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Part of Taliban opposes appointment of new leader

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2015)

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A number of Taliban leaders formed Islamic Emirate Council against Mullah Muhammad Akhtar Mansoor, Taliban’s new leader.

A member of the council in an interview with Ariananews urged Mullah Muhammad Mansoor to resign from his post and abandon areas under their control; otherwise the council would continue movements in a separate ways.

Mullah Akhtar Mansoor – believed to be the Taliban’s new leader – has an unexpected reputation as a relative moderate and vigorous proponent of peace talks, raising hopes that his leadership could pave the way for an end to years of fighting.

The senior Taliban members claimed that the new announced leader is introduced by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence ISI.

At the same time, Mullah Omar’s son said he cannot support new Taliban leader.

The dispute threatens to derail embryonic peace talks and a rift could allow other Jihadist groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a foothold in Afghanistan.

Mullah Yacoob, Mullah Omar’s oldest son, said he and three other senior leaders walked out of a meeting called to elect a leader, and were demanding a wider vote.

“I am against the decision to select Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as leader,” he said.

“Mansoor was elected by his own group, and we will not accept him as the supreme leader of Taliban,” he said on condition of anonymity. “And we cannot call it a decision without a consensus.”

He said he walked out alongside Mullah Yacoob only 35 minutes into the two-day meeting, which ended with those present swearing loyalty to Mullah Mansoor.

Mullah Qayum Zakir, until recently the Taliban’s military leader, has been the most vocal critics of the new leader, hinting at divisions between a political leadership based in Pakistan and fighters in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor promises to continue insurgency in his audio message has called for a continuation of the group’s armed resistance to both the central government and remaining foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The message, released online on Saturday, marks the first public statement by the group’s new head after being officially named the successor to the group’s founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, who reportedly died two years ago.

The new “leader of the faithful,” as the Taliban’s leader is customarily referred to, said the jihad must continue “until we bring an Islamic rule” to Afghanistan.

That statement seems to be a sharp turnaround from previous depictions of Mansoor, whom sources had said had pushed Omar to look for new approaches to the 14-year-long resistance to occupation.

Mansoor had previously served as Mullah Omar’s deputy and closest confidante for at two of the last years of his life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah, has died aged 91

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(Last Updated On: September 30, 2020)

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has died at the age of 91, state media reported.

Sheikh Sabah’s 83-year-old half-brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed, has been named by the cabinet as his successor.

In a message of condolence to the royal family and Kuwaiti nationals, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said it was with “great regret and emotion” that he had received the news of the Emir’s death. 

“The Emir of Kuwait was one of the most important and prominent figures in the Islamic world and one of the good friends of Afghanistan. During his reign, he always had good intentions towards our country and paid special attention to the development of friendly and fraternal relations between the two countries,” said Ghani in a statement issued by the Presidential Palace.

“His Highness Sheikh Sabah during his reign performed valuable services for the advancement, progress and welfare of the people of his country,” said Ghani adding that he will always be remembered for the good work he had done. 

“On behalf of the government and people of Afghanistan, I express my deepest condolences and sympathy to the officials of the Kingdom of Kuwait, the family of the late Emir of Kuwait and the people of that country. I pray to God Almighty,” said Ghani. 

Afghanistan’s chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, who is currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan, also passed on his condolences. 

In a message on Twitter, Abdullah said: “Deeply saddened to hear the demise of His Royal Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait. My thoughts and prayers are with Amir’s family, the people & government of Kuwait. His soul may rest in peace.”

The Emir had ruled the oil-rich Gulf state since 2006 and had overseen its foreign policy for more than 50 years and had been dubbed the “dean of Arab diplomacy” for his efforts to restore relations with states that backed Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, when Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi forces.

He also often acted as a mediator in regional disputes, including the ongoing diplomatic stand-off between Saudi Arabia, its allies and Qatar.

 

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Flash flood warning issued for nine provinces

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Meteorological Department (AMD) on Tuesday issued a flash flood warning for nine provinces, including Kabul and Parwan. 

AMD said on its website rain and possible flooding can be expected in Kabul, Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Kapisa, Panjshir, Parwan, Nangarhar and Badakhshan provinces over the next 24 hours. 

Rainfall of between 10 and 20 mm has been forecast. 

This warning comes after August’s torrential rain across 13 provinces left close to 200 people dead and thousands homeless.

The worst-hit province was Parwan, which saw torrents of water destroy hundreds of homes in the provincial capital Charikar. 

 

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Almost 100 dead as Armenia, Azerbaijan clashes continue

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

Almost 100 people, including civilians, have been killed as battles between Armenia and Azerbaijan continued Tuesday, for the third day, over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. 

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan said that heavy fighting had continued overnight.

The self-proclaimed authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said 87 of their military personnel had been killed and 120 wounded since Sunday.

According to the Armenpress news agency, they put the fatality figure on the Azerbaijani side at nearly 400.

Azerbaijan has not revealed its military losses but has confirmed seven civilian deaths.

Although the fighting started in the Nagorno-Karabakh territory on Sunday, clashes appeared to be spilling over the border on Tuesday. 

Armenia’s defense ministry said a passenger bus had been hit by an Azerbaijani drone in the eastern Armenian city of Vardenis. There were no reports of casualties.

Azerbaijan earlier said two Azerbaijani civilians had been killed in Armenian shelling in Azerbaijan on Monday, following the deaths of five people from the same family a day earlier, BBC reported.

The UN Security Council meanwhile is expected to hold emergency talks on the issue Tuesday.

Both sides have mobilized more soldiers and Turkey on Monday was reportedly sending in Syrian rebel fighters to help Azerbaijan. 

In a statement on Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said: “I am deeply disturbed by the reported loss of civilian lives and injuries, as well as damage to civilian property and infrastructure.”

She also urged “an immediate end to the fighting”.

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