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Afghans Celebrate ‘April Fool’ by Killing too Many People

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(Last Updated On: April 2, 2017)

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Too many Facebook users across Afghanistan took on their accounts to share some of the most shocking tales and news, ranging from killing high-profile officials to some of their closest friends.

It’s a way most Afghans back in the country celebrate “April fool”, the day when you tell a lie just for fun.

One Facebook user has written on his account like,” Just heard 40 of my friends passed away.”

Apart from killing their friends on social Medias, a remarkable number of Afghan internet-friendly users had fantasy trips around U.S. and Europe today. Like one user wrote on his Facebook,” trip to Berlin; Hope to make back to Afghanistan one day. Bye Kabul!”

For those who are familiar with the nature of April fool, today nothing is serious, or acceptable.

April fool, at the same time, provides a rare chance for some lovers in Afghanistan to express their feelings for their beloved ones.

Like this user who wrote,” I don’t know anything about [April] fool, but swear to God, I love you!”

For some people whom marrying or motherhood is a sweat and hard –to- gain dream, today is the opportunity to share their desires indirectly. Like this one,”Just noticed gonna be mom soon!”

But, here in Afghanistan even a boy can become a mother only in April fool day. As this face book user wrote in bold font that he is “pregnant”. But if you follow his post to the end, you can find out the April fool hash tag.

Even, Afghan net users didn’t spared president Ghani by mocking some of his public messages across the Kabul city, reading as he is “fully determined to rebuild Afghanistan by the force of its youths.”

However, it has been many years that Afghans do somehow commemorate the day by sharing funny and shocking lies, still there are some people who condemn the day as a harsh culture.

By Bais Hayat & Qiam Noori

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Trump expects only ‘4,000 to 5,000’ troops in Afghanistan by November

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

US President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast on Monday night that by November election day troop levels in Afghanistan will be down to between 4,000 and 5,000.

Trump told Axios he will reduce American troop levels in Afghanistan down to about 4,000 “very soon”. 

He said: “We are largely out of Afghanistan”. 

“We’ll be down in a very short period of time to 8,000, then we’re going to be down to 4,000, we’re negotiating right now”, he said adding that the US had “been there now for 19 years and we will be getting out.”

Refusing to give a date as to when the additional drawdown of troops would be done, he was then asked how many US troops would still be in Afghanistan on election day in November.

Trump said “anywhere between four and five thousand.”

Questioned about long-standing rumors of Russia supplying the Taliban with weapons, Trump said he had “heard that but again it’s never reached my desk”. 

He also said “Russia doesn’t want anything to do with Afghanistan” and stated the old Soviet Union had gone bankrupt because of its involvement in Afghanistan. 

“The last thing that Russia wants to do is to get too much involved in Afghanistan. They tried that once and it didn’t work out too well,” he said. 

This comes after reports emerged in June of Russia offering bounty payments to the Taliban to kill US troops. 

Last month the top US general overseeing operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan told CNN that the intelligence concerning Russian operatives offering bounties to the Taliban was “very worrisome” but that the information wasn’t solid enough to hold up in a court of law.

General Frank McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, also said he was not convinced that the Russian bounty program was directly responsible for the deaths of US personnel.

But former US officials have said whether or not bounties were paid, Moscow has been a thorn in Washington’s side for years with regards to Afghanistan. 

Referring to the issue of supplying weapons to the Taliban, the then-defense secretary James Mattis said in 2017: “We’re going to have to confront Russia.”

General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan from 2016 to 2018, also accused Russia of “arming belligerents” in 2017 and in 2018 said, “Clearly, they are acting to undermine our interests.”

Other former officials have in the past told NBC News that although Russia has professed support for planned peace negotiations, Moscow also cultivated ties and provided aid to the Taliban.

Douglas London, a former CIA official who worked on Afghanistan matters before he retired in late 2018, told NBC that US officials closely tracked Russian support to the Taliban. 

He also said that reports of the Russians paying the Taliban to “incentivize” American deaths is “not inconsistent with our understanding of Moscow’s efforts to be a disruptive force and inflict harm on our people and interests.”

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Pompeo, Taliban negotiator discuss Afghan peace process

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a video meeting on Monday night with the Taliban’s chief negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund to discuss the Afghan peace process. 

Confirming the meeting on Twitter, a Taliban spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen said: “Both sides talked about the inception of intra-Afghan negotiations …” 

He said the release of the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners was essential in order to start intra-Afghan negotiations.

“The Secretary of State also welcomed announcement of ceasefire by the Islamic Emirate on the eve of the current Eid,” he said. 

The US’s State Department has not yet responded to the Taliban’s announcement nor has a readout of Pompeo’s conversation been issued. 

The release of the final 400 prisoners has however so far been a major stumbling block in starting peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. 

Monday night’s meeting between the two came just days before Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s expected Loya Jirga to discuss the fate of these prisoners. 

The Loya Jirga, which is a grand council made up of a cross-sector of the population, will convene on Friday in Kabul. 

A February agreement signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha called for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 government employees being held captive by the Taliban. 

So far the Taliban has released about 1,000 detainees and the Afghan government has freed over 4,500 prisoners. 

The remaining 400 however are classified as dangerous and concerns have been raised over them being released. 

Monday night’s call is the second in four weeks between Pompeo and  Akhund.

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Air Arabia Abu Dhabi launches new service to Kabul and Dhaka

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2020)

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has announced the introduction of two new destinations — Kabul in Afghanistan and Dhaka in Bangladesh – with direct flights from Abu Dhabi commencing on August 7.

Initially there will be three flights a week from Abu Dhabi to Kabul, on a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

 

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi was formed following an agreement by Etihad Airways and Air Arabia to establish Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost carrier that follows the business model of Air Arabia and complements the services of Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi thereby catering to the growing low-cost travel market segment in the region.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi started its operations in July 2020 with flights to Alexandria and Sohag in Egypt from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

 

 

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