According to a report from the Guardian, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are helping to arm Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. The militias are smuggling weapons into Russia, according to the report.
The report cited members of the Iranian-backed militias as well as regional intelligence services familiar with the matter. RPGs, anti-tank missiles, and Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems are among the weapons being smuggled.
Iranian authorities also donated one of their Bavar 373 missile systems, a source who helped organize the transfer told the Guardian. “RPGs and anti-tank missiles belonging to the Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militia group were transported from Iraq to Iran on March 26 where they were collected by Russian authorities who then shipped them to Russia by sea, a commander of the militia branch that controls the crossing told the British daily.”
Hashd al-Shaabi also dismantled Brazilian-designed Astros II rocket launcher systems on April 1 for shipment to Russian forces. “We don’t care where the heavy weapons go [because we don’t need them at the moment],” one Hashd al-Shaabi source told The Guardian. “Whatever is anti-US makes us happy.”
Times of Israel reports:
The reported weapons transfers represent the latest progression in Russia’s relations with Iran as Moscow finds itself increasingly isolated and struggling to keep up on the battlefield as Western sanctions continue to pile up.
The smugglings also risk hampering US support for the Iraqi government and army, which have hosted American troops since 2003.
US officials said that Russia has also been leaning on China to send its own military aid for use in the Ukraine invasion, according to The Guardian.
Ukraine has also accused Georgia of helping Russia receive sanctioned military equipment.
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Mental health crisis spikes among Afghan women after Taliban regained control two years ago
The women of Afghanistan are suffering a mental health crisis since the Taliban regained power two years ago. According to a joint report from three U.N. agencies released Tuesday, approximately 70% of women experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.
The numbers continue to rise, as there has already been a significant jump between April and June of this year alone, with an increase from 57% the preceding quarter.
The report, conducted by U.N. Women, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, interviewed women online, in-person and in group consultations as well as individual telesurveys.
592 Afghan women in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces took part in the study. The Associated Press reports:
They have barred women from most areas of public life and work and banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. They have prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. The ban was extended to employees of the United Nations in April.
Opportunities to study continued to shrink as community-based education by international organizations was banned and home-based schooling initiatives were regularly shut down by the de facto authorities — a term use by the U.N. for the Taliban government.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education and the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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