter EXtremism Project: 09-01-22

Eye on Extremism: As of September 1, 2022

The Washington Post: Taliban Puts On Show Of Force To Celebrate Anniversary Of U.S. Withdrawal

“Taliban fighters and senior leaders gathered Wednesday for a celebration at Bagram air base, once the largest American military base in Afghanistan, to mark one year since U.S. and NATO forces withdrew from the country. Images released by Taliban media show fighters marching in Western-style uniforms, followed by columns of armored vehicles bearing the group’s black-and-white flag moving down one of the main runways. Helicopters flew above the crowd. “We are gathered here to celebrate the first anniversary of the withdrawal,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told local media attending the ceremony. “I am proud that our country was liberated on this day and American troops were forced to leave Afghanistan,” he said. The departure of U.S. forces from Afghanistan marked the end of over two decades of war here, but did not lead to a negotiated peace. Afghan government security forces collapsed in the face of Taliban attacks and when the group reached Kabul, President Ashraf Ghani fled, effectively handing over the capital. Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan is more secure for most Afghans, but civil liberties and the rights of women are severely restricted. The country remains internationally isolated and a growing economic crisis has plunged millions deeper into poverty.”

Associated Press: Israel Imposes Sanctions On Alleged Hamas Financial Network

“Israel on Wednesday imposed sanctions on 20 companies and individuals operating across the Middle East that it says are involved in financing the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The sanctions are directed against what the Defense Ministry described as an international network operating “under the guise of legitimate companies” in Sudan, Turkey, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. announced sanctions against many of the same entities in May. Israel and the U.S. say they are part of a Hamas-run financial network with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. The Islamic militant group has carried out scores of deadly attacks against Israelis over the years, and it seized control of Gaza from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority 15 years ago. Israel and Western countries consider Hamas a terrorist organization. “We will continue to thwart Hamas’ attempts to funnel funds intended for the terrorist organization’s force buildup,” Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement. Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since the Hamas takeover, which Israel says is needed to prevent Hamas from re-arming. But the group has continued to improve its military capabilities — including the reach of its rockets — through four devastating wars with Israel.”


Fox News: Afghanistan Under Taliban Rule Threatens The Entire World — And Not Just Through Terrorism

“America and its allies face renewed terrorist threats and other dangers because of the Taliban’s year-long rule over Afghanistan, which has also harmed human rights in the region, two former ambassadors told Fox News. The Taliban’s regime – through a mix of willingness and inability – has created a laundry list of threats to the region and Western democracy, according to the former ambassadors: a growth in terrorist organizations; decreased heroin prices; diminished human rights; the empowerment of Russia and China; and a looming refugee crisis. “What you're seeing with the Taliban in control of Afghanistan is increasingly a failed state,” a former U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, Kelley Eckels Currie, told Fox News. “That is what has happened over the past year.” “We're going to continually be confronted with the consequences of this disorder, chaos and instability, misgovernance and all of these things,” Currie continued. “They're going to come knocking on our doorstep in one form or another, whether it's refugees or violent extremism.” Taliban rule has already allowed terrorist organizations to blossom in Afghanistan, and only more will grow, according to Currie and Nathan Sales, a former ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism. They said these groups view the U.S. and its Western allies as top targets.”


Reuters: Pakistan Court Extends Imran Khan's Bail On Terrorism Charges

“A Pakistani court on Thursday extended former Prime Minister Imran Khan's pre-arrest bail for two weeks on terrorism charges relating to a speech after Khan appeared in court amid tight security, his lawyer said. "It is not at all a case of terrorism," Faisal Chaudhry, the lawyer told Reuters of the charges, which Khan and his aides have termed politically motivated. The bail was approved until Sept. 12, he said. The pre-arrest bail expired on Aug. 31. The charges against Khan are related to what police said was a threat to Islamabad police chief and a female judge after Khan spoke about police torture of an aide who faces sedition charges for inciting mutiny in the military. Political tensions in Pakistan remain high as Khan rallies support for elections that are not due until October next year. Khan has denied he threatened the officials, saying his words were taken out of context.”


Gulf News: Saudi Arabia Adds Five Yemenis Linked To Al Houthis To Its Terror List

“Saudi Arabia’s State Security on Wednesday issued a statement adding five Yemenis to its terrorist list for supporting Al Houthi militia. The State Security also announced freezing the assets of the five blacklisted Yemenis for their involvement in terrorist activities carried out by Al Houthis against the Kingdom According to the statement on State Security’s Twitter account, the five Yemenis are linked to Iran-backed Al Houthi militia and were involved in its terrorist activities. The new names include Mansour Ahmed Al Saadi, Ahmed Ali Al Hamzi, Mohammed Abdul Karim Al Ghammari, Zakaria Abdullah Yehya and Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al Jawahri. Mansour Ahmed Al Saadi, who received military training in Iran, is involved in smuggling arms from Iran to Yemen. Ahmed Ali Al Hamzi is in charge of Al Houthi’s drones programme, and he was trained in Iran. Mohammed Abdul Karim Al Ghammari is directly linked to launch of ballistic missiles and drones. Zakaria Abdullah Yahya, is trained in Iran and is linked directly to launching ballistic missiles and drones.”


The Jerusalem Post: US: Hezbollah’s Amassing Of Weapons On Israel’s Northern Border Must Stop

“Hezbollah must stop stockpiling weapons on Israel's northern border, deputy US Ambassador Richard Mills told the United Nations Security Council in New York on Wednesday after it voted to renew the mandate of the organization's peacekeepers in that area of southern Lebanon. “The US shares this council’s significant concern about the state of affairs in southern Lebanon, in particular, Hezbollah's threatening activities,” he said. The UNSC vote comes as tensions have increased between Israel and neighboring Lebanon over their maritime dispute. On Wednesday, a Reuters deputy editor posted a video of two Lebanese ministers symbolically throwing rocks in Israel's direction. The UN since 1978 has maintained a peacekeeper force along the border between the two countries known as the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Since 2006, it has been specifically tasked with maintaining the ceasefire agreement that ended the Second Lebanon War and was codified in UNSC Resolution 1701. UNIFIL at present has a force of 10,500 peacekeepers from 48 UN countries.”


France 24: UN Says 50 Civilians Killed In April Sweep By Mali Troops, 'Foreign' Fighters

“At least 50 civilians were killed and hundreds arrested in central Mali in April during an operation by the army and “foreign” personnel, the UN's peacekeeping mission said in a report on Wednesday. The incident happened on April 19 when Malian troops “accompanied by foreign military personnel” carried out a sweep in Hombori after one of their convoys was attacked by a roadside bomb, the MINUSMA mission said. “At least 50 civilians (including a woman and a child) were killed and more than 500 others arrested,” it said in a quarterly report on violence and rights abuses. The report did not specify who the foreign fighters were. Mali's ruling junta, which has been in power since 2020, has brought in Russian operatives it describes as military trainers. Western countries describe them as mercenaries from the pro-Kremlin Wagner group. Their presence has been a key factor in France's decision to withdraw its troops from Mali – a former colony that it has supported in a decade-long fight against a jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. The last French soldier in Mali under the long-running Barkhane anti-jihadist mission left the country on August 15.”


Reuters: Suspected Islamists Kill At Least 14 Civilians In East Congo Attack

“Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 14 civilians and kidnapped more than a dozen others in an attack in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo, a witness and a local human rights group said on Wednesday. An army spokesman confirmed the attack, which took place in Ituri province on Tuesday evening, and blamed it on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan militia active in eastern Congo since the 1990s, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The army killed five fighters and rescued a five-year-old girl who had been kidnapped, spokesman Antony Mwalushayi said. He did not give a civilian death toll. Gilbert Sivamwenda, president of the local human rights group for the chiefdom of Babila Babombi, said there were 16 dead in Biakato including 14 civilians and two ADF fighters. About 15 farmers were also missing and several other people who cannot be found and are not responding to calls, Sivamwenda said. “The nature of the attack was terrifying. They looted my shop before taking five members of my family into the bush,” said Biakato resident Augustin Kyala Malembe, who also counted 16 dead and said dozens of people were kidnapped. “The army intervened but the damage was done.”

Reuters: American Nun Kidnapped In Burkina Faso Has Been Freed - Bishop

“An American Catholic nun, Suellen Tennyson, who was kidnapped by armed men in northern Burkina Faso in April has been freed, said Theophile Nare, the bishop of the local diocese of Kaya on Wednesday. The 83-year-old nun, from the order of the Marianites of the Holy Cross, was taken hostage on April 5 in the parish of Yalgo where she had been serving since 2014. “Sister Suellen is currently in a safe place and in good health,” Nare said in a statement. “At the moment we do not have information on the conditions of her release,” he added. The identity of the nun's kidnappers was not known when she was taken in the middle of the night. Militant groups, some with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, have taken over large swathes of territory in Burkina Faso and conduct frequent attacks on the army and civilians. A Canadian was found dead after a kidnapping there in 2019.”

United Kingdom

The Jerusalem Post: How Much Did The West Know About Smuggling Of Girls To ISIS? - Analysis

“A new report has emerged that asserts teenage girls were aided in their path to join ISIS by a man who was also providing information to Canadian “intelligence.” The BBC report says that “Shamima Begum, who fled the UK and joined the Islamic State group, was smuggled into Syria by an intelligence agent for Canada.” The story is bigger than Begum, even though she has become a symbol of the overall conflict with ISIS and its aftermath. What the BBC says is that “Ms. Begum was 15 when she and two other east London schoolgirls - Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase - traveled to Syria to join the terrorist group IS in 2015,” and that they met a man in Istanbul who helped facilitate their trip illegally across the border to Syria. These allegations could now be central to a case challenging the fact that the UK stripped Begum of citizenship. Begum has become a kind of symbolic cause because her story was well known at the time she ended up in Syria; and then later when the war on ISIS ended and she ended up in a displaced persons camp. This is part of the media spotlight that tends to try to humanize those who went to join ISIS, rather than the victims of ISIS genocide and crimes. Media who cover this issue will even pose the women who joined ISIS with “western clothes” to show they are “like us.”


The National: French Police Hunt For Imam Set To Be Deported For 'Inciting Hate'

“French police were on Wednesday searching for a hate preacher who fled after the top administrative court gave the Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin the green light for his deportation to Morocco. Officers believe that Hassan Iquioussen fled to Belgium after Mr Darmanin tweeted he would “be expelled from the national territory” in “a great victory for the republic”. The case came before France's highest court after Paris judges blocked the imam's deportation. The interior ministry ordered this in late July over “especially virulent anti-Semitic speech” and sermons calling for women's “submission” to men. Iquioussen, 58, reaches tens of thousands of subscribers via YouTube and Facebook accounts from his home in northern France. He was born in France but holds Moroccan citizenship. His lawyers successfully applied to the Paris court for a block on the order, saying it would create “disproportionate harm” to his “private and family life”. An interior ministry lawyer last week told the Council of State that Iquioussen “has for years spread insidious ideas that are nothing less than incitement to hatred, to discrimination and to violence”. “His proselytising speech is interspersed with remarks inciting hatred and discrimination and carries a vision of Islam contrary to the values of the Republic,” it said.”

Personal note: So what's changed in the last 20 years? Not much I'd say.
We're in and we're out - and it starts all over again! We just have to let
them fight it out - until one or other is left standing! Or neither! Wouldn't
that be swell!

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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