Bosnia will take back and try nine captured Daesh fighters

A Daesh fighter of Bosnian origin surrenders to Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria’s northern Deir Ezzor province. (AFP)
Updated 09 October 2019

Bosnia will take back and try nine captured Daesh fighters

  • The Sarajevo-based investigative portal www.zurnal.ba reported the nine men, all captured and kept in detention camps in Syria and Iraq, should be returned by the end of the week
  • According to a 2014 criminal code, all Bosnians who leave the country to fight in foreign wars must be prosecuted under terrorism charges

SARAJEVO: Bosnia is preparing to take back and try nine of its nationals suspected of fighting for Daesh in Syria, its security minister said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people are believed to have left Europe to fight for Daesh in Syria and Iraq, and many await in detention camps to be handed over to their countries of origin.
“We are working to bring back nine persons for whom Bosnia and Herzegovina had issued arrest warrants,” Minister Dragan Mektic told Reuters.
Mektic declined to say when the suspects would be returned to Bosnia, but added they would be handed over to the judiciary immediately upon arrival.
The Sarajevo-based investigative portal www.zurnal.ba reported the nine men, all captured and kept in detention camps in Syria and Iraq, should be returned by the end of the week.
According to a 2014 criminal code, all Bosnians who leave the country to fight in foreign wars must be prosecuted under terrorism charges.
According to Bosnian intelligence, 241 adults and 80 children left Bosnia or the Bosnian diaspora in 2012-2016 for Syria and Iraq, where 150 more children were born. About 100 adults, including 49 women, remain there, while at least 88 have been killed or died.
Daesh’s last territorial foothold, in Syria, fell in March this year.
Bosnia’s state court has tried and convicted 46 people who have returned from Syria or Iraq in the past few years.
Several women with children have pleaded with the Bosnian authorities to be allowed to return home but there is still no clear policy in place on how to deal with them because their children do not hold Bosnian citizenship.


Afghan gov’t to free 900 prisoners; Taliban may extend truce

Updated 8 min 27 sec ago

Afghan gov’t to free 900 prisoners; Taliban may extend truce

  • The announcement came as a three-day cease-fire with the insurgents draws to an end

KABUL: The Afghan government announced it would free 900 prisoners on Tuesday, its single largest prisoner release since the US and the Taliban signed a peace deal earlier this year that spells out an exchange of detainees between the warring sides.
The announcement came as a three-day cease-fire with the insurgents draws to an end. The Taliban had called for the truce during the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
There are expectations that the prisoner release could lead to new reductions in violence, and Taliban officials say they are considering an extension of the cease-fire.
A senior Taliban figure confirmed this to The Associated Press.
“If these developments, like the announcement of prisoner release continues, it is possible to move forward with decisions like extending the brief cease-fire and to move in a positive direction with some minor issues,” the Taliban official said.
The prisoners were being released from Bagram prison, where the US still maintains a major military base, north of Kabul, as well as from the infamous Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the eastern edge of the Afghan capital.
By late afternoon, the AP witnessed scores of men pouring out of the Bagram compound — presumably the released prisoners. It was not immediately possible to verify their numbers or whether they were all Taliban members.
The prisoner release is part of the US deal with the Taliban, signed on Feb. 29 to allow for the eventual withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, bringing to an end the country’s protracted war and America’s longest military involvement.
When the deal was signed, it was touted as Afghanistan’s best chance for peace after decades of war but political feuding in Kabul and delays in prisoner exchanges have slowed the deal’s progress toward intra-Afghan negotiations, considered the second and most critical phase of the accord.
Under the deal, Kabul is to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners while the insurgents are to free 1,000 captives they hold, mostly government officials and Afghan forces, before intra-Afghan negotiations can begin.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had welcomed the Taliban cease-fire announcement during the Muslim holiday.
Javid Faisal, a national security spokesman in Kabul, urged the Taliban to extend the cease-fire and said the government would release 900 prisoners on Tuesday.
That would bring to 2,000 the number of Taliban prisoners released so far under the US-Taliban deal. The Taliban say they have released 240 of captives they held.
However, the Taliban have yet to confirm whether those released so far by the government were among the 5,000 names the insurgents had given US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, the architect of the Feb. 29 deal.
A second Taliban official told the AP that those released so far were n fact on the Taliban list of demands, including the uncle of Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada. Key in deciding which names would appear on the list was Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, a senior figure who had recently recovered from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Turabi was the much feared vice and virtue minister during the Taliban rule, known for beating men who were found listening to music or not attending the mosque. He once slapped a Taliban commander who spoke with a woman journalist.
Both Taliban officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
Many Afghans have expressed frustration at the slow and often stalled peace process; many have known only conflict in their homeland for the past several decades.
“If both sides stop this war and sit at the negotiating table ... maybe my youngest children will experience a good life, which we never experienced,” said Sayed Agha, a truck driver from eastern Logar province who was wounded in April, caught in the crossfire during a battle between the Taliban and Afghan soldiers.
“I have spent my whole life in war,” said Agha, 45.