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Erdogan visits Azerbaijan for Karabakh victory parade

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(Last Updated On: December 10, 2020)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Azerbaijan Thursday to join in celebrations to mark the anniversary of the nation’s victory against Armenia following their six-week war over control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

Azerbaijan’s army paraded military hardware and weapons seized from Armenia through the capital Baku ahead of Erdogan’s arrival to rehearse for a large-scale victory parade on Thursday.

France24 reported the Turkish leader’s visit to Azerbaijan was an opportunity to celebrate together the “glorious victory” against Armenia for control of the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region, Erdogan’s office said.

Erdogan was scheduled to hold talks with Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev and preside over the military showcasing that is the culmination of nationwide festivities for the victory, France24 reported.

The Turkish president’s visit came weeks after Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a deal with Russia to end clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh after a string of Azerbaijani victories in its fight to retake the disputed region.

Azerbaijan’s historic win was an important geopolitical coup for Erdogan who has cemented Turkey’s leading role as a powerbroker in the ex-Soviet Caucasus region.

Turkey backed Azerbaijan during the six weeks of fighting that erupted in late September and left more than 5,000 people dead and Ankara was accused of sending mercenaries from Syria to bolster Baku’s army, but denied the charge.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International on Thursday said in a statement that both Azerbaijani and Armenian forces committed war crimes during the recent fighting.

According to Amnesty International videos showing the decapitation of captives and the desecration of corpses had been analyzed and verified.

Amnesty International analysed 22 videos that depict extrajudicial executions, the mistreatment of prisoners of war and other captives, and desecration of the dead bodies of enemy soldiers.

Two videos show extrajudicial executions by decapitation by Azerbaijani military members, while another video shows the cutting of an Azerbaijani border guard’s throat that led to his death, the statement read.

“During the recent Nagorno-Karabakh fighting, members of the military on both sides have behaved horrendously, displaying a complete disregard for the rules of war,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

“The depravity and lack of humanity captured in these videos shows the deliberate intention to cause ultimate harm and humiliation to victims, in clear violation of international humanitarian law.

“Both Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities must immediately conduct independent, impartial investigations and identify all those responsible. The perpetrators – as well as any commanding officers who ordered, allowed or condoned these crimes – must be brought to justice,” he said.

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Germany will not abandon Afghan staff, minister says

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(Last Updated On: April 19, 2021)

Germany will not let down its Afghan staff as the international military mission in the country, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer pledged on Sunday.

“I feel it is Germany’s sincere duty to not leave these people without protection now that we will permanently withdraw,” the defence ministry in Berlin said on Twitter, quoting extracts from an interview with German news agency DPA.

U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO on Wednesday announced that they would withdraw the roughly 10,000 foreign troops still in Afghanistan by Sept. 11. Germany is the second-largest contingent with about 1,100 troops.

The withdrawals have raised concerns that Afghanistan could erupt into full-scale civil war, providing al Qaeda space in which to rebuild and plan new attacks on U.S. and other targets.

The German forces currently employ about 300 Afghans as interpreters and in other jobs, according to the defence ministry in Berlin.

Since 2013 Germany has admitted nearly 800 Afghans at risk in their own country after working for the foreign military, as well as about 2,500 family members.

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Two policemen killed in Taliban group attack in Baghlan

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(Last Updated On: April 19, 2021)

At least two policemen were killed and six others were wounded in a Taliban group attack in Baghlan province on Sunday night, police said Monday.

Police said the Taliban attacked Fabreka Qand Township in the Baghlan-e-Markazi district.

According to them, at least six Taliban insurgents were also killed and eight more were wounded in the ensuing clash between the insurgents and Afghan security forces.

“Afghan forces responded strongly to the Taliban’s attacks and pushed them back,” said Jawed Basharat, spokesman for Baghlan police.

Sayed Kamal Wardak, district governor for Baghlan Markazi district told Ariana News that the clash started on Sunday night at around midnight and lasted until 5am on Monday.

“At least one police Humvee burnt out and another one was seized by the Taliban,” said Wardak.

Police chief Sayed Ashraf Sadat along with other reinforcements are in the area and said the Taliban suffered heavy casualties but he did not provide further details.

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Ghani says Taliban no longer has an ‘excuse’ to continue the war

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(Last Updated On: April 19, 2021)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday rejected any military parallels with the US war in Vietnam and dismissed concerns that his country would collapse after American forces are withdrawn.

In an interview with CNN, Ghani said it was time Afghanistan regained its sovereignty after 20 years of American and international presence.

“In the past two years, Afghan defence and security forces have been carrying out over 90 per cent of the operations,” he said.

Ghani said the US announcement of troop withdrawal has been a game changer but it’s now time the Taliban and Pakistan make a choice.

“Will they opt for peace or chaos?” he asked.

Ghani said the Taliban no longer has an excuse to carry on the war now that the international forces are withdrawing and they have no religious justification for the war. He said a political settlement is a must but that the ball is “clearly” in the Taliban’s court.

According to him he has never stood in the way of peace but was used as the Trump administration’s scapegoat. He said he was accused of being an “obstacle in the way of peace”.

This was not the case he said, adding that he was clear about wanting the Trump team to deal directly with the Afghan government and not with the Taliban on the troop withdrawal issue last year.

On what the Taliban might do in future, Ghani said he would like the group to “seize the new context” and reach a political settlement where a government of peace ending in an election can be formed.

He also said that Pakistan’s leaders have all “verbally” said they do not want the Taliban to rule, and that they would like to see a peaceful, stable, democratic government in Afghanistan. He added however that Afghanistan is “key to their prosperity”.

According to him, Pakistan has two choices – share in the benefits of a peaceful Afghanistan or “opt for chaos”. He said Pakistan would be the country most affected by a civil war in Afghanistan.

Ghani also stated that Pakistan could become an anchor for regional stability. On China, he said he did not believe Beijing would get “involved” in regional conflict and stated that Afghanistan does not want “a replacement” for US troops once they have withdrawn.

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