Archive for Alia Shoaib

White House delays release of JFK assassination records, citing COVID-19 pandemic

President John F. Kennedy speaks at a press conference August 1, 1963.
President John F. Kennedy speaks at a press conference August 1, 1963.
  • The White House has delayed a planned release of classified documents about JFK's assassination.
  • In a memo President Biden said that the pandemic had hampered the process of reviewing possible redactions.
  • President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and his death has sparked numerous conspiracy theories.

The White House said it would again delay the release of long-classified documents relating to President John F. Kennedy, citing the "significant impact" of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Joe Biden issued a memo on Friday that said that most of the files will now be withheld until December 15 of next year, with some due to be released later this year.

The memo said that the pandemic has had a "significant impact" on the National Archives and Records Administration's ability to review whether redactions continue to meet the "statutory standard."

The agency said it needed additional time to research the material and "maximize the amount of information released."

President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot in 1963 as he drove through downtown Dallas in a presidential motorcade.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine, was arrested for the assassination but was shot dead two days later on live television.

The mystery shrouding the assassination, and perceived government secrecy, has since spawned numerous conspiracy theories.

In 1992, it was ruled that all documents about JFK's murder should be eventually made public, except for "the rarest cases" where there is any legitimate need for continued protection.

Since then, over 250,000 records relating to the assassination have been released, making up more than 90% of the collection.

In 2017, former President Donald Trump released several thousand documents about the assassination, including FBI, CIA, and other agency documents.

He did, however, choose to delay the release of some of the files until 2021, citing "identifiable harm to national security, law enforcement, or foreign affairs."

The released documents shed light on the assassination's details, including Oswald's attempts to get a Soviet or Cuban visa in Mexico City and controversy surrounding the CIA's counter-espionage chief.

The documents also revealed information not related to JFK's killing, including discovering an FBI dossier on Martin Luther King Jr., dated weeks before his assassination in 1968.

Biden said that the delay in releasing the documents was "necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations" and that this "outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure."

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Marjorie Taylor Greene and Steven Bannon debate ‘national divorce’ between Democrat and Republican states

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (L) and Steve Bannon (R).
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (L) and Steve Bannon (R).
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene posted a Twitter poll about a possible "divorce" between blue and red states.
  • Greene went on Steve Bannon's podcast to discuss the poll, with Bannon disagreeing "vehemently" with the idea.
  • Greene said the poll should "wake up the Republicans who refuse to act like Republicans."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Steven Bannon discussed whether a "national divorce" was the right course of action for the country after the congresswoman posted a Twitter poll about a possible split.

The Georgia congresswoman posted the controversial poll on Twitter, asking her followers to vote on whether the United States should have a "national divorce" between Republican and Democrat states.

The option to stay together won by a small margin, with nearly 85,000 votes cast.

On Friday, Greene appeared on Steve Bannon's War Room podcast to discuss the poll, explaining that she did it because of how divided the country is.

"So many people talk to me about how divided our country is and how it's irreconcilable," she said.

"I've been hearing that from so many...about dividing the country between Republican and Democrat states."

Bannon disagreed with splitting the nation: "It's something that I'm adamantly obviously opposed to, vehemently.

"And I don't even like some of these commentators starting to talk about it, for the simple reason we control two-thirds of the country. Two-thirds of the country actually back what President Trump stands for, nationalist populism."

Greene said she took the poll to "understand how people feel."

She added that Twitter was a "very hard-left" platform and therefore was biased.

She said that initially, the poll results were mostly in favor of, "yes," but within days "the left attacked it" and worked to drive the numbers down.

"It still ended with 43% of Americans wanting a national divorce," she said. "This should be the wake-up call to Democrats in particular that they cannot do this to our country."

Bannon complimented Greene for her understanding of "modern media and information warfare" but said he disagreed with the conclusion she reached.

"I take this data, and I come to a very different conclusion," Bannon said. "We have to start to govern like we mean it."

Bannon explained that he thought more people like Greene needed to be promoted in the party.

"The problem is we win elections and we have these country club Republicans, and we basically are the controlled opposition even in power," Bannon said.

Greene agreed: "That national divorce poll should wake up the Republicans who refuse to act like Republicans, and not just the Democrats," Greene said.

Greene had been accused of stoking divisions in the country by sharing the poll when the term "civil war" was trending on Twitter, following remarks made by a Trump supporter at his Iowa rally.

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Donald Trump supporters baffled and divided over his claim that Republicans won’t vote in 2022 or 2024

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio on June 26, 2021.
  • Donald Trump said his supporters would not vote in future elections unless the GOP backed election fraud claims.
  • On social media, his supporters are divided over whether to follow his advice.
  • "Donald Trump is doing everything he can to hurt Republican chances in 2022," one wrote.

Former President Donald Trump's supporters are divided over his comments that Republicans will not vote in the 2022 or 2024 elections unless the Republican Party backs his election fraud claims.

"If we don't solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in '22 or '24," Trump said in a statement emailed to his supporters on Wednesday.

"It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do," he said.

Since leaving office in January, Trump has continued to hype the baseless claim that the 2020 election was rigged in Joe Biden's favor.

In several pro-Trump and QAnon Telegram channels, MAGA supporters have been arguing over whether to follow his advice.

"Donald Trump is doing everything he can to hurt Republican chances in 2022," an account called Trump Supporters wrote on Telegram.

"Donald Trump is, ostensibly, a Republican. But he has shown time and again -- both in the White House and now out of it -- that he cares little about helping the party and its other candidates," they said.

According to Newsweek, another Telegram user wrote, "But what happens if we don't vote? Does the evil cabal remain in power forever? Do they just appoint more of the same?? What???"

"Not voting is not just what Marxists want, It's also stupid no matter how rigged the system is," another user wrote, according to the outlet.

However, other users rushed to his defense, agreeing with Trump's stance to put pressure on the Republican Party.

"We shouldn't vote until the election process is run correctly. Just be wasting our time for another farce!" one user wrote.

"Why waste the effort for something that is against us. Shake the RNC at its core, voters will not cast votes for them," another Telegram user said.

Others disagreed. "If we don't show up and vote, it's just like surrendering. Everyone must go to the poles (sic) in person," one user said.

Cas Mudde, a professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia recently told Insider that Trump's threat is "mostly a power play."

"He wants to remain at the center of GOP politics and prevent the party from moving on without him," Mudde said.

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Donald Trump-backed challengers to Republican lawmakers are lagging in the battle to fill their fundraising war chests

donald trump lisa murkowski
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (L), Former President Donald Trump (R).
  • Donald Trump has backed challengers to Republican lawmakers who voted for his impeachment or conviction.
  • Four Trump-backed challengers are trailing behind opponents in fundraising, according to recently filed disclosures.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Liz Cheney are two Republicans that Trump is targeting.

Candidates backed by former President Donald Trump to challenge Republican lawmakers are lagging in fundraising, Reuters reported, according to disclosures filed on Friday.

Following Trump's second impeachment, he vowed to help oust "disloyal" Republicans who voted against him.

Out of the seven Republican senators that voted to convict Trump following his impeachment over the Capitol riot, only one is up for election in 2022, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Trump previously vowed to campaign for anyone who challenged Murkowski.

"Get any candidate ready, good or bad. I don't care. I'm endorsing. If you have a pulse, I'm with you!" Trump said.

He eventually endorsed former state administration commissioner Kelly Tshibaka.

The recent filings showed that Murkowski had raised $1.1 million between July and September, more than double the $466,000 raised by Tshibaka.

Indeed, Murkowski is yet to announce her candidacy for re-election formally.

Overall, Murkowski has raised over $3.2 million and is doing well with corporate-run donor committees, Reuters said, citing the recent filings.

The Alaskan senator raised more than $75,000 through a joint fundraising effort with several senators endorsed by Trump, including Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Another high-profile Republican lawmaker who has been at odds with Trump is Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of the 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach him.

On January 6, Trump reportedly said in a speech to supporters that he vowed to get rid of "the Liz Cheneys of the world."

Cheney, a vocal critic of the former president, was ousted from a leadership role within the GOP after criticizing the party for promoting lies about the 2020 election being fraudulent.

Trump endorsed former RNC official Harriet Hageman to run against Cheney, despite revelations that the candidate had once called him "racist and xenophobic."

Despite her precarious role within her party, recent filings show that Cheney has raised $1.7 million during a three-month period, compared with the $300,000 raised by Hageman, Reuters said.

Cheney received donations from several Wall Street executives, including Blackstone Chief Investment Officer Prakash Melwani, the outlet reported.

Meanwhile, Hageman received a donation from the controversial billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

Trump has also endorsed challengers to two other Representatives who voted to impeach him; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state and Fred Upton of Michigan.

Herrera Beutler raised $524,000 between July and September, compared with $452,000 raised by her Trump-backed challenger Joe Kent, Reuters said.

Meanwhile, Upton raised $293,000, more than twice the $116,000 raised by the Trump-backed candidate Steve Carra.

Although fundraising more money does not necessarily assure victory, it can help increase exposure through advertising.

For House seats, typically more than 90 percent of candidates who spend the most win, according to Five Thirty Eight, citing the Center for Responsive Politics.

However, the outlet adds that it's not necessarily the money that delivers victory but rather that a winning candidate is more likely to attract funds.

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Photos show homeless heroin addicts in Afghanistan rounded up and forced into grim rehab by the Taliban

Drug users detained in a Taliban raid wait to be taken to their room in the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
Drug users detained in a Taliban raid wait to be taken to their room in the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
  • Harrowing photos show homeless heroin addicts in Afghanistan forcibly detained in a treatment center.
  • The Taliban are cracking down on drug use, which is rife in the country.
  • Photos show the drug users being forced to live in prison-like conditions.

After coming to power in Afghanistan, the Taliban vowed to crack down on widespread drug addiction in the country.

The militant group has been conducting raids in Kabul to find and detain homeless men, often living under bridges, addicted to locally produced heroin and methamphetamine.

The Associated Press captured astonishing photos of one raid from earlier this week, where nearly 150 heroin addicts were rounded up, beaten, and forced into a rehab treatment center.

Heroin addicts in Kabul were rounded up by the Taliban and taken to a treatment center.
fter arriving at Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid wait to be shaved after arriving at the drug treatment center.

Homeless heroin users were rounded up by Taliban fighters and taken to the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment on the outskirts of Kabul.

The hospital was once Camp Phoenix, a military base established by the US army in 2003, but is now a drug treatment center that can accommodate 1,000 people.

 

The Taliban arrested heroin addicts in Kabul and burned all of their belongings in a pile.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid wait to be checked at a police station before being transferred to the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
At least 150 men were taken to the district police station, where all their belongings were burned in a pile as they are forbidden from taking them to the treatment center.

The Taliban arrested most of the men under a bridge in Kabul's Guzargah district before taking them to the district police station.

The militants burned all of the addicts' possessions in a pile, including drugs, wallets, knives, rings, lighters, a juice box.

Most of the addicts' families don't know where they are, AP said.

The addicts were stripped and had their heads and face shaved.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid are shaved after arriving at Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, late Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid are shaved after arriving at the treatment center.

"These people are basically being kidnapped for three months and locked up," Mat Southwell, a British technical adviser for drug harm reduction NGOs in Afghanistan who has previously visited Avicenna, told VICE World News.

"They will receive very little medical treatment, and their needs will not be addressed. Once released, they will just start using drugs again."

A drug user detained during a Taliban raid has his face shaved.
A drug user detained during a Taliban raid is shaved after arriving at Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021
A drug user detained during a Taliban raid is shaved.

The Taliban has a history of intolerance towards drug users, saying that it is strictly against their interpretation of Islam.

Some health workers have said they agree with the militant group's harsh methods.

"We are not in a democracy anymore, this is a dictatorship. And the use of force is the only way to treat these people," Dr. Fazalrabi Mayar, working in a treatment facility, told AP.

Patients wait to have medical checks as they arrive at the detoxification ward.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid go through a medical check as they arrive to the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid go through a medical check as they arrive to the detoxification ward.

Afghanistan is one of the world's largest producers of heroin because of its vast poppy fields, and it has also become a significant producer of methamphetamines. 

As a result, addiction has raged across the country.

According to people on the ground, there are an estimated 100,00 to 150,000 heroin injectors in Kabul, Vice News reported. Many also smoke and inject methamphetamine.

 

 

The patients float around the halls like ghosts.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid walk to a shower after arriving at Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid walk to a shower after arriving at the treatment center.

Around 700 patients are currently at the hospital, according to AP, and many have mental illnesses.

The outlet said the patients float around the halls like ghosts. Although some say they aren't being fed enough, doctors say hunger is part of the withdrawal process, the outlet said.

Addicts in matching pajamas walk to the detoxification ward.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid walk in line on their way to the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid walk in line on their way to the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment.

"It's a brutal place surrounded by armed guards," Mat Southwell told VICE World News.

"It looks like a concentration camp because they shave people's heads and make them wear pyjamas."

Drug users detained during a Taliban raid rest at the detoxification ward.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid rest at the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid rest at the detoxification ward.

The medical opioids used to wean people off heroin, specifically buprenorphine and methadone, have started to run out, and staff in the hospital have not been paid for months, Vice News reported.

Patients were taken to their rooms at the treatment center.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid are taken to their room at the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid are taken to their room at the detoxification ward.

The Taliban have said cracking down on the addicts is just the first step.

"This is just the beginning, later we will go after the farmers, and we will punish them according to (Islamic) Sharia law," lead patrol officer Qari Ghafoor told AP.

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The wives of suspected ISIS militants are permitted to return home because some European governments have taken pity on their children

Women with children walk at Camp Roj in northeastern Syria, where relatives of people suspected of belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group are held,
Women with children walk at Camp Roj in northeastern Syria, where relatives of people suspected of belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group are held,
  • Germany and Denmark have repatriated women and children with suspected ISIS connections from Syria.
  • The German Foreign Minister said the children were "in no way responsible for their circumstances."
  • Several of the women have been arrested upon return to Europe and will face criminal charges.

Germany and Denmark have repatriated women and children from a Syrian camp where people with connections to suspected ISIS militants are held, the German foreign ministry said.

On Wednesday, 23 children and their eight mothers arrived at Frankfurt airport, German officials said, while Denmark repatriated 14 children and three women.

The women and children lived in the Roj prison camp in northeast Syria, which is under Kurdish control.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement that he was "pleased" to have brought the women and children home, noting that the children were "in particular need of protection."

"The children are in no way responsible for their circumstances. It is right for us to do everything we can to enable them to grow up in a safe and appropriate environment," he said.

He added that the women would be held accountable for their acts under criminal law.

German federal prosecutors said that three of the women were arrested upon arrival at Frankfurt airport and charged with membership of a foreign terror organization and neglecting their children's care and upbringing, Middle East Eye reported.

Danish authorities also said they had arrested three of the repatriated women and had charged them with "promotion of terrorist activities" and "entry and residence in a conflict zone," the paper said.

Many European captives in Syrian camps are suspected to be wives and children of ISIS fighters, and countries have been grappling with what to do with them.

A recent report by Asharq al-Awsat, quoted by Al-Monitor, said that Roj camp holds about 2,500 people with suspected ISIS connections, most of whom hold European or American citizenship.

In December 2020, Germany repatriated five women and 18 children in a joint operation with Finland, and Belgium repatriated ten children and six mothers in July.

Most governments decide whether to repatriate individuals on a case-by-case basis, and some have refused to take citizens back based on security concerns.

Shamima Begum, the British schoolgirl who joined ISIS in 2015, was denied repatriation and stripped of her UK citizenship.

Human rights groups have urged countries to take citizens back, arguing that leaving individuals in camps leaves them vulnerable to further radicalization and illness.

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Capitol rioter suspected of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop is charged. Her plot to sell it to Russian spies is still being investigated, says report.

riley june williams wide
Riley Williams is accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi's laptop during the Capitol Riot.
  • Riley Williams, 22, has been formally charged with the theft of Nancy Pelosi's laptop during the Capitol Riot.
  • Williams appeared to boast about stealing the laptop online.
  • Authorities were tipped off in part by an ex-boyfriend of Williams.

A Capitol Riot suspect accused of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop has been formally charged, court filings show.

Riley Williams, 22, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, stole Nancy Pelosi's laptop on January 6 according to an indictment unsealed on Thursday, and planned to try and sell it to Russian intelligence agents,

She has been charged with eight counts, including theft of government property, obstructing an official proceeding, and assaulting or resisting police, according to the indictment.

It said Williams stole a "Hewlett-Packard laptop computer located in the offices of a member of the U.S. Congress."

Williams could face 20 years in jail and fines of $600,000 if she is convicted, The Daily Mail said.

Williams' involvement in the Capitol riot came to light partly through a tip-off from an ex-boyfriend, according to a January affidavit.

The FBI said a former romantic partner of Williams informed authorities that he had seen her in news footage.

The boyfriend claimed she had told people she intended to send Pelosi's stolen laptop to a friend in Russia, who would then sell it on to its foreign intelligence service.

Authorities reviewed videos and images taken on January 6 and identified Williams entering the Capitol, and appearing to enter and exit Pelosi's office, the affidavit says.

One video shows Williams filming herself taking the laptop.

In a series of Discord messages obtained by the FBI, a person who appears to be Williams wrote, "I STOLE SHIT FROM NANCY POLESI [sic]."

"I DOMT [sic] CARE I TOOK NANCY POLESIS [sic] HARD DRIVES I DONT CARE KILL ME," the account wrote.

Discord messages appearing to be from Riley Williams about Nancy Pelosi's stolen laptop.
Discord messages appearing to be from Riley Williams about Nancy Pelosi's stolen laptop.

Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, previously said the laptop was "only used for presentations."

Prosecutors said they are still investigating the claims that she intended to send the laptop to Russia, according to CNN.

In January, Williams' attorney Lori Ulrich said that it was regrettable that her client "took the President's bait and went inside the Capitol," but denied that she was responsible for stealing the laptop.

Ulrich said that the allegations had come in part from a "former abusive boyfriend" who had "threatened" Williams.

The laptop has still not been recovered.

In January, a federal judge in Pennsylvania banned Williams from using the internet while she awaited trial and limited her to using a flip phone after she was suspected of deleting social media accounts, The Daily Mail said.

More than 660 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, according to Insider's tracker.

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Unvaccinated Capitol riot suspect asks for leniency because she is afraid of getting COVID-19 in jail

Dona Bissey, Capitol Riot
A Facebook post by Dona Bissey on January 6 (L), the Capitol Riot (R)
  • Dona Bissey faces charges relating to her involvement in the Capitol riot.
  • Bissey has requested leniency because she is unvaccinated and fears contracting COVID-19 in jail.
  • Her attorney said she could face "severe illness or even death" if jailed.

A Capitol riot suspect has requested leniency because she is unvaccinated and is afraid of getting COVID-19 in jail, court filings show.

Dona Bissey, 53, from Bloomfield, Indiana, faces four charges, including entering and remaining in a restricted building, violent entry, and disorderly conduct in the Capitol.

Her attorney has requested that she receive no jail time and just 18 months probation.

"Simply put, if Ms Bissey is incarcerated at the D.C. Jail or in the BOP, which has seen 259 inmate deaths and over 43,000 infections from COVID-19, she is extremely likely to suffer severe illness or even death," her attorney A. J. Kramer wrote in the filing.

Kramer noted that his client "has not helped her chances of fighting the virus by remaining unvaccinated."

However, Kramer said Bissey "does not deserve to die for her bad behavior on January 6" and implored the court to take her "unique medical vulnerabilities" into account.

The filing notes that Bissey maintains she is unvaccinated because her doctor in Indiana advised against it because of her compromised liver.

The court documents cite an article in The Atlantic, which notes that some doctors in the US might be incorrectly advising patients not to get COVID-19 vaccines.

It notes that most doctors say "vanishingly few people" have legitimate reasons to avoid COVID-19 vaccination.

In the court filings, her attorney also noted that Bissey had been "shunned" by people in her hometown of Bloomfield, Indiana, in a memorandum seen by Insider.

Bissey, who owns a hair salon, has lost a lot of customers since her arrest and is taking antidepressants, Kramer said.

Earlier this week, Bissey wrote a handwritten letter to the judge, describing herself as a "God-fearing, country-loving, law-abiding, hard-working Patriot."

She added that she was "deeply saddened" by the events that transpired at the Capitol on January 6 and that she was "very remorseful."

In the court filing, her attorney A. J. Kramer said the events of the insurrection had left Bissey with "deep regret, fear, shame, and remorse."

Bissey's claims of remorse are in stark contrast to her attitude on social media in the days following the riot.

"It was a day I'll remember forever. I'm so proud I was a part of it! No shame," she wrote on Facebook on January 7.

More than 660 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, according to Insider's tracker.

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Kabul bomb blast that targeted a mosque memorial service for Taliban leader’s mother leaves 2 dead, says interior ministry

A Taliban fighter stands guard as Afghan medical staff members wait at the entrance of a hospital to receive the victims of an explosion in Kabul on October 3, 2021.
A Taliban fighter stands guard as Afghan medical staff members wait at the entrance of a hospital to receive the victims of an explosion in Kabul on October 3, 2021.
  • A bomb blast in Kabul has left several civilians dead, a Taliban spokesman said.
  • The explosion targeted a mosque where a memorial service for the Taliban spokesman's mother was taking place.
  • There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A bomb targeting the entrance of a mosque in Kabul on Sunday killed two people, a government spokesperson said.

The explosion took place outside the Eidgah Mosque, where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, Al Jazeera reported.

"I heard the sound of an explosion near the Eid Gah Mosque followed by gun firing," Abdullah, a shopkeeper, told the AFP news agency.

Witnessed described seeing ambulances carrying wounded civilians to Kabul's Emergency Hospital, Al Jazeera reported. The hospital said on Twitter that it was treating four patients.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. However, since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August, attacks by ISIS have risen.

The Afghanistan-based offshoot group ISIS-K, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, has been responsible for attacks in Kabul, Jalalabad, and Mazar-i-Sharif in recent weeks, Al Jazeera reported.

In August, the group also claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb at Kabul airport that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US troops.

The Taliban and ISIS have long been sworn enemies, regularly clashing over ideological and economic disputes.

Zabihullah Mujahid previously told Al Jazeera the Taliban was actively "hunting down those who are sowing chaos" in the country.

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Hunted by the Taliban, Afghanistan’s former judges are disguising themselves and going underground. ‘I have a lot of enemies right now,’ said one.

A Taliban fighter
A Taliban fighter stands guard at a checkpoint in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.
  • Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are hunting down judges of the previous government who sentenced them to prison.
  • The militants said they would not carry out revenge attacks, but sources say they have not kept that promise.
  • Insider spoke to former judges in hiding in Afghanistan, who said they are on the run and living in dire conditions.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a sweeping offensive last month, they promised a "general amnesty" to all Afghans, including those who had worked for the previous government or with foreign forces.

Despite their promises, multiple sources told Insider that Taliban fighters have been going door-to-door hunting for former government officials to carry out revenge killings.

Judges, in particular, are targeted because of the role they previously played in imprisoning the militants.

"I feel hopeless, abandoned and alone," Abdul,* a former judge who is in hiding in Afghanistan, told Insider.

"I'm in hiding. I change my location every 24 hours. Even my wife and children don't know where I am."

Abdul, 42, was formerly a judge in the public security and anti-corruption department in Kabul.

He told Insider that Taliban fighters went to his house looking for him and searched the homes of his family, friends, and colleagues.

They found his contact information through paperwork left behind in government buildings and called and threatened him.

"Yesterday, the Taliban called me two times, and they told me that we will tie your leg to a car and drive, and we will kill you," he said.

A trial taking place at the anti-corruption judicial center in Kabul, Afghanistan in July 2017.
A trial taking place at the anti-corruption judicial center in Kabul, Afghanistan in July 2017.

After the Taliban took control of the country, the world watched in horror as thousands of Afghans crowded at Kabul airport, with several deaths in the desperate stampedes to secure a place on an evacuation flight.

Abdul could not secure a place on an evacuation flight. Despite many attempts to get a visa from any country that would take him, he has not been able to escape Afghanistan.

"I never thought that I would leave my country," Abdul said. "I have served this country, and I wanted my children to serve this country. But now, 100% if I stay here, my life and my family's lives are under threat. They will kill us if they catch us."

But he is not hopeful that he will ever get the chance to leave. The UK government is currently facing legal action after it rejected the visa applications of 35 mostly female judges.

Afghan fighters are determined to have revenge

Abdul said that if he senses that the Taliban are closing in, he plans to pour fuel on himself and set himself alight rather than risk capture.

Last week in Nangarhar, a former member of the National Directorate of Security was beheaded and his dead body thrown in a river, Abdul said.

After the body was found, the Taliban claimed that their fighters were not responsible, according to Abdul.

"There are three groups involved; the Doha team, the Taliban in Kandahar, and also the Haqqani network. The leadership doesn't have control over all of the networks and some of them are seeking revenge," said Abdul.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, reports have emerged of competing factions.

The head of one branch is the Taliban co-founder and interim deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who signed the Doha agreement on the withdrawal of US forces on behalf of the Taliban.

Other Taliban leaders, including the group's elusive leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, are based in the city of Kandahar, described as the de facto capital of the Taliban.

Another offshoot group is the semi-autonomous Haqqani network, which is allied with the Taliban.

Reports said that earlier this month, Taliban leaders brawled after arguing over who did the most to kick the US out of the country.

"I haven't gone home since the Taliban came to power"

Defendants stand trial in the Primary Court in Kabul, Afghanistan in May 2015.
Defendants stand trial in the Primary Court in Kabul, Afghanistan in May 2015.

Mohammad*, 47, another judge, told Insider he went into hiding as soon as the Taliban took over the country.

"I have worked for almost 12 years in different provinces as the chief judge of the appeals court. I have imprisoned thousands of them. I have a lot of enemies right now," he said.

Mohammad said that Taliban fighters have also freed criminals from jails, including drug dealers and weapons smugglers he previously imprisoned, who could also seek revenge.

Along with personal vendettas, Taliban fighters also take issue with former judges because they enforced a Western legal system, which they say is against Sharia law, Mohammad said.

Since taking over the country, the Taliban have said the new legal system will operate based on their strict interpretation of Islamic law.

During their previous rule, this manifested in harsh punishments for minor infractions and the persecution of vulnerable groups, including women and LGBTQ people.

The group has already said it plans to bring back executions and the cutting off hands as punishments, and last week displayed the hanged bodies of alleged kidnappers in Herat.

Mohammad said that after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, his life changed overnight.

"I am now jobless. I have no source of income. I haven't gone home since the Taliban came to power," Mohammad said.

"The places where I'm hiding are not places for a human to live. These are very bad places. We don't have access to basic things."

Mohammad said that he does not go outside unless it is to change locations, which he sometimes does multiple times in a day.

He said he is well-known in the community and easily recognized, and so he wears dirty clothes and disguises his appearance before moving locations.

Taliban fighters searched his home while looking for him, he said, and took his cars and the weapons of his security guards.

Mohammad said that now his main priority is trying to get his children out of the country. He said that his two sons are suffering from mental health problems, afraid for their futures, and unsure when they will see their father again.

"I want to ask the international community to just help us, just help our children to get out of here. Because their future, their everything is ruined," Mohammad said.

*Insider has given the judges pseudonyms to protect their identity.

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