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NASA postpones astronaut launch due to bad weather

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(Last Updated On: May 28, 2020)

NASA aborted its planned mission – the first crewed launch from American soil to the International Space Station – on Wednesday due to bad weather conditions.

The organization said in a tweet that the launch was scrubbed due to weather. “There were no issues with the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft.”

The mission was called off just 17 minutes before the launch.

“Today’s Launch America attempt was an instantaneous launch window. Due to orbital mechanics, we need to make sure that at the time we launch, we are able to reach the Space Station on time and accurately. Because of this, we could not wait for clear weather today,” NASA said.

NASA said that it would resume an attempt to launch the Demo-2 mission at around 3:22 local time on Saturday, May 30. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

“A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program,” NASA said in a statement.

NASA added that the mission will be SpaceX’s – a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company – final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations.

“The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station,” the statement said. 

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Ghani promotes Dostum to marshal

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani in a decree promoted former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum to the rank of marshal.

Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, a spokesman for former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, confirmed to Ariana News.

The presidential decree – dated June 10 – shows Dostum’s promotion to marshal, the highest official rank within the Afghan Army Forces.

According to the decree, president Ghani has approved Dostum’s promotion in accordance with Article 64 and Item 19 of the Afghanistan Constitution.

The promotion was a part of the political agreement inked between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the Head of High Council for National Reconciliation.

According to the agreement, Dostum will receive membership in the High Council of State and the National Security Council of Afghanistan.

Dostum is the third person in the history of Afghanistan to receive the title of Marshall after Shah Wali Khan and Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

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Jamiat-e-Islami party picks new chairman, remove Salahuddin Rabbani

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

At least 47 members of the Jamiat-e-Islami leadership council on Wednesday voted and removed Salahuddin Rabbani as the executive chairman of the party.

The party elected Enayatullah Shadab as interim chairman of the party to convene the party’s general assembly.

Afghanistan’s Jamiat-e Islami party is apparently divided into two groups. 47 members of the party’s leadership council voted to remove Salahuddin Rabbani from the presidency of the Jamiat-e-Islami and removed him, including Atta Mohammad Noor, Younus Qanuni, Bismillah Mohammadi, Hafiz Mansour, Ismail Khan, and Sattar Murad.

Of the 62 members of the Leadership Council, 47 members appointed Enayatullah Shadab, one of the party’s founders, as interim chairman of the Leadership Council, to prepare for the party’s general assembly after years.

“We have a 50 percent share of the government, and we can’t ignore it because one person decides individually,” said Basir Salangi, a member of the leadership council of the Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan. “Out of 62, 47 were with us. 35 and the rest via video said that we were with you.”

Salahuddin Rabbani did not want to be a partner in a participatory government, but 47 members of the Leadership Council see themselves as partners in the government from Abdullah Abdullah’s team and have the prospect of playing a prominent role alongside Mr. Abdullah in the peace process.

“There is no reason for us to be in opposition. It is wise to strengthen the government that is in the political campaign with the Taliban to prevent the Taliban from entering politically and militarily,” said Hafiz Mansour, a member of Afghanistan’s Jamiat-e-Islami leadership.

A section other than the Supreme Leader’s Council is with Salahuddin Rabbani. Mr. Rabbani accused some members of the Islamic Jamiat of compromising two weeks ago.

Salahuddin Rabbani said on June 18: “A number of senior members of the Islamic Jamiat have acted against their own decisions and the leadership’s decision and their fundamental values. The result is that today we are begging the legitimate demands of our people.”

In response to the act of 47 members of the leadership council, the Jamiat-e-Islami led by Salahuddin Rabbani suspended the membership of Atta Mohammad Noor, Younus Qanuni, Kaleemullah Naqibi, Abdul Hafiz Mansour, Waqif Hakimi, Sayed Enayatullah Shadab and Abdul Sattar Murad.

Ahmad Zia Massoud, deputy head of the Islamic Jamiat, said Salahuddin Rabbani is still the head of the Jamiat-e-Islami, and the government, in collusion with some members of the party’s leadership, had paved the way for the Jamiat-e-Islami split after intensive negotiations.

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Taliban still has ties with Al-Qaeda affiliate: Pentagon

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

Pentagon says in a new report that Al-Qaeda-linked regional groups have close ties to the Taliban and have sustained interests in attacking the US forces and other countries.

While the Taliban has pledged to no longer allow Al-Qaeda to operate from Afghan soil, Pentagon says that the group colluding with al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent.

A report by the US Department of Defense to Congress on the security situation in Afghanistan shows that al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent regularly cooperates with bottom level members of the Taliban to weaken the Afghan government.

“We believe the Taliban still have ties to a network like Haqqani and dozens of other networks operating in Afghanistan. What the Pentagon findings are, our security agencies have the same report,” said Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan president.

The Pentagon has also reported that Russia is actively working with the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan to speed up the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, as the US Secretary of State has spoken to his Russian counterpart about the matter.

“They have an objective there too. To reduce the risk of terrorism there. So yes, maybe not every time. But with great frequency, when I speak to my Russian counterparts, we talk about Afghanistan. We talk about the fact that we don’t want them engage in this,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Pentagon says that despite recent progress in the peace process, al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent maintains close ties with the Taliban in Afghanistan, possibly for protection and training.

“The enemy of al-Qaeda is the United States, and it is very clear that the relationship with the Taliban will not be cut, and that it will continue to lead to war,” said Zahir Azimi, a retired militant.

Politician Rahmatullah Bizhanpour said: “The United States wants to repeat the game in Afghanistan or start a new round of games, as the US is taking different stances against the Taliban and then directly another force called ISIS will appear in the region.”

The report regarding Iran said that Iran pursues its goals in Afghanistan by providing calculated support to the Taliban and by engaging in efforts to strengthen relations with the Afghan government.

The Taliban, however, in a statement rejected the report, calling it “propaganda and unsubstantiated.”

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