36 foreign militants killed in Pakistan air strikes

Updated 23 January 2014
0

36 foreign militants killed in Pakistan air strikes

ISLAMABAD: Three Germans were among 40 people killed when Pakistani jets and helicopters bombarded suspected Taleban hideouts in a northwestern tribal district, a senior security source said Wednesday.
The air strikes in the North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday followed two major Taleban attacks on military targets in as many days.
“Most of (the) terrorists killed are foreign fighters including 33 Uzbeks and three Germans,” the source told AFP.
Uzbeks, many affiliated with the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, make up one of the largest groups of foreign fighters in Pakistan’s tribal northwest.
There was no immediate confirmation from the countries concerned. Independent verification of casualties was not possible because media and aid workers are not allowed to visit the area.
The source added that Wali Muhammad, a Pakistani Taleban commander and trainer of suicide bombers, was among the dead. This was confirmed by a senior militant source.
Tuesday’s operation was one of the heaviest bombardments in recent years in North Waziristan, a key stronghold of militants linked to the Taleban and Al-Qaeda.
Officials said some of those killed were linked to an attack on Sunday on paramilitary troops in the northwestern city of Bannu that killed 26, and a double suicide bombing on a church in September that killed more than 80.
Another military official said a few families had fled the fighting and moved out of the tribal areas, but so far there has been no mass migration from the area.
The government officials said that around 500 families fled to Bannu district from North Waziristan after the bombardment.
“Some 500 families from Mir Ali sub-division of North Waziristan have migrated to Bannu. They are living with the local host tribes of Mamashkhel and Bakakhel in Bannu,” said Arshad Khan, head of the Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA).


UK and Russia hold first talks in over a year

Updated 16 February 2019
0

UK and Russia hold first talks in over a year

  • The meeting is the first between ministers from the two countries following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the English city of Salisbury on March 4
  • The attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, which Britain said was done using a Soviet era nerve agent Novichok, plunged relations to their lowest ebb in decades

LONDON: Junior foreign ministers from Britain and Russia met in Germany on Saturday in the highest-level contact between the two countries since an alleged nerve agent attack in Britain last March froze diplomatic relations.
Britain’s Minister for Europe Alan Duncan held talks with Russia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov on the margins of the Munich Security Conference, according to the foreign office in London.
“Alan underlined that we have deep differences, and the Russian state would need to choose a different path and act as a responsible international partner before there can be a change in our current relationship with Russia,” it said in a statement.
The meeting is the first between ministers from the two countries following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the English city of Salisbury on March 4 which Britain has blamed on Moscow.
The attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, which Britain said was done using a Soviet era nerve agent Novichok, plunged relations to their lowest ebb in decades.
The attack killed a British woman who came into contact with the Novichok, as well as injuring several others including a policeman.
Among a raft of responses, London suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts between the two countries, and canceled ministers and members of the royal family attending last summer’s World Cup in Russia.
“(The) minister reiterated the UK’s and Allies’ firm stance in response to the Russian state’s reckless use of chemical weapons in Salisbury,” the foreign office added in its statement.
“He made clear that Russia must address the concerns of the international community.
“This includes ending its destabilising activity in Ukraine; and the persecution of the LGBT community in Chechnya.”
The foreign office said Britain would continue to “build and strengthen our cultural ties and people to people links with Russia wherever we can.”
Ministers from around the world, including those from the US, France, Britain, and Germany, are taking part in several days of talks in Munich this weekend centered on global security issues.