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ISI-linked Pakistani Aslam Farooqui is the mastermind behind Kabul airport attack

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New Delhi, Aug 28: As the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) claimed the responsibility for the Kabul airport attacks which left more than 100 people including 13 US marines dead, and 200 persons injured, the name of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) chief Maulavi Abdullah aka Aslam Farooqui, a Pakistani national, also in the news.

Aslam is the mastermind of many attacks in Kabul including the massacres at a Sikh Gurudwara and a hospital last year. The ISKP had cited “revenge” for the Muslims of Kashmir’ as their motive while claiming responsibility for the 25 March Kabul Gurdwara attack in which several Afghan Sikhs and one Indian national were killed.

ISKP cadres have been carrying out attacks in Kabul with the Haqqani Network. Both outfits are closely linked with Pakistan’s notorious agency ISI. According to experts the ISI has been using the ISKP and the Haqqani network to keep a close watch on the activities of the Taliban leadership.

Aslam Farooqui was arrested by the Afghan security forces in April last year but when the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15, they released all the militants from Bagram prison including him.

While in the custody of Afghan security forces, Aslam Farooqi had confessed his ties with the ISI and that is why Pakistan was desperate for his extradition which was refused by the then Afghan government.

Now it is believed, the mastermind of the Kabul airport attack was Aslam Farooqi, the chief of ISKP. The Taliban claims that ISKP is its sworn enemy but interestingly the Taliban freed him from the Bagram prison.

A week back, ISKP’s propaganda video clip accused the Taliban of being puppets of the United States and not preaching the true ‘sharia’. In that same message, ISIS promised a “new phase of jihad” in Afghanistan, heralding a wave of attacks. This Thursday, they lived up to that promise.

Quoting the IS’s official Amaq news agency, the Guardian reports that ISKP has released the picture of one of the suicide bombers “Abdul Rahman al-Lowgari who carried out the martyrdom operation near Kabul Airport.”

The statement by the IS further said: “The attacker was able to reach a distance of no less than five metres from the American forces, who were supervising the procedures for collecting documents from hundreds of translators and contractors in preparation for their evacuation from the country.”

According to the intelligence experts, though ISKP is “weaker” than its rival the Taliban, it draws immense support from the Haqqani Network (HQN) and its leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. In what is a rather complex link, Haqqani also happens to be a deputy leader of the Taliban and a member of the Taliban’s peace negotiating team.

The Islamic State officially announced the formation of its Afghan affiliate in January 2015, under the name of the Khorasan Province (a historical region of the Persian empire that encompasses parts of Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan) or ISIS-K or ISKP.

Pakistani national Maulavi Abdullah aka Aslam Farooqi, who was earlier associated with the Pakistan based terror groups, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), and then Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) terror group, replaced Mawlawi Zia-ul-Haq aka Abu Omar Khorasani as ISKP chief in April 2019. Farooqi belongs to Mamozai tribe and from Orakzai agency area on Pak-Afghan border.

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Air India goes to Tata Sons, Ratan Tata tweets, Welcome Back!

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New Delhi: Finally, Air India has gone to Tata Group which emerged the highest bidder. This was a much-awaited deal for the Government of India which wanted to sell this national career from a very long time. Welcome back, Air India, tweets Ratan Tata on Tata Sons winning the bid for Air India.
An SPV of Tata Sons – the holding company of conglomerate – has emerged as successful bidder, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) — the government department responsible for privatisation, said.

The international service was among the first public-private partnerships in India, with the government holding 49 per cent, the Tatas keeping 25 per cent and the public owning the rest. In 1953, Air India was nationalised. The government is selling 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

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Powerful earthquake in Japan injures 32, disrupts train services

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Tokyo, Oct 8: Authorities in Japan said on Friday that a powerful earthquake which jolted the country the previous day left 32 people injured, while also disrupting train services in the Tokyo area, affecting around 368,000 passengers in total.

The earthquake that struck the capital region at 10.41 p.m. on Thursday night reached upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Tokyo and Saitama prefecture, reports Xinhua news agency.

The last time that people in central Tokyo faced such an intense jolt was during the massive quake of March 11, 2011, which devastated northeastern Japan and triggered a tsunami and nuclear disaster.

According to East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), the strongest earthquake for the Japanese capital in a decade caused services on the Shinkansen bullet train and 16 local train lines cancelled or delayed from late night Thursday to about 3 p.m. (local time) on Friday, resulting in many late-night train passengers stranded and a commuter disruption in the morning.

JR East have resumed train services, but many passengers were forced to wait at stations due to delays.

After a train derailed in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, one of the areas hit hardest by the temblor, the operation of the Nippori Toneri Liner, a driverless guideway transit system in Tokyo, might remain suspended for several days, according to its operator.

The Japan Transport Safety Board has sent officials to investigate the derailment.

According to a tally by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, two in Saitama Prefecture and one in Chiba Prefecture sustained severe injuries among the 32.

Around 250 houses in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward briefly experienced power outages due to the earthquake, and water stoppages and leaks were reported in central Tokyo.

The earthquake also caused 28 cases of people being trapped in elevators in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures, but all cases have been cleared according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

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India to showcase its art, culture, tradition and business prospect in Dubai

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Dubai: India is out to showcase to the world its arts and culture, rich history and tradition and opportunities that exist for individuals and corporates with its biggest pavilion of the 192 participating countries in the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The six-month-long Expo kicked off on October 1 with Dubai expecting a large number of visitors despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the number of daily infections now well below 200 for the past week, the city has opened itself to the world. Most of the visitors are allowed to travel with a valid negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours.

However, India is still in the category that requires a valid negative PCR test certificate (with a QR code) for a test conducted within 48 hours, and a rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure. The pavilion features a kinetic facade of 600 individual colourful blocks. The panels rotate and the facade presents a different look with each rotation, a unique representation of the country’s theme at the Expo, ‘India on the Move’.

The Indian pavilion was officially inaugurated by Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles who said the Pavilion “shows an India on the move, it describes a new India rejuvenated, reinvented and revitalised, which can convert any adversity into an opportunity”.

As the country comes out a deadly second wave of the pandemic, India is eager to make an impression on the world and the Expo is a great platform. Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai, said: “India at Expo 2020 Dubai will present a new and dynamic India with its never-ending opportunities.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given us a clarion call for action to all stakeholders to give a renewed push to boosting exports and Expo 2020 will provide an important platform in driving forward this national agenda.”

While art and culture has always been a staple of India’s exhibitions in foreign countries, there is a big push for innovation and industries in Dubai. The India Innovation Hub, a specially designed mobile platform, was recently launched. It showcases innovations by Indian startups and corporates across various cutting edge fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobility, robotics and space. As many as 15 states and eight Union Territories are taking part in the Expo, most of them displaying food, art & culture and business opportunities. Also, present and various ministries, like textile, space and energy, as well as some of the leading business houses like Tata, Reliance, L&T and Adani.

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