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Mujeeb Ur Rahman tests positive for Covid-19

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2020)

Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman has been tested positive for Covid-19.

Rahman is set to play for the Australian cricket team Brisbane Heat in the upcoming Big Bash League (BBL).

In a statement released on Friday, the Brisbane Heat said that Rahman was tested positive during hotel quarantine in Queensland.

“The Afghanistan player traveled from his home of Kabul last week but reported symptoms during his mandatory quarantine period this week,” the statement said.

According to the statement, Rahman will remain in the care of the Queensland Health Department “until he is cleared to link with the Heat for BBL|10.”

Meanwhile, Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson stated that the welfare of Mujeeb was of the highest concern for the organization and the Brisbane Heat.

“We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure the integrity of the competition and well-being of the player are suitably addressed. He is a young man far from home and we will ensure he is looked after,’’ he pointed out.

Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s Head of Big Bash Leagues, stated: “The health and safety of our players, staff and the wider community is our top priority this season. Both Mujeeb and the Brisbane Heat have our full support and we will ensure all Queensland Government protocols continue to be followed as he recovers.”

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Taliban capture key dam in Kandahar province

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

The Taliban has captured Afghanistan’s second-biggest dam after months of fierce fighting in its former bastion of Kandahar, the group and officials said, as the US forces have begun the withdrawal of its troops from the country after 20 years, AFP reported.

The Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers via a network of canals as well as drinking water for the provincial capital, was now under Taliban control, local officials told AFP news agency on Thursday.

A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf also confirmed this and said: “We have seized the Dahla Dam in Arghandab.”

Haji Gulbuddin, governor of an adjacent district, confirmed the dam “is now in the control of the Taliban”, AFP reported.

“Our security forces … asked for reinforcements but they failed to get it,” he said.

Kandahar water department chief Tooryalay Mahboobi told AFP the Taliban recently warned Dahla employees not to go to work.

Last month the armed fighters blew up a bridge that connected the dam to adjacent districts, AFP reported.

Dahla was built by the US nearly 70 years ago to provide water for irrigating land in about seven districts of Kandahar.

In 2019, the Asian Development Bank approved a grant of nearly $350m to be used partly to expand the reservoir-style project.

The surrounding district has seen intense fighting in the past six months, but officials announced in April that the area had been cleared.

Before retreating, the Taliban planted explosives across the area – including in residential complexes – officials said.

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China says its rocket debris unlikely to cause any harm

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

Most debris from a Chinese rocket will be burned up on reentry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

Debris from the Long March 5B that sent part of a planned space station into orbit last week is likely to fall in international waters, China’s Global Times reported on Wednesday, amid concerns it could cause damage on re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

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Pentagon chief says removal of all contractors from Afghanistan under way

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday the process of removing all contractors from Afghanistan working with the United States was under way as part of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of forces from the country.

The remarks are the clearest indication yet that Biden’s April order to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 extended to U.S.-funded contractors.

Asked whether the Pentagon had issued orders to withdraw not just American troops but also contractors, Austin said: “We’re going to responsibly retrograde all of our capabilities that we are responsible for and the contractors fall in that realm as well.”

Speaking with reporters, Austin said the contractors could, however, renegotiate their contracts in the future.

As of April, there were nearly 17,000 Pentagon contractors, including about 6,150 Americans, 4,300 Afghans and 6,400 from other countries.

The departure of thousands of contractors, especially those serving the Afghan security forces, has raised concerns among some U.S. officials about the ability of the Afghan government and military to sustain critical functions.

‘NOT A FOREGONE CONCLUSION’

Austin said the drawdown was going according to plan so far.

But Afghan security forces are locked in daily combat with the Taliban, which has waged war to overthrow the foreign-backed government since it was ousted from power in Kabul in 2001.

In just two days, the Taliban captured a second district in the northern province of Baghlan on Thursday.

The Afghan government says the Taliban have killed and wounded more than 50 troops in attacks in at least 26 provinces during the last 24 hours, while its forces killed dozens of Taliban over the same period.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said there had been sustained levels of violent attacks against Afghan security forces but none against U.S. and coalition forces since May 1.

Milley, in the same news conference, said it was too early to speculate on how Afghanistan would turn out after the withdrawal of U.S. forces given that Afghanistan had a significantly sized military and police force and the Afghan government was still cohesive.

“It is not a foregone conclusion, in my professional military estimate, that the Taliban automatically win and Kabul falls or any of those dire predictions,” Milley said.

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