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An Urdu-language daily in Pakistan reports that the assassination of Iran's General Qassem Soleimani could be avenged in Afghanistan. The Urdu daily, Roznama Ummat, which is said to be close to the Afghan Taliban and other jihadi organizations, reported: "Thousands of volunteers of the Fatemiyoun Brigade trained by General Qassem Soleimani are present in Afghanistan who can undertake retaliatory action against American forces."
"The chief of Qods Force [General Soleimani] had played an important role in the Iran-Taliban understanding," the Urdu daily said. The understanding was struck in 2011. "Qassem Soleimani had not only played a role in arranging a meeting between the former Taliban emir Mullah Akhtar Mansoor and key officials of Iran, but had become their interlocutor too," it noted.
The Urdu newspaper quoted unidentified sources for its report. It added that after Soleimani's assassination, "All operations at Shindand airport and Mazar-i-Sharif airbase have been suspended, while the U.S. has also limited activities at the Bagram airbase." Roznama Ummat said in its report that General Soleimani had been seen in western Afghanistan, along the Iran border, many times, and once in the Nimruz and Herat provinces "after which the Taliban had launched attacks on the capital of Nimruz [Zaranj]."
According to the report, the U.S. at that time understood that Soleimani helped the Taliban plan the attack. The Afghan government lodged a complaint against Soleimani with the government in Tehran, after which Iranian intelligence chief Ali Shamkhani paid a visit to Afghanistan and warned the Afghan president against creating obstacles in Taliban-Iran relations, the report stated.
"In October last year, a Taliban delegation also visited Iran. The delegation, under the leadership of Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi, had also held meetings with General Soleimani. The Taliban delegation had also met the spiritual leader of Iran Ali Khamenei, following which Taliban-Iran relations achieved new heights," the Urdu daily said.
According to the Urdu daily, "General Soleimani acquired great importance in Afghanistan because he established the Fatemiyoun Brigade comprising of Afghans volunteering for the protection of sacred places in Syria and Iraq. And its training was undertaken by the Qods Force under General Soleimani's monitoring. The Fatemiyoun Brigade took part in full against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Qassem also attended the funeral prayers of some commanders who had fought in Syria. Four of these commanders belonged to Afghanistan."
The report noted that about 15,000 members of the Fatemiyoun Brigade returned to Iran and Afghanistan in September 2019, and are now present in Afghanistan, mostly in the regions of Bamiyan, Jowzjan, Balkh, Badakhshan, Panjshir, and Herat. "Important sources informed Roznama Ummat that the Fatemiyoun Brigade can join with the Afghan Taliban, following which it will be easy to carry out a coup against the government in Afghanistan. If the Fatemiyoun Brigade agrees to work under the control of the Afghan Taliban, then the Taliban would acquire the greatest strength in past 19 years.," the Urdu daily added.
Source: Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), January 4, 2020.