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 Jens Stoltenberg reiterates NATO’s support to Afghanistan

Daesh fighters running to save skin: Ghani

AT-KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday at a joint press conference with the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, here in Kabul, said that the Islamic State, which is also known as Daesh, is on the run.

Ghani said that fighters who announced allegiance to the Daesh were disappearing in Nangarhar province following intense military operations.

President Ghani termed massive ground operations, air support and participation of commanders standing beside the elite commando division as a major breakthrough in fight against the extremist group in province, which has headquarters in Iraq.

“NATO within the framework of the Resolute Support (RS) would continue supporting Afghan security forces to eliminate terrorism,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told newsmen.

He also reiterated the military alliance’s support to Afghanistan, but pointed out that bringing reforms was a key to the Afghanistan’s success. “Afghanistan’s long-term success requires further reforms,” he said, adding that NATO is encouraging the work of the National Unity Government (NUG).

He said that reform means to ensure human rights, and to fully respect the rights of women and children. “It also means stepping up Afghanistan’s investment in the security forces,” he said, referring to reforms process that was promised by the NUG leaders in their campaigns.

Thanking NATO for its support, President Ghani said that the government was committed to bring reforms and fight corruption.

Furthermore, NATO Secretary General, put his weight behind the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. Welcoming the recent signs of progress in peace talks, he said that peace process is another element that stabilizes Afghanistan after being at war for long time.

The visit of the top NATO official to Afghanistan is taking place at a time when the insurgents in the past couple of months had intensified their attacks in the war-hit country.

On the other hand, the police chief of Kunduz province Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh warned of increasing activities of Daesh in the province.

Official sources claimed that the Middle Eastern group had made inroads in Chahardara district of the province and was recruiting people.

Jangalbagh said that over 100 Daesh fighters are searching for potential recruits in the district.

“Intelligence reports show that Daesh insurgents have started their activities in the past three weeks in Chahardara district and there are about 120 insurgents,” TOLOnews quoted the police chief.

TOLOnews adds: Local residents said Daesh insurgents move about at night in the area – and fly their flags.

“A number of people wearing black clothes and with Daesh flags move around at night on the streets of Chahardara,” a resident of Kunduz, Jamaluddin said.

Amrudding Wali, a member of the provincial council said that “people who were previously linked to Jundullah insurgent group are now aligning themselves under the Daesh flag. This has raised concerns.”

The residents and Provincial Council warned government that “if they do not stop Daesh activities, Kunduz will once again collapse.”

This comes after Atta Mohammad Noor, acting governor of northern Balkh province, said two days ago that Daesh insurgents are trying to infiltrate the province.

He confirmed the presence of Daesh in Balkh and said security forces discovered documents during the Khorshid 21 military operation in the province. He said the documents show signs of the group’s presence in the province and indicate Daesh was “trying to recruit people” locally.

He said an operation – led by himself – was launched in Kushende district of the province just over a week ago and ended on Saturday.

Noor said the Taliban and Daesh insurgents were trying to establish bases in the province.

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