Qatar diplomat emphasizes engagement with Taliban at forum
Qatar’s diplomatic point man for talks with the Taliban says countries should engage Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, warning that isolation could lead to a wide-reaching security threat, as happened when al-Qaida used the country as a base to plot the 9/11 attacks.
UN: Afghanistan's Taliban want to address General Assembly
The United Nations says the Taliban, Afghanistan’s new rulers since last month, have challenged the credentials of Afghanistan’s former U.N. ambassador and are asking to speak at the U.N. General Assembly’s high-level meeting of world leaders that began Tuesday.
Rescue groups: US tally misses hundreds left in Afghanistan
Veteran-led rescue groups say the Biden administration’s estimate that no more than 200 U.S. citizens were left behind in Afghanistan is too low and also overlooks hundreds of others they consider to be equally American: permanent legal residents with green cards.
Australia closes its embassy in Kabul, others scale back
.Australia says it will temporarily close its embassy in the Afghan capital later this week because of security concerns. That's due to the upcoming final withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan at the end of what U.S. President Joe Biden called America’s “forever war.” A number of other embassies in the beleaguered Afghan capital have scaled back. They've sent home non-essential personnel and warned their nationals to avoid travelling to Afghanistan. Those countries also are...
Russia hosts Afghan peace conference, hoping to boost talks
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, center, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for an international peace conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)MOSCOW – Russia hosted a peace conference for Afghanistan on Thursday, bringing together government representatives, the Taliban and international observers in a bid to help jump-start the country's stalled peace process. Moscow’s attempt at mediation comes as talks in Qatar between the Afghan government and the Taliban, still waging an insurgency, have stalled. Washington and Kabul have been pressing for a cease-fire while the Taliban say they will negotiate it as part of peace talks with the Afghan government. Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan, told reporters that the Afghan participants in the talks showed willingness to negotiate peace.
World hopes for renewed cooperation with US under Biden
Many expressed hope Biden would right U.S. democracy two weeks after rioters stormed the Capitol, shaking the faith of those fighting for democracy in their own countries. Biden “understands the importance of cooperation among nations,” said former Colombian president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos, who left office in 2018. “President Biden’s message of unity as he takes office is one that resonates with New Zealanders,” Ardern said. World leaders also acknowledged the history of Vice President Kamala Harris taking office. “That is an historic moment and one that, I think as a father of daughters, you can only celebrate," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Court orders release of man charged in Daniel Pearl killing
(AP Photo/Zia Mazhar, File)KARACHI – A provincial court in Pakistan ordered the release of a British-born Pakistani man charged in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Sheikh was acquitted earlier this year of murdering Pearl, but has been held while Pearl's family appeals the acquittal. However, Siddiqi said the Sindh provincial government is appealing the order to release Sheikh. The U.S. State Department in a series of tweets said it was “deeply concerned” by the court order. Siddiqi, the Pearl family lawyer, said he expects the appeal to be decided by the Supreme Court by the end of January.
Families marry off daughters to ease finances amid COVID-19
“Sadly, we have seen an increase in child marriage in refugee camps since the beginning of the pandemic as families struggle to cope,” said Tanya Chapuisat, the UNICEF representative for Jordan. Similarly, in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, child protection services reported 17 child marriages that were stopped or later dissolved in the first 10 months of the year. Child protection authorities in Bangladesh said they received an 8:30 p.m. call back in June warning that a child marriage was to take place within the hour. The girl’s family thought they could use the lockdown to marry off their daughter in secret. Then COVID-19 hit, schools closed in March and child marriages accelerated as many village girls who had been attending classes in nearby towns returned home to their parents.
Officials: Roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan kills 14
Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said 45 people were also wounded in a late afternoon blast in Bamiyan city in Bamiyan province. Mohammad Reza Yusuofi, spokesman for the provincial police chief in Bamiyan, said there were two bombs that exploded in quick succession. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, said the group was not involved. The Islamic State group affiliate in Afghanistan has declared war on the country’s minority Shiite Muslims — and Bamiyan is a mostly Shiite province. The U.S. blamed the IS affiliate for an attack on a maternity hospital earlier this year that killed 24 new mothers and infant babies.
Afghan president names council for peace deal with Taliban
The negotiations were envisaged under a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement signed in February as intra-Afghan talks to decide the war-torn countrys future. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree late Saturday establishing the 46-member council, led by his former rival in last years presidential election, Abdullah Abdullah, who is now in the government. The council will have the final say and will ultimately decide on the points that the negotiating team takes up with the Taliban. Among them is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who signed a peace deal with Ghani in 2016 but previously was declared a terrorist by the U.S. The Taliban team answers only to the insurgents' leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhunzada.
Islamic State gunmen, suicide bomber attack Afghan prison
A wounded man receives treatment at a hospital after a suicide car bomb and multiple gunmen attack in the city of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. A suicide car bomb and multiple gunmen attacked a prison in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, Afghan officials said, killing at least one person and injuring dozens. (AP Photo)KABUL The Islamic State group on Sunday claimed responsibility for a complex attack by a suicide car bomber and multiple gunmen against a prison in eastern Afghanistan, which Afghan officials said killed at least three people and injured 24 others. The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, known as IS in Khorasan province, claimed responsibility for the attack. Sundays attack comes a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said a senior IS commander was killed by Afghan special forces near Jalalabad.
Dengue prevention efforts stifled by coronavirus pandemic
While 2019 was the worst year on record for global dengue cases, experts fear an even bigger surge is possible because their efforts to combat it were hampered by restrictions imposed in the coronavirus pandemic. Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Indonesia have dealt with concurrent outbreaks of dengue and coronavirus this year. Experts say that while reduced travel means fewer opportunities for mosquitoes to bite people with dengue to become carriers themselves, the coronavirus pandemic has introduced other variables. By July 6, the total of dengue cases in Singapore was more than 15,500. Global research into dengue also will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Brady said.
US Embassy in Kabul battling COVID-19 infections
KABUL The U.S. State Department says COVID-19 infections have been reported at its embassy in the Afghan capital and the staff who are affected include diplomats, contractors and locally employed staff. The State Department did not say how many were affected. The embassy is implementing all appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. State department said. The infected staff are in isolation in the embassy while the remainder on the compound are being tested, said the embassy official, who also said the embassy staff have been told they can expect tighter isolation orders. At the U.S. Embassy, the State Department said a sanitization of the premises was being carried out to prevent further outbreak."
Turbulence, warnings before Pakistan plane crash killed 97
Family members of an air hostess Anam Maqsood, who was killed in Friday's plane crash, mourn for her death at their home in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, May 23, 2020. The plane crashed at 2:39 p.m. near Jinnah International Airport, in the poor and congested residential area known as Model Colony. Between the coronavirus pandemic and the plane crash, this year has been a catastrophe," he said. Shabaz Hussein, whose mother died in the crash, told The Associated Press he identified her body at a local hospital and was waiting to take it away for burial. The men were praying at the nearby mosque, Masjid-e-Bilal, which is 100 meters from where the plane crashed, said resident Amir Chaudhry, whose sister was injured when the airliner crashed into the neighborhood.