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Afghanistan claimed Sunday it killed a top Al Qaeda propagandist on an FBI most-wanted list during an operation in the country’s east, showing the militant group’s continued presence there as U.S. forces work to withdraw from America’s longest-running war amid continued bloodshed.

The reported death of Husam Abd al-Rauf, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a suicide bombing by the Islamic State group Saturday at an education center near Kabul that killed 24 people. Meanwhile, the Afghan government continues to fight Taliban militants even as peace talks in Qatar between the two sides take place for the first time.

The violence and al-Rauf’s reported killing threatens the face-to-face peace talks and risks plunging this nation beset by decades of war into further instability. It also complicates America’s efforts to withdraw, 19 years after it led an invasion targeting the Taliban for hosting Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Details over the raid that led to al-Rauf’s alleged death remained murky hours after Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security intelligence service claimed on Twitter to have killed him in Ghazni province.

Al Qaeda did not immediately acknowledge al-Rauf’s reported death. The FBI, the U.S. military, and NATO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Afghan raid happened last week in Kunsaf, a village in Ghazni province’s Andar district some 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Kabul, two government officials said.

Amanullah Kamrani, the deputy head of Ghazni’s provincial council, told The Associated Press that Afghan special forces led by the intelligence agency raided Kunsaf, which he described as being under Taliban control. On the village’s outskirts, they stormed an isolated home and killed seven suspected militants in a firefight, including al-Rauf, Kamrani said.

Neither Kamrani nor the intelligence agency offered details on how authorities identified al-Rauf, nor how they came to suspect he was in the village.

Wahidullah Jumazada, a spokesman for the provincial governor in Ghazni, said Afghan forces killed six suspected militants in the raid, without acknowledging al-Rauf had been killed.

Kamrani alleged, without providing evidence, that the Taliban had been offering shelter and protection to al-Rauf. The Taliban told the AP on Sunday they are investigating the incident.

If the Taliban had provided protection for al-Rauf, it would violate the terms of its Feb. 29 deal with the U.S. that jump-started the Afghan peace talks. That deal saw the Taliban agree “not to cooperate with groups or individuals threatening the security of the United States and its allies,” which includes Al Qaeda.

The Afghan presidential palace issued a statement Sunday saying al-Rauf had been killed and warning it “proved that the threat of terrorism and the Taliban’s links to terrorist networks are still in place.”

“The Taliban should prove to the people, the government of Afghanistan and the international community that they are ending their links with terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda,” the statement said. They “should stop the war and violence and facilitate a dignified and sustainable peace in the country.”

Federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York filed a warrant for al-Rauf’s arrest in December 2018, accusing him of providing support to a foreign terrorist organization and being part of a conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens. The FBI put him on the bureau’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list, which now includes 27 others.

The red-headed al-Rauf, believed to be born in 1958, is an Egyptian national. An Al Qaeda-issued biography said he joined the mujahedeen fighters who battled the Soviet Union in 1986.

He has served for years as Al Qaeda’s media chief, offering audio statements and written articles backing the militant group. After years of remaining silent following the acknowledgment of Taliban founder Mullah Omar’s death, al-Rauf re-emerged in 2018 in an audio statement in which he mocked President Trump and those who preceded him the White House.

“I name him ‘Donald T-Rambo’ who tries to copy the famous American fictional character ‘Rambo,’ who, with only a Kalashnikov, was able to liberate the entire Afghanistan from the Soviet Union,” al-Rauf said, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

The Afghan presidential palace described al-Rauf as “Al Qaeda’s leader for the Indian subcontinent.”

Meanwhile Sunday, authorities raised the death toll in Saturday’s suicide attack on an education center near Kabul. The suicide bomber, who was stopped by guards from entering the center, killed 24 and wounded 57 — many of them young students.

The Islamic State group’s local affiliate claimed credit for the attack in a heavily Shiite neighborhood of western Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, saying one of its fighters used a suicide bomb vest in the assault.

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22 Comments
  • bobp says:

    I guess the democrats are now in mourning !

  • bobp says:

    Sure bet the democrats are in mourning !

  • rcb says:

    RIPIH—-rest in pig infested Hell MR’er…..

  • Rick says:

    democrats will be pissed and want a full report on why he was killed….

  • CF

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    Kirstie Alley Says Pro-Lockdown Politicians Should Forego Their Salaries While Americans Suffer From Their Policies

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    Actress Kirstie Alley opined that perhaps politicians pushing lockdown policies should forego their salaries while their constituents are suffering from the consequences of their decisions.

    The vocal actress made the suggestion from her official social media account and it got thousands of positive interactions.

    “My solution. All senators congressmen governors and city political officials from any state or city who impose shut downs to the extent that businesses and people have no form of income, take no salaries for the duration of the shutdown,” tweeted Alley.

    “Leadership leads by example & from the top,” she added.
    The missive received more than 12,500 retweets and more than 116,700 likes from social media users.

    The outrage aimed at pro-pandemic politicians has peaked after several incidents of appalling hypocrisy from politicians ignoring social distancing guidelines while haranguing their constituents to follow the rules.

    In one of the most egregious examples, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, was caught at a lavish dinner at an exclusive restaurant called French Laundry. Photographs showed that he eschewed wearing a mask and his dinner companions neglected to distance themselves. Newsom later apologized for setting a bad example.

    A few days later at the same ritzy restaurant, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, also a Democrat, was caught celebrating the birthday of a local wealthy socialite. Breed confirmed it was her at the restaurant.

    Alley has been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and has not shied away from using her social media account to express her political beliefs. On Tuesday she signaled that she supported the effort to question the results of the 2020 election.

    “I’m still holding the line by the way…. @realDonaldTrump .. I’m here till they drag me away,” she tweeted.

    Here’s Kirstie Alley talking about her support for Trump:

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    Houston Police Arrest Honduran National in Human Trafficking Ring Bust, Rescue 29 Victims

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    Nearly 30 people in Houston were rescued from an alleged human trafficking ring, and a suspect has been arrested in the case.

    According to the Houston Police Department, officers “received a report of a male in his briefs running down the street yelling that he had been kidnapped.” The nearly naked man informed authorities that “thirty more people were being held hostage in the house.”

    Inside the home in southwest Houston, police found 28 men and one female, who appeared to be a minor, according to KHOU-TV. The victims were in their underwear, but reportedly in good condition. Officials said the victims are from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Cuba.

    Mary Lewis, who lives directly behind the home where the victims were discovered, recalled the moment when a victim approached her.

    “When he ran up to me he looked like he was all cut up,” Lewis told KYTX-TV. “He had like cuts in his face. But he was in his red shorts, drawers. And he was barefoot.”

    “Then I was backing up. I said, ‘What’s wrong, man? I can’t understand you. What are you talking about?’ And then he would look back that way,” Lewis said.

    The U.S. attorney’s officenoted that the residence had boarded-up windows and deadbolt locks on the inside doors.

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    A suspect has been arrested in the human trafficking bust. Officials named the suspect as Mauro Dominguez-Maldonado, a 36-year-old Honduran national. On Friday, federal prosecutors said the suspect was in the United States illegally, according to CNN.

    The criminal complaint alleges Dominguez-Maldonado was in charge of watching over the individuals and performing multiple tasks in the alleged human smuggling operation.
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    Police Commander Jonathon Halliday told reporters that three people were detained as possible suspects.

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    Michigan Judge Orders Forensic Review of 22 Dominion Voting Machines, Giuliani Says

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    A judge in Antrim County, Michigan, has authorized a forensic audit of 22 Dominion Voting Systems machines, according to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

    “BIG WIN FOR HONEST ELECTIONS,” the former New York City Mayor wrote on Twitter on Dec. 4. “This is where the untrustworthy Dominion machine flipped 6,000 votes from Trump to Biden. Spiking of votes by Dominion happened all over the state.”

    It is unclear which of the several election lawsuits the order originated from. The public dockets in four of the major election lawsuits in Michigan did not feature an order Giuliani described. Giuliani did not immediately respond to an emailed request for clarification.

    Giuliani’s reference to a Dominion machine flipping votes is disputed by both Michigan election officials and Dominion. The Michigan Secretary of State’s office said the votes were flipped due to a human error by an Antrim county clerk.

    Allegations about vote manipulation through the abuse of Dominion machines figure prominently in the election lawsuits filed by former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, who is not a part of the legal team representing President Donald Trump in a number of post-election lawsuits. Dominion has denied all of the allegations.

    The judge’s order is the first known instance of a green light for the Trump team to examine the Dominion machines.

    A judge in Nevada has previously granted the team access to a signature matching machine made by a different company. In that case, the campaign complained that while the judge granted a forensic review, the campaign was given what amounted to a “guided tour” instead.

    The Michigan GOP on Friday raised concerns about a memo sent by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that “is pushing for the mass deletion of election data,” although a spokesperson for the secretary’s office later said the process is routine.

    The GOP said Benson’s office told clerks in Michigan counties to “delete Electronic Poll Book software and associated files” amid calls to audit the election while flagging it was concerning.

    Giuliani testified before Michigan lawmakers on Wednesday, telling them that they are the final arbiters of the election.

    Giuliani said he was not asking the legislators to hand the state’s 16 Electoral College votes—currently certified for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden—to Trump. Rather, he said, he hoped state legislators would investigate and examine the evidence for themselves.

    “You shouldn’t decide anything based on what I believe,” said Giuliani on Dec. 2, adding that the evidence presented at the hearing was “just a sample.”

    “There’s a plethora of evidence that you can go through that will convince you that this election was stolen,” said Giuliani. “I would ask you to go through that.”

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    Lawsuit Requests ‘New Statewide Election’ in Georgia Presidential Contest Over Voter Fraud Allegations

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    The Trump campaign filed a new lawsuit in Georgia state court late Friday seeking to invalidate the results of the presidential contest in the Peach State over allegations of voter fraud.

    According to WXIA-TV, Trump’s legal team claims “tens of thousands of illegal votes” were cast in last month’s election. The lawsuit requests the decertification of the state’s election results, and wants the court to “order a new election to be conducted in the presidential race.”

    As alleged evidence of their claims, the lawsuit includes “dozens of signed affidavits from Georgia residents who claimed to have witnessed voter fraud,” WXIA reported.

    The lawsuit also demands that the court direct Georgia’s Republican-controlled state legislature to appoint presidential electors.

    Lead Trump campaign counsel Ray Smith said in a statement:

    What was filed today clearly documents that there are literally tens of thousands of illegal votes that were cast, counted, and included in the tabulations the Secretary of State is preparing to certify. The massive irregularities, mistakes, and potential fraud violate the Georgia Election Code, making it impossible to know with certainty the actual outcome of the presidential race in Georgia.

    The Secretary of State has orchestrated the worst excuse for an election in Georgia history. We are asking the Court to vacate the certification of the presidential election and to order a new statewide election for president. Alternatively, we are asking the Court to enjoin the certification and allow the Georgia legislature to reclaim its duty under the U.S. Constitution to appoint the presidential electors for the state.

    The Trump campaign’s statement explained, “Attached to the complaint are sworn affidavits from dozens of Georgia residents swearing under penalty of perjury to what they witnessed during the election: failure to process and secure the ballots, failure to verify the signatures on absentee ballots, the appearance of mysterious ‘pristine’ absentee ballots not received in official absentee ballot envelopes that were voted almost solely for Joe Biden, failure to allow poll watchers meaningful access to observe the election, among other violations of law.”

    Despite the Trump campaign’s claims, Attorney General William Barr said this week that the Department of Justice has not uncovered credible evidence of voter fraud.

    “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr said.

    The Georgia secretary of state’s office also has clarified on multiple occasions they have neither seen evidence of voter fraud, WXIA noted.

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