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Iranian RCS ready to assist flood-affected people in Parwan

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(Last Updated On: August 28, 2020)

Iranian Red Crescent Society said that it is ready to provide relief assistance to flood-affected people in northern Parwan province.

Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) Karim Hemmati via a phone call with Deputy Afghan Red Crescent Society Mirwais Akram said that the organization is ready to offer aid “flood-stricken people in Afghanistan,” Fars News reported.

Meanwhile, Mirwais Akram has appreciated IRCS’ readiness and added that the scale of damages and emergency requirements will be estimated soon, based on which, type of the needed assistance would be announced to Iran, the report said.

It comes as, on early Wednesday, devastating flash floods swept through Parwan’s provincial capital Charikar in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

More than 100 people have died and more than 150 were injured in the incident.

According to the reports, around 300 residential areas have also been ruined and people still search for their belongings under the rubbles.

Meanwhile, close to 160 people have died and nearly 200 others injured in flash floods in Parwan, Kabul, Kapisa, Maidan Wardak, Panjshir, Nangarhar, Logar, Paktia, Paktika, Nuristan, Laghman and Khost provinces.

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Pashtun movement protests against border-crossing shooting

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2020)

The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) on Monday held a demonstration in protest against the shooting incident on Sunday in Chaman-Spin Boldak on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

According to Pakistan media reports, Pakistan security forces opened fire on unarmed Pashtuns near the border gate area after a clash between Pashtun traders and border officials broke out.

The protest Monday was held in front of the Balochistan provincial assembly in Quetta.

“PTM is protesting in front of the provincial assembly in Quetta against state atrocities in Chaman. This is not the first time the Pakistan Frontier Corps (FC) has killed civilians in Chaman. We demand the killers to be arrested and prosecuted. We demand justice,” PTM leader Mohsin Dawar tweeted.

Gilgit-Baltistan activist Senge Hasnan Sering also condemned the incident and said: “Pakistan rulers who shed crocodile tears over Kashmir use Baloch and Pashtun for target practice.”

“Pakistani soldiers shot and killed these two children near Pak-Afghan border in Chaman, Balochistan. Pashtun genocide is real,” he said in a tweet adding “why does UNHCR have different standards for Pashtuns/Baloch?”

According to ANI news outlet, one man was killed and six others, including two children, were wounded in the incident.

ANI stated an argument broke out between border officials and Pashtun traders, who wanted to cross the border on foot with their goods were stopped from doing so.

Dawn news reported the traders then gathered at the border gate and called for the crossing to be opened. When border officials refused to do so, the traders started pelting the border guards with stones and set fire to tyres near the gate.

ANI reported the situation turned violent when a protesting trader opened fire on security personnel who then returned fire.

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Australia-China relations hit new low over fake Afghanistan photo

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2020)

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for social media platform Twitter to take down a doctored picture of an Australian soldier purportedly slitting the throat of an Afghan child.

The photo was posted on Sunday by a senior Chinese official and has since sparked an international incident while the official, Lijian Zhao, has since pinned the inflammatory post to the top of his official Twitter account.

Retaliating to Morrison’s request, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday Australia should be ashamed of its war crimes in Afghanistan.

Beijing’s The Morning Star reported Tuesday that China has asked Australia to apologize to the Afghan people for the alleged war crimes their troops committed.

According to The Morning Star, Beijing also scorned Australia’s demand for an apology for the image posted by Lijian Zhao, who is one of China’s Foreign Ministry spokesmen.

“Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts and call for holding them accountable,” Lijian Zhao wrote above the picture that has since sparked an international incident.

He was commenting on an Australian war crimes report, which found Australian troops unlawfully killed 39 Afghan prisoners, farmers and civilians.

On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Australia should “reflect deeply, bring the perpetrators to justice … and solemnly promise they will never commit such crimes again.”

Lijian Zhao has meanwhile been slinging insults at Australia all year and has in the process been making a name for himself.

Until recently, Zhao was a diplomat in the US and Pakistan and according to the UK’s Daily Mail has become known for his bombastic attitude, which won him a promotion to deputy director of Beijing’s ‘Information Department’.

For the past few months he has specifically focused on Australia, especially as relations between the two countries are at an all time low.

The Daily Mail reports that Zhao has slammed Australia in recent months for allegedly spreading misinformation and accused its leaders of being ‘hysterical’ about Chinese spying.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern came to Australia’s defense and chided Beijing for the post.

Calling the tweet “unfactual,” Ardern told reporters on Tuesday that her administration had contacted Beijing “directly” to raise objections over the controversial image, shared on Sunday by Zhao Lijan.

“There is an exchange that’s happening between Australia and China, it will of course tap into spaces where, as a general principle, we may have concerns and will raise those,” the PM said.

In this case, an image has been used that is not factually correct, that is not a genuine image. So we have raised that directly with Chinese authorities, she said.

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Australian soldier drinks beer from dead Taliban fighter’s prosthetic leg

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2020)

A photograph obtained by The Guardian shows a senior Australian special forces soldier drinking beer out of the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban fighter at an unauthorised bar on a base in Uruzgan province, in Afghanistan, in 2009.

The picture of the beer swilling soldier comes amid a growing scandal following the release of a report recently that Australia’s special forces were allegedly responsible for the unlawful death of 39 Afghans.

A number of photographs obtained by the Guardian show the senior soldier drinking from the leg in an unofficial bar known as the Fat Lady’s Arms, which was set up inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province, in 2009, The Guardian reported.

Another photo appears to show two soldiers performing a dance with the leg.

The photograph is the first to be published that confirms previous reports of the practice of using the leg as a drinking vessel, The Guardian reported.

According to the report, some soldiers have said the practice was widely tolerated by officers at high levels and even involved some of them – despite the limb potentially being a war trophy, which Australians soldiers were forbidden from taking from the battlefield.

The Guardian said the leg is believed to have belonged to a suspected Taliban fighter killed during a special forces raid on two compounds and a tunnel complex in Uruzgan in April 2009.

The news outlet stated that the leg was eventually mounted on a wooden plaque under the heading Das Boot, alongside an Iron Cross – a military decoration used in Nazi Germany. The leg travelled with the squadron at all times, one former trooper told the Guardian.

“Wherever the Fat Lady’s Arms was set up, then that’s where the leg was kept and used occasionally for drinking out of,” he said.

The soldier also said that senior commanders would occasionally visit the bar and would have seen the leg and potentially the practice of drinking from it.

The Guardian reported that rumours that pictures exist of high-ranking officers drinking from the leg have long been circulating in the Australian special forces community and Australian media have also reported about the leg’s existence.

The Guardian stated meanwhile that the war crimes report, released recently, did not mention whether any soldiers were under investigation for taking trophies but did mention the Fat Lady’s Arms as being an example of how ethical leadership was compromised.

The report said of the unauthorised bar that this involved “the toleration, acceptance and participation in a widespread disregard for behavioural norms: such as drinking on operations, the Fat Lady’s Arms, and lax standards of dress, personal hygiene and behaviour – and not only on operations – which would not have been tolerated elsewhere in Army”.

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