Afghan loses death penalty appeal over French deaths

Updated 19 November 2012
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Afghan loses death penalty appeal over French deaths

KABUL: A military court has rejected an appeal by an Afghan soldier sentenced to death for killing five French troops in an insider attack in January, an official said Monday.
So-called green-on-blue attacks have spiraled this year, with a total of 61 NATO troops killed by members of the Afghan security forces, fueling distrust between the allies in the war against Taleban Islamist insurgents.
The French casualties prompted France to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan earlier than planned.
Afghan army soldier Abdul Sabor was convicted in July of killing the soldiers on January 20 while they were jogging within their base in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan.
Sabor is the only Afghan convicted of carrying out such an attack to have been sentenced to death.
“The appeal court has confirmed the decision made by the primary court — his appeal was rejected,” defense ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said.
The case will now be automatically reviewed by a higher court, and Sabor, who was 21 at the time of the attack, will have the right to appeal to President Hamid Karzai for clemency.
The decision to put France on a fast-track exit timetable sparked concern among some members of the US-led military coalition, which is not due to end its combat mission until the end of 2014.


China reassures Pakistan on ties ahead of Xi’s meeting with India’s Modi

Updated 21 min 9 sec ago
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China reassures Pakistan on ties ahead of Xi’s meeting with India’s Modi

  • China will continue to firmly support Pakistan, its top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at a meeting in Beijing
  • We are ready to work together with our "Pakistani brothers" to undertake the mission of national rejuvenation, Wang said.

BEIJING: China on Monday reassured Pakistan that relations between the two countries were as firm as ever and would “never rust,” ahead of a meeting this week between President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could unnerve Islamabad.
China and Pakistan like to call each other “all weather friends” and their traditional close ties have long been viewed with suspicion by Pakistan’s neighbor and traditional enemy, India.
But Modi has tried to reset relations with Beijing after a years of disagreements over everything from their border to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and will hold an informal summit with Xi on Friday and Saturday in China.
China will continue to firmly support Pakistan, its top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at a meeting in Beijing.
“We are ready to work together with our Pakistani brothers to undertake the historical mission of national rejuvenation and achieve the great dream of national prosperity and development,” Wang said.
“In this way, our iron friendship with Pakistan will never rust and be tempered into steel.”
There was no mention of the Xi-Modi meeting in comments made in front of reporters.