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Russia Expresses Concerns Over U.S. ‘Unrealistic’ Strategy for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 8, 2017)

Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed his concern over Washington’s new strategy on the Afghan crisis, calling it as an “unrealistic approach”.

Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a meeting on the sideline of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

After the meeting, the Russian top diplomat stressed that his country is a little bit alarmed by the new strategy announced by Washington for Afghanistan.

He stated that the U.S. has focused on the military solution for resolving the situation in Afghanistan while Russia believe this is not realistic.

Meanwhile, Lavrov and Tillerson have reiterated the importance of further contacts on Afghanistan.

“We reiterated the usefulness of contacts on Afghanistan between our representatives,” Lavrov continued. “We had contacts in September and in December… Of course, we need to know what each of us wants.”

According to Russia Foreign Minister, Washington and Moscow have agreed to continue contacts on Afghanistan and cooperate with other countries involved in the Afghan settlement.

This comes as the U.S. new strategy for Afghanistan calls for more troops in Afghanistan, insisting that conditions on the ground would determine troop levels and strategy.

The Afghan government also emphasize on the elimination of terrorist groups which are operating in Afghanistan.

“The terrorist groups such as the Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Chechens, Uyghurs, and Arab terror groups which are in Afghanistan must be destroyed, because they are coming to Afghanistan for fight and they are terrorist groups,” Defense Ministry Spokesman, Major General Dawlat Waziri said.

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Messi calls off contract renewal negotiations and is ready to leave Barca in 2021, according to report

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has called off negotiations over renewing his contract with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans when his current deal expires in 2021, according to a report by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday (July 2).

The report said Messi and his father Jorge had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club, which was signed in 2017, but that he no longer wishes to stay at the Camp Nou.

The report added that Messi is angry about leaked media reports that appeared to make him seem responsible for events at the club, such as the January sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde, and that he is frustrated about the squad’s lack of quality.

The Argentine’s representatives and Barcelona did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Messi, who turned 33 last month, scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday (June 30) against Atletico Madrid, but the milestone strike ended in disappointment as Barca drew the game 2-2 in the latest blow to their bid to retain the Spanish title.

Barca trail Real Madrid by four points in the title race with five games remaining after Real beat Getafe 1-0 on Thursday.

Previously known for his shy personality off the pitch, Messi has become more vocal in his criticism of the club in the last year.

In January he hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal, who he said had implied players had led to Valverde being sacked.

In a February interview with newspaper Mundo Deportivo, he declared the team were not good enough to win this season’s Champions League.

Then in April, he criticized the board for implying players were not willing to accept a pay-cut to help the team’s financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Reuters

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Key Taliban commanders among 16 killed in Baghlan, Badakhshan clashes

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

At least 15 Taliban insurgents were killed in clashes with the Afghan forces in Baghlan-Samangan highway, police said.

In a statement released on Tuesday, police stated that the militants attacked and blocked the highway on Monday.

According to the statement, a combination of army, National Directorate of Security (NDS), police, and the special unit of police and air forces have launched a counterattack in the area.

At least 15 militants including a group’s key command – Qari Juma Gul – were killed in the air and ground raids, the statement said.

The Afghan forces have pushed back the Taliban, the statement noted.

Meanwhile, the insurgents attacked Pahn Dara, Persian name, area in Yaftal district of Badakhshan on Monday, and faced “resistance” by the Afghan security forces, Sanaullah Rohani, the provincial police spokesman said.

Rohani said, the Taliban designated judge for Yaftal was killed and two key commanders of the group were wounded as police pushed back the attack.

No casualties inflicted on the Afghan forces, he added.

The Taliban militant group yet to comment about the incidents.

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U.S. looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok: Pompeo

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late on Monday that the United States is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.

“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.

U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience and has emphasized its independence from China.

Pompeo’s remarks also come amid increasing U.S.-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade war.

TikTok, a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps after a border clash between India and China.

Reuters reported late on Monday that TikTok would exit the Hong Kong market within days, deciding to do so after China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.

Source: Reuters

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