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Turkey downs Russian warplane near Syria border, Putin warns of ‘serious consequences’

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(Last Updated On: November 25, 2015)

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Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying the jet had violated its air space, in one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plane had been attacked when it was 1 km (0.62 mile) inside Syria and warned of “serious consequences” for what he termed a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists”.

“We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today,” Putin said, as Russian and Turkish shares fell on fears of an escalation between the former Cold War enemies.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Turkey said it had shot down the jet while in Turkish air space. Along with a second plane, the aircraft had flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, despite being warned 10 times in five minutes while approaching to change direction, the letter said.

“Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.

In condemnation of Russian air strikes in Syria, during which Turkish air space has been violated several times in recent weeks, Erdogan said that only Turkey’s “cool-headedness” had prevented worse incidents in the past.

Each country summoned a diplomatic representative of the other. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov canceled a visit to Turkey due on Wednesday and the defense ministry said it was preparing measures to respond to such incidents.

U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande, meeting in Washington, urged against an escalation, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey.

Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it as it crashed in a wooded part of an area the TV said was known by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”.

Separate footage from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed.

A deputy commander of rebel Turkmen forces in Syria said his men shot both pilots dead as they came down. The Russian military confirmed one pilot had been shot dead from the ground and another soldier died during a rescue operation.

A senior Turkish official said at least one of the pilots could still be alive. “It’s not a fact but a possibility. We’re trying to verify the information and taking all necessary steps to facilitate their return,” the official said.

Written by: Reuters

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COVID19 cases in Afghanistan rise to 12,456

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2020)

With 625 new registries, the COVID19 cases rose to 12,456 in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Public Health said Wednesday that 625 people were tested positive for Coronavirus.

According to the ministry the cases – 360 in Kabul, 108 in Herat, 50 in Balkh, 26 Parwan, 24 in Takhar, 14 in Kunar, 9 in Panjshir, 9 in Baghlan, 8 in Ghor, 8 in Laghman, 5 in Nangarhar, 2 in Bamyan, 1 in Farah, and 1 in Kunduz – were recorded in the past 24 hours.

It brings the total affected to 12,456 confirmed cases in Afghanistan.

The ministry said that 7 people have died of the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total fatalities to 227 in Afghanistan.

So far, 1135 people have been recovered from the virus.

Deputy Health Minister Wahid Majroh said that 50 percent of the numbers reported in the past 12 days are due to lockdown violations.

Majroh added that there is a possibility that up to 1.5 million people will get infected with the COVID-19.

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No justification for military use of Panjshir stadium: ANOC

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2020)

Afghanistan National Olympic Committee (ANOC) urges the government to stop using the provincial stadium of Panjshir for military purposes.

The ANOC said in a statement that currently the stadium is used for landing and departing military choppers.

The organization added that the sports officials had already filed a complaint last year, but the government yet to address the issue.

“A commission was formed and the independent administration of local authorities was assigned to select another place for military helicopters landing instead of the provincial stadium of Panjshir, but no action has been taken yet,” the statement said.

Reportedly, so far, no sporting events have been held in Panjshir’s stadium.

“Unfortunately, the stadium has not been used for any sporting events so far, but there is no justification for the military use of this stadium,” the ANOC emphasized.

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Trump seeks full withdrawal from Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2020)

US President Donald Trump has reiterated full US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Speaking to the reporters on Tuesday, Trump said that he wants to bring American soldiers back home from Afghanistan.

“We’re there 19 years, and, yeah, I think that’s enough…We can always go back if we have to. If we have to go back, we’ll go back and we’ll go back raging. And there, we’ll go back as warriors, fighters,” Trump said.

Trump did not set a date for the full pullout from Afghanistan, saying, “but as soon as reasonable.”

The US signed a deal for bringing peace in Afghanistan on February 29, in Qatar.

According to the deal, the U.S. troops roughly reduced to 8,600 in Afghanistan, and the country committed to full drawdown within 14 months after the agreement.

“We’re having very positive talks. We’re having very positive talks. We want to bring our soldiers back home. We want to bring them back home. And we’re not only talking about there, but we’re talking about other countries also,” US President noted.

As a part of the US-Taliban deal, the Afghan government released 900 Taliban prisoners on Tuesday, bringing the total released to 2000, a move forward to promote the Afghan peace process.

The Taliban welcomed the government’s actions, saying that the group “will release a remarkable number of prisoners soon.”

“We’re dealing with the Taliban. We’re dealing with the president. And the president now has gotten themselves straightened out with the two presidents. But we’re dealing with — because they had — as you know, they had competing factors — and factions,” Trump said.

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