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Dozens of criminals rounded up in Kabul

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KABUL: Taliban have arrested dozens of criminals, kidnappers, and smugglers in operations in a house-to-house sweep across the capital on Monday.

The clearance operations began in the capital and neighboring provinces two days ago, and will continue, Zabiullah Mujahid said in a press conference. 

The aim was to collect weapons and arrest suspects, he added. 

“The operation was successful,” he said. Hundreds of light and heavy weapons were confiscated, including rocket launchers and grenades, he said. Over 60,000 rounds of ammunition were also uncovered, as well as 13 armored vehicles and 13 tons of gunpowder and explosives.

Mujahid also welcomed a recent US decision to ease restrictions on Afghan banks. 

The new general license issued by the US Treasury will allow for money transfers for Afghan businessmen and others but exclude individual Taliban members.

He said he hoped the US will continue to ease restrictions. 

Billions of dollars of Afghan assets are frozen in US banks, severely hampering state institutions in the once aid-dependent country.

Abductees released

In total, nine kidnappers, six Daesh members, and 53 thieves were arrested. Two abducted individuals were also released.

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

“The intimidations, house searches, 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 has not returned to the country since the Taliban takeover in August.

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

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

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