Daesh ‘defeated’ in key Afghan province: official

Forces with Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security escort an alleged militant as Taliban and Daesh fighters in this May 23, 2019 photo. (AFP)
Updated 10 November 2019

Daesh ‘defeated’ in key Afghan province: official

  • The claim comes after the militants first burst into Afghanistan’s conflict in 2015
  • Daesh ‘were defeated in Nangarhar, their centers were destroyed,‘ acting interior minister Massoud Andarabi said

JALALABAD, Afghanistan: The Daesh group’s Afghan branch has been “defeated” in one of the key eastern provinces where it first sought to establish a stronghold, a top Afghan security official said Sunday.
The claim comes after the militants first burst into Afghanistan’s conflict in 2015, when they overran large parts of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, near the Pakistan border.
In the years since, they have claimed responsibility for a string of horrific bombings across Afghanistan, including at a wedding hall in Kabul, and have been continually attacked by US, Afghan and even Taliban forces.
Daesh “were defeated in Nangarhar, their centers were destroyed,” acting interior minister Massoud Andarabi told reporters in Jalalabad, the Nangarhar provincial capital, amid ongoing operations against the militants.
“We will soon destroy their last centers. With the people’s help, we will completely eliminate them. Some of their smaller groups are surrendering, other small groups will be eliminated in other provinces.”
He went on to say that Daesh were being “completely defeated” in Afghanistan.
US Forces-Afghanistan, which closely monitors the Daesh footprint in Afghanistan, declined to comment, referring a query back to the Interior Ministry.
Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesman for Nangarhar’s governor, said 32 Daesh fighters surrendered to government forces on Saturday.
“They are coming in big numbers,” he said.
Daesh have suffered a string of major defeats in recent months, including the collapse of their self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Syria and the death of the group’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a US raid in Syria last month.
Connections between Baghdadi and the Daesh affiliate in Afghanistan, better known as Daesh in the Khorasan, or Daesh-K, have always been murky.
But Khogyani said Baghdadi’s death had disrupted Daesh-K’s command and control structure.
“It has affected the fighters on the ground here, they are either surrendering to the government or going back to their ordinary lives,” he said.


Bali’s drugged, smuggled orangutan headed back to the wild

Updated 42 min 2 sec ago

Bali’s drugged, smuggled orangutan headed back to the wild

  • The case made headlines in March when suspicious authorities stopped Russian trafficker Andrei Zhestkov
  • Zhestkov was later sentenced to a year in prison in July

BALI, Indonesia: A baby orangutan that was drugged by a Russian trafficker in a failed bid to smuggle it out of Bali will be released back into the wild.
The case made headlines in March when suspicious authorities on the Indonesian holiday island stopped Andrei Zhestkov, who was flying back to Russia, and opened his luggage to find a two-year-old orangutan sleeping inside a rattan basket.
Zhestkov, sentenced to a year in prison in July, had packed baby formula and blankets for the orangutan. He was also carrying two live geckos and five lizards inside the suitcase.
On Monday, conservation authorities in Bali rolled out a big fruit plate for fuzzy-haired Bon Bon as he prepares to move to a conservation center in Sumatra — one of just two places where the critically endangered species is found in the wild.
Bon Bon’s caretaker, Ketut Diandika, confessed to being a little bit sad at the ape’s departure.
“I actually want Bon Bon to stay here so that I can still take care of him,” he said.
The Southeast Asian archipelago’s rainforests boast some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and it is a key source and transit point for animal trafficking.
In a separate case at the weekend, officials in Sumatra’s Riau province said they arrested two men, allegedly part of an international trafficking ring, who were attempting to smuggle four lion cubs and a baby leopard from Africa, along with dozens of tortoises.