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‘Historic Day for Our People’ – Afghan Says as Afghanistan Earns First Test Victory

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(Last Updated On: March 18, 2019)

Asghar Afghan, the Afghanistan captain, detailed just how important and joyous their seven-wicket triumph over Ireland was in the one-off Test in Dehradun on Monday, 18 March.

It was their maiden Test victory, in just their second ever Test – the latest feat by a team that’s made a habit of it. Apart from Australia, who won in their maiden Test, only England and Pakistan have secured a Test win within two matches.

Just how much the victory meant was summed up by Afghan. “Happy for today, it’s a very historic day for Afghanistan, for Afghanistan people, for our team, for our cricket board. We are very happy,” he said.

“When [we play] a lot of Test matches, we mature. Nowadays, we’re playing a lot in Afghanistan first-class cricket. Before, it was three-day, two-day cricket. Now we’re playing first-class cricket.

“It was our dream to play Test cricket. It was just our second Test and we won the game. I’ll give a lot of credit to our bowlers, especially Rashid Khan, Waqar (Salamkheil), Yamin (Ahmadzai), and (Mohammad) Nabi. They bowled very well, on a wicket that was good for batting.”

Apart from the bowling quartet, one of Afghanistan’s stars was Rahmat Shah. He put behind poor form in the ODIs – he scored just one half-century in five outings – to score two in as many innings in Test whites.

He was unfortunate to miss out on a century by two runs in the first innings, and having done the hard work in the second, scoring a 122-ball 76, he was dismissed with just three runs required to seal victory.

However, during the course of his knock he displayed good temperament for Tests, and that is something that bodes well for Afghanistan. “I’d like to congratulate the country for this win,” he said after winning the Player of the Match award.

“There was a difference in the pitches – the ODI wickets were suitable for spin, this was better for batting. I stayed at the wicket, that was important. We played session by session, and tried to win the match, but I’d like to give credit to the bowlers, they bowled really well.”

As for Ireland, there were some smiles, despite being beaten within four days in their second ever Test. Their captain, William Porterfield, reminded everyone that quite a few of their players were playing only their second Test ever while the rest of the team – five players, to be precise – were making their debuts.

Despite that, they troubled Afghanistan considerably, and had they been able to do better with the bat in the first innings, they might yet have been able to change the eventual result.

“It’s obviously the first innings that went wrong for us,” he said at the post-match presentation. “It was big toss to win. Any multi-day game, the first innings you got to capitalise on,” he said.

“If you had done that, batted remotely like we batted in the second innings, it could have been a completely different game. Then you’re talking about potentially chasing upwards of 280 to 300, which could have been a completely different story.”

But that being said, Porterfield wasn’t making excuses. Afghanistan bossed them with both bat and ball in the crucial stages of the match, and he gave credit where it was due. “Take nothing away from Afghanistan,” he said. “They played very well throughout the whole game, and came out deserved winners.

“You want the lads to kick on and make big contributions. We didn’t do that in the first innings. We’re obviously looking to come back into the game from that. Once Afghanistan got past us, they never really let us [back].”

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Pakistan’s customs agent says exports to Afghanistan dwindle

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Hundreds of trucks lined the winding, mountainous road leading to Torkhum, the Pakistan-Afghan border crossing on Thursday.

Pakistani officials say that is because exports to Afghanistan have dwindled in the days after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) take over.

But some truck drivers were upbeat because they said the vegetable and fruit season in Afghanistan had helped increase exports of these items from the war-ravaged country.

Another Pakistani official at another Pakistan-Afghan border Chaman said trade had picked up because the IEA government had reduced taxes, and also put an end to bribes that traders and truck drivers had to pay to cross the border.

Afghan new government bolstered its economic team last week, naming a commerce minister and two deputies as the group tries to revive a financial system in shock from the abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Underlining the economic pressures building on Afghanistan’s new government, prices for staples like flour, fuel, and rice have risen and long queues are still forming outside banks as they strictly ration withdrawals.

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Five climbers die in snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Five climbers died after they got caught in a sudden snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, officials said.

The other 14 members of the party were rescued on the peak in the Caucasus Mountains in high winds and low visibility amid temperatures of minus -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the regional emergency ministry said.

The group of Russian climbers sent out a mayday call just after 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, the ministry added. Eleven of the survivors were taken to hospital.

One woman fell ill and died in the arms of one of the guides, Denis Alimov, who helped organise the climb, told TASS news agency.

Another climber broke his leg as he was coming down and the party decided to split into three groups depending on who could go fastest, Alimov told TASS.

“As they descended, two more people died in one of the groups. But the decision to split up was the right one, otherwise there might have been more casualties.”

Guides with the group suffered frostbite and other injuries, Alimov was quoted as saying.

Mount Elbrus, which rises to 5,642 metres (18,510 feet) just north of the border with Georgia, is infamous for sudden changes in weather and climbing conditions.

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IEA’s defence minister orders crackdown on abuses

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s acting new defence minister has issued a rebuke over misconduct by some commanders and fighters following the IEA’s victory over the Western-backed government in Afghanistan last month, saying abuses would not be tolerated, Reuters reported.

According to the report Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob said in an audio message that some “miscreants and notorious former soldiers” had been allowed to join Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses.

“We direct you keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you,” he stated. “We don’t want such people in our ranks.”

The message from one of the IEA’s most senior ministers underlines the problems Afghanistan’s new rulers have sometimes had in controlling fighting forces as they transition from an insurgency to a peacetime administration, the report said.

Some Kabul residents have complained of abusive treatment at the hands of IEA forces who have appeared on the streets of the capital, often from other regions and unused to big cities.

There have also been reports of reprisals against members of the former government and military or civil society activists, despite promises of an amnesty by the IEA.

Yaqoob said there had been isolated reports of unauthorized executions, and he repeated that such actions would not be tolerated.

“As you all are aware, under the general amnesty announced in Afghanistan, no mujahid has the right to take revenge on anyone,” he said.

Reuters said that it was not clear precisely which incidents he was referring to, nor what prompted the message, which was published on IEA Twitter accounts and widely shared on social media.

There have been reports of tensions within the IEA between hardline battlefield commanders and political leaders more willing to seek compromise with governments outside Afghanistan, report said

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