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At least 17 killed in Philippines troop plane crash

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(Last Updated On: July 4, 2021)

At least 17 people were killed when a Philippines Air Force plane carrying troops crashed on landing in the south of the country and broke up in flames on Sunday, the country’s worst military air disaster in nearly 30 years.

The Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft crashed at Patikul in Sulu province, in the far south of the archipelago nation where the army has been fighting a long war against Islamist militants from the Abu Sayyaf and other factions.

Seventeen bodies had been recovered and 40 injured had been rescued so far, Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement. Most of the 92 people aboard were troops flying from Laguindingan Airport, some 460 km (290 miles) to the northeast.

“Rescue and recovery is ongoing,” Lorenzana said.

Pictures from the scene showed flames and smoke pouring from wreckage strewn among trees as men in combat uniform milled around. A large column of black smoke rose from the coconut palms into the blue sky.

Military chief Cirilito Sobejana said the plane had “missed the runway trying to regain power.”

A military spokesman, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, said there was no indication of any attack on the plane, but that a crash investigation had not begun and efforts were focussed on rescue and treatment.

Sobejana said in a message to Reuters that the plane had crashed a few kilometers (miles) from Jolo airport at 11:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) and had been carrying troops.

“We are currently attending to the survivors who were immediately brought to the 11th Infantry Division station hospital in Busbus, Jolo, Sulu,” he said.

The island is about 950 km (600 miles) south of the capital, Manila.

The Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft, registration 5125, had only arrived in the Philippines recently.

It was one of two aircraft granted by the U.S. government through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, according to a government website announcement in January. It quoted an air force spokesman as saying the aircraft would provide enhanced capability for heavy airlift missions.

The website C-130.net said the plane that crashed had first flown in 1988. The model is a workhorse for armed forces around the world.

The Philippines armed forces have had a patchy air safety record. Last month a Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission, killing six people.

A Philippines Air Force C-130 crash in 1993 killed 30 people. A 2008 crash by the civilian variant of the Lockheed plane flown by the Philippines Air Force killed 11 people, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

In the country’s worst plane crash, an Air Philippines Boeing 737 crashed in 2000, killing 131 people.

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IEA faces serious challenges that need to be addressed: Mullah Yaqoob

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, acting defense minister, on Wednesday said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is facing serious challenges which need to be addressed.

Addressing an event at the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan 400 bed Military hospital in Kabul, Mullah Yaqoob said Afghans have suffered for 40 years.

“These serious problems have been ongoing for many years. There are problems. There is chaos, everything is not good,” said Mullah Yaqoob.

In his first appearance before the media, he also called on businessmen to invest in the country’s health sector.

“Traders should invest in the health sector, so Afghans don’t have to go to other countries for treatment,” he added.

The acting minster of public health meanwhile, called on the world to continue providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

“In the health sector, deep reforms should be brought,” said Qallandar Abad, acting minster of public health.

Some doctors meanwhile called on the IEA to take the needs of health workers into consideration.

“We urge the minister of public health to not exclude our military doctors from their lists to receive money for salaries and medical equipment,” said Tahir Ahrar, a military commander.

This comes amid serious warnings by health officials that the country’s health sector is on the verge of collapse.

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Iran urges support for Afghanistan to ward off threat of terrorism

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday evening after the meeting on Afghanistan that humanitarian and economic support should be provided to Afghanistan so that insurgent groups do not use the current crisis to recruit soldiers.

Addressing a press conference after the foreign minister’s meeting on Afghanistan in Tehran, Abdollahian said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is a reality and they are running the interim government and should be encouraged to work towards the establishment of an inclusive government.

Abdollahian said delegates attending the meeting insisted that Afghanistan’s central bank assets be released for the sake of the country’s economy.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres, meanwhile told delegates he was “deeply concerned” about human rights abuses and attacks in Afghanistan since the IEA took control.

In a pre-recorded video message, the UN Secretary-General said that Afghanistan was facing a growing humanitarian crisis that needed immediate action.

Guterres recalled the UN’s engagement with the IEA to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

Moscow meanwhile has consistently advocated for the creation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan and has no plans to impose its recommendations on the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a video address.

“Russia is not inclined to impose its advice or recommendations on anyone. Moreover, history itself offers effective ways to solve problems. It’s vital to take the interests of the country’s major ethnic and political forces into account to the fullest extent possible,” he said.

“This is why we have been firmly and consistently supporting the creation of a truly inclusive Afghan government,” he stated.

“The people need to be sure that their rights and legitimate aspirations will be implemented through action, not just words, and will also be protected by law, certainly based on respect for local traditions and customs,” Lavrov explained.

On the other hand, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that IEA officials want efficient engagement with the international community.

The people of Afghanistan are facing a severe economic situation, and their money should be released by other countries, he added.

In addition, Qureshi stressed that there must be a joint fight against terrorism at the regional level because the activities of terrorist groups are a threat to the region.

Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that IEA officials are eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development.

In an address delivered by video link to conference participants, Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban (IEA) are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang said in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

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IEA eager for dialogue with the world: China’s Wang Yi

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials are eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

In an address delivered by video link to a conference in Iran on Afghanistan, Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban (IEA) are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang said in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

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