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Finland pulls out two thirds of its troops in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2020)

Finland has decided to reduce the number of Finnish soldiers in Afghanistan and will immediately withdraw two thirds of its troops, the Finnish Defence Forces said in a press release.

Currently Finland has 60 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of NATO-led Resolute Support’s train, advise and assist mission.

“The number of Finnish soldiers in the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan will decrease from about 60 to 20,” the Finnish Defence Forces statement read.

According to Finland’s defence forces, the “number of Finnish soldiers involved will be reduced and the Finnish security team will return home, as the operation has been reorganised and certain tasks have ended. The changes will take effect immediately.”

This comes after Finland’s Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen said in an interview in early October that the group of 60 Finnish soldiers could be repatriated sometime in 2021, with Finland’s involvement in the operation likely to end in the spring.

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Finance Ministry’s HR director arrested 

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2021)

The Human Resource Director of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) Ghulam Mullakhel has been arrested over misuse of authority, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) confirmed on Sunday.

Mullakhel was arrested jointly by police and the AGO on Saturday night, the AGO said.

The AGO stated although Mullakhel had recently been fired, he continued to work illegally and appointed several individuals during this period.

The AGO added that the MoF official’s case is under investigation.

The Ministry of Finance confirmed the arrest of MullaKhel but did not provide further details.

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Norway concerned as death toll rises to 29 from COVID vaccine 

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2021)
Norway has raised concerns about the safety of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine after reporting that 29 Norwegians died after receiving the inoculation. 
 
According to Bloomberg, it’s unclear exactly when the deaths occurred, but Norway has given at least one dose to about 42,000 people and focused on those considered most at risk if they contract the virus, including the elderly.
 
Until Friday, the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech SE was the only one available in Norway, and “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine,” the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in a written response to Bloomberg on Saturday.
 
“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency told Bloomberg.
 
All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. 
 
“Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”
 
Bloomberg states that official reports of allergic reactions have been rare as governments rush to roll out vaccines to try to contain the global pandemic. However, US authorities reported 21 cases of severe allergic reactions from December 14 to 23 after administration of about 1.9 million initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine. 
 
The first Europe-wide safety report on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is due to be published at the end of January.
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Two female judges killed in targeted attack in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2021)

Two female judges were killed and three others including a driver and a civilian were wounded in an attack by unknown gunmen in Kabul city on Sunday morning, police confirmed.

According to police three gunmen attacked the convoy of vehicles carrying Supreme Court employees in the Qala-e-Fathullah area of PD10 in Kabul city this morning.

Police did not provide further details about the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

This comes as targeted attacks have sharply increased in Afghanistan amid peace talks in Doha.

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