Baztab News

Coronavirus in a war zone: Afghanistan braces for outbreak after first case

Coronavirus in a war zone: Afghanistan braces for outbreak after first case

7 Hour The Guardian The Guardian

Lone Kabul laboratory preparing to treat patients in the midst of political turmoil and tentative peace talks, as border with Iran closedCoronavirus - latest updatesPreparations for an outbreak of coronavirus were underway in Afghanistan as the country confirmed its first case in the western province of Herat, which borders Iran.Seven more suspected cases have been identified in Herat, and three cases in the nearby provinces of Farah and Ghor.What is Covid-19 - the illness that started in Wuhan? Related: Coronavirus fears grip Middle East as Iran denies cover-up Continue reading...

Afghanistan: Trump ready to sign peace deal with Taliban if truce holds

Afghanistan: Trump ready to sign peace deal with Taliban if truce holds

23 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

‘They want to make a deal. We want to make a deal’US and the Taliban announced truce earlier this monthDonald Trump said on Sunday he is ready to sign a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan if a temporary truce holds in America’s longest war. “Time to come home,” he said. “They want to stop. You know, they’ve been fighting a long time. They’re tough people. We’re tough people. But after 19 years, that’s a long time.” Continue reading...

US and Taliban to sign agreement to reduce violence in Afghanistan – live

21 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Agreement represents chance for peace after years of warBernie Sanders rises in Nevada polling ahead of Saturday voteIntelligence officials ‘warned Congress’ about Russian 2020 interferenceHelp us cover the critical issues of 2020. Consider making a contribution 12.57pm GMT The Kremlin has responded to the reports that US intelligence officials briefed members of Congress that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to boost Donald Trump – as the intelligence community believes it did in 2016.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters:These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the election. They have nothing to do with the truth. 12.26pm GMT It’s been another wild week in American politics, with a Democratic debate shaking up the field again and Donald Trump tangling with the justice system in multiple dramatic ways. But who’s up and who’s down as Nevada gets ready to vote in the primary race on Saturday? 12.11pm GMT The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on 29 February at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.As Reuters reports: Afghan, international and Taliban forces will observe the reduced violence period beginning at midnight (1930 GMT), an Afghan official and Taliban leaders said earlier. “Following lengthy negotiations between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the United States of America, both parties agreed to sign the finalised accord in the presence of international observers,” a Taliban spokesman said in a statement. 10.08am GMT Good morning. It was an eventful evening yesterday in US politics. Here’s what you might have missed: Related: US intelligence warned House members Russia is working to get Trump re-elected – reports Related: Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison despite request for new trial Related: Roger Stone is a friend of Trump – does that mean he's above the law? Related: 'This is not just Roger being Roger': Stone gets 40 months – and a scolding from the judge Related: Bloomberg debate video sparks new concern over social media disinformation Related: 'She was a warrior': Warren supporters ebullient in Las Vegas after debate Related: Donald Trump jabs at Parasite's Oscar win because film is 'from South Korea' Continue reading...

Pompeo: US has reached 'understanding' with Taliban over violence in Afghanistan

21 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

A seven-day ‘reduction of violence’ deal promised by the Taliban will begin on Friday night, leading to signing of a peace agreementThe US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said on Friday that the US had “come to an understanding with the Taliban” over violence reduction in Afghanistan as officials said an agreement would be signed at the end of the month.A seven-day “reduction of violence” deal promised by the Taliban will begin on Friday night, a senior US state department official said, without specifying the exact time. Continue reading...

Ashraf Ghani wins Afghan presidential election

Ashraf Ghani wins Afghan presidential election

18 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Incumbent gained just over 50% of September votes but Abdullah’s team reject resultsFive months after Afghans went to the polls to choose a new president, election authorities have declared the incumbent, Ashraf Ghani, the winner, but key opposition figures have already warned they will not accept the result.After a heavily contested poll, Ghani has officially scraped just over 50% of votes, meaning he avoids a second round run-off. Continue reading...

Afghanistan: airstrike kills eight after US hails breakthrough in Taliban talks

Afghanistan: airstrike kills eight after US hails breakthrough in Taliban talks

14 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Victims believed to be civilians while Trump said on Thursday there was a ‘good chance’ of agreement on reduction of US troopsAn airstrike in Afghanistan has killed at least eight people – all believed to be civilians, residents said – hours after the US announced a breakthrough in peace talks with the Taliban.Donald Trump said on Thursday there was a “good chance” of reaching an agreement with the Taliban on a reduction of US troops in Afghanistan. Related: US dropped record number of bombs on Afghanistan last year Continue reading...

US touts partial ceasefire with Taliban in push for election-year troop reduction

US touts partial ceasefire with Taliban in push for election-year troop reduction

12 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Taliban officials have reportedly offered a seven-day ‘reduction of violence’ but Afghanistan experts question long-term significanceThe US and Taliban are close to agreeing a partial week-long ceasefire in Afghanistan intended to be a precursor to broader peace talks and withdrawal of at least some US troops.Negotiators from both sides have been discussing the deal in Qatar and have said that an agreement is close. The Associated Press quoted two Taliban officials as saying they would walk away from the negotiating table if the offer of a seven-day “reduction of violence” was not accepted. Related: Afghanistan’s road to peace still full of obstacles Related: US dropped record number of bombs on Afghanistan last year Continue reading...

At least five dead in suicide attack on Kabul military academy

At least five dead in suicide attack on Kabul military academy

11 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Blast claims the lives of two civilians and three military personnel, ending three months of calm in Afghanistan capitalA suicide attack has killed at least five people in the Afghan capital of Kabul, officials said, in what was the first major assault in the city in months.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday, which comes after nearly three months of relative calm in the capital. Related: 'Insider attack' by Afghan soldier kills two US troops Continue reading...

'Insider attack' by Afghan soldier kills two US troops

'Insider attack' by Afghan soldier kills two US troops

09 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Shooter had argued with US forces before opening fire and then being killed, says Afghan officialTwo US soldiers were killed and six wounded in a so-called insider attack in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province when an Afghan soldier in uniform opened fire late on Saturday, the US military said.A member of the Nangarhar Provincial Council, Ajmal Omer, said the gunman was killed. There have been numerous attacks by Afghan national army soldiers on their allied partners over the 18 years of Afghanistan’s protracted war. Related: Two US military service members killed in Afghanistan Related: US contractor reportedly kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan Continue reading...

US contractor reportedly kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan

US contractor reportedly kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan

06 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Newsweek says 57-year-old taken last week in eastern Khost province, reportedly by Taliban-linked Haqqani networkA US citizen has been kidnapped in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province, according to media reports. Related: Taliban warns of more US dead after Trump says he cancelled peace talks Continue reading...

Guardian sport’s Suzanne Wrack honoured at AIPS Media Awards

Guardian sport’s Suzanne Wrack honoured at AIPS Media Awards

03 Feb 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

• Investigation was into abuse at Afghanistan Football Federation• President of AFF has been suspended for lifeThe Guardian’s Suzanne Wrack has been honoured by the International Sport Press Association, winning a prestigious award in Budapest for her investigation on abuse at the Afghanistan Football Federation. Related: Fifa examining claims of sexual and physical abuse on Afghanistan women’s team Related: Fifa aware of Afghanistan sexual abuse allegations two years ago, according to emails Continue reading...

Investigation begins into alleged abuse of more than 500 boys in Afghanistan

Investigation begins into alleged abuse of more than 500 boys in Afghanistan

29 Jan 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Government says schools to face more scrutiny after report that thousands may have been victims of paedophile ringAfghanistan’s attorney general has launched an investigation into the alleged abuse of more than 500 schoolboys, following the discovery of a paedophile ring in the country’s Logar province.Jamshid Rasooli, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said a committee had been appointed. “We are in the process of running a comprehensive, impartial investigation,” he said. Related: Whistleblowers on school paedophile ring in Afghanistan arrested Continue reading...

US dropped record number of bombs on Afghanistan last year

US dropped record number of bombs on Afghanistan last year

28 Jan 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Warplanes dropped 7,423 bombs and other munitions, the most since Pentagon began keeping track in 2006The US dropped more bombs on Afghanistan in 2019 than any other year since the Pentagon began keeping a tally in 2006, reflecting an apparent effort to force concessions from the Taliban at the negotiating table.According to new figures released by US central command, US warplanes dropped 7,423 bombs and other munitions on Afghanistan, a nearly eightfold increase from 2015. Related: US lies and deception spelled out in Afghanistan papers' shocking detail Related: US air wars under Trump: increasingly indiscriminate, increasingly opaque Continue reading...

US military recovers two bodies from air force plane that crashed in Afghanistan

US military recovers two bodies from air force plane that crashed in Afghanistan

28 Jan 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Only two service members where onboard surveillance planeUS denies Taliban claim that they shot down aircraftThe United States has recovered the remains of two American service members killed in the crash of an air force plane in Afghanistan. They were the only two people onboard the air force E-11A electronic surveillance aircraft when it went down on Monday in Ghazni province, a US defense official said on Tuesday. Related: US confirms jet crashed in Afghanistan – but disputes it was downed Continue reading...

Afghanistan: Taliban claim they shot down US air force plane

Afghanistan: Taliban claim they shot down US air force plane

27 Jan 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Spokesman claims high-ranking CIA officers were on plane that crashed in eastern AfghanistanA Taliban spokesman claims the group has shot down a US military aircraft over eastern Afghanistan.The US military said on Monday it was investigating reports of a crash in Taliban-controlled territory. Continue reading...

Met police help Afghans recover looted ancient masterpiece

Met police help Afghans recover looted ancient masterpiece

18 Jan 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Surkh Kotal temple sculpture was discovered on a UK auctioneer’s websiteA sculpture that was stolen from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul almost 30 years ago is to be returned to its country of origin after being seen on a British auctioneer’s website and investigated by the Metropolitan police.Carved in the 2nd century AD from a yellowish limestone, the sculpture of two bulls was excavated in the 1950s in northern Afghanistan only to be looted during the civil war in the early 1990s, following the withdrawal of Soviet troops. Where the bulls have been since then is unknown, but they were spotted by the Art Loss Register (ALR), which has an international database of stolen artworks, on the website of Timeline Auctions, and reported to the police. Continue reading...

Taliban offer to stand down fighters to restart peace talks with US

Taliban offer to stand down fighters to restart peace talks with US

16 Jan 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Proposal for short and partial ceasefire may bring Afghan officials into peace processThe Taliban have offered to stand down their fighters for several days, in an effort to restart peace negotiations with the US that were abruptly called off last year by Donald Trump.The proposal for a seven to 10-day halt in military operations was given to the US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Wednesday, AP reported. The US, which has been pushing for a ceasefire to pave the way for new talks, is still evaluating the insurgents’ offer, an American official said. Related: Afghanistan agony is a product of political self-delusion – and public indifference | Simon Tisdall Continue reading...

Midnight Traveler review – refugees' gripping escape from Afghanistan

Midnight Traveler review – refugees' gripping escape from Afghanistan

15 Jan 2020 The Guardian The Guardian

Filmed entirely on smartphones, Hassan Fazili’s powerful documentary charts his family’s perilous, gruelling trek to sanctuary in EuropeAt the end of last year, I was complaining that some documentaries are starting to feel meagre and negligible. Well, here’s something to prove me wrong. Life during wartime is the theme of this gripping cine-journal from Afghan film-maker Hassan Fazili. Midnight Traveler is his personal film about the gruelling odyssey undertaken by his family as they fled Afghanistan in 2015, making the brutal overland trek through Tajikistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary on a mission to seek refuge in the European Union. On the way, they face threats of rape and violence, theft and finally abandonment from their unscrupulous smugglers – and racist attacks in Bulgaria. (Hungary, incidentally, is where their unfinished journey ends, and Fazili leaves it up to the audience to ponder just what kind of a reception refugees can expect in that country.)He avowedly shot this whole feature on smartphones – keeping them charged must have been one of his lesser nightmares – and the US-based film-maker and Persian speaker Emelie Mahdahvian edited, produced and arguably co-created this documentary. The result is an unexpectedly great-looking film, virtually a demo reel for all indie film-makers, certainly considering it was just shot on phones, even bearing in mind the post-production work. Continue reading...