Taliban official says dozens of criminals arrested in sweeps

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban forces have arrested dozens of criminals, kidnappers and smugglers during operations across Kabul, a Taliban government spokesman said Sunday.

Demining operations started two days ago in the capital and neighboring provinces and will continue, Zabiullah Mujahid told a press conference. The aim was to collect weapons and arrest suspects, he added.

“The operation was a success,” he said. Hundreds of light and heavy weapons were confiscated, including rocket launchers and grenades, he said. Over 60,000 cartridges were also discovered, along with 13 armored vehicles and 13 tonnes of gunpowder and explosives.

Mujahid also welcomed the recent US decision to ease restrictions on Afghan banks. The new general license issued by the US Treasury will allow money transfers for Afghan businessmen and others, but will exclude individual members of the Taliban.

He said he hoped the United States would continue to ease restrictions. Billions of dollars in Afghan assets are frozen in US banks, severely hampering state institutions in the once aid-dependent country.

A total of nine kidnappers, six ISIS operatives and 53 thieves were arrested. Two abductees were also released.

The operations, in which the Taliban went door to door, drew criticism amid reports of abuses suffered by civilians – including minority groups and women – at the hands of Taliban forces.

“Intimidation, raids, arrests and violence against members of different ethnic groups and women are crimes and must stop immediately,” tweeted Andreas von Brandt, EU ambassador to Afghanistan who did not return. in the country since the Taliban took power in August.

Responding to criticism, Mujahid said the operation was “well organised” and included female security personnel.

“All these efforts are for the benefit of the people, the people and the government had to launch such an operation,” he said.

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