Afghanistan, Pakistan agree on cease-fire after border clashes

In this file photo, a soldier stands guard along the border fence outside the Kitton outpost on the border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan, Pakistan Oct. 18, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 April 2018
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Afghanistan, Pakistan agree on cease-fire after border clashes

  • Bodies of deceased Pakistani soldiers handed over
  • Fencing of Pakistan-Afghanistan border angers Afghan locals

KABUL: Afghan and Pakistani forces observed a cease-fire on Monday after clashes that killed several people on the Durand Line, the disputed border between the neighbors.
Sunday’s clashes erupted after Pakistani troops began building installations in remote mountainous areas close to Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province, Afghan government officials said.
The move by Pakistan sparked armed resistance from locals in Khost who were later joined by security forces, resulting in an exchange of artillery and heavy fire that killed at least three Pakistani soldiers and two Afghan civilians, the officials added. 
“There was sporadic artillery fire last night but it’s calm now,” Kamal Nasir Osoli, a lawmaker from Khost, told Arab News on Monday. “Based on an agreement between the two countries, there’s a cease-fire for now.” 
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed Radmanesh confirmed news of the truce, saying: “Pakistan had vowed that there will be no repeat of clashes again in the region.”
The bodies of the deceased Pakistani soldiers were “honorably handed over,” he said, adding that the clashes happened in three areas.
Afghan and Pakistani forces in recent years have clashed on many occasions in various parts of the Durand Line drawn by Britain, which ruled the region in the 19th century, leading to the separation of hundreds of thousands of people from their relatives and tribes. 
Unlike Islamabad, successive Afghan governments have not recognized the line as an international border. The fencing of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has angered Afghan locals and Kabul.
Afghanistan has repeatedly accused Pakistan of shelling and firing rockets at eastern regions, including Khost. Islamabad says it targets those involved in cross-border terrorist activities.
The latest clashes in Khost came less than two weeks after the visit by Pakistan’s prime minister to Kabul, at the invitation of the Afghan government, to start a new chapter in their relations.


British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

Updated 15 min 41 sec ago
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British lawmaker calls for Asma Assad to be stripped of British citizenship 

  • The MP of the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship
  • Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians

A prominent British politician has called for Asma Assad, the British wife of the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, to be stripped of her UK citizenship. 

The foreign affairs spokesman of the centrist party, the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake, wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging her to use her powers to deny Asma Assad of her citizenship after her social media posts in support of her husband’s regime.

 “The first lady of Syria has acted not as a private citizen but as a spokesperson for the Syrian presidency... Boris Johnson has urged other countries to do more about Syria, but the British government could say to Asma Assad, either stop using your position to defend barbaric acts, or be stripped of your citizenship,” Brake was cited by British daily the Guardian as saying.  

Asma used social media to support her husband’s leadership after a global condemnation of his alleged role in a chemical weapons attack on civilians.

She posted a message saying: “The presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic affirms that what America has done is an irresponsible act that only reflects a short-sightedness, a narrow horizon, a political and military blindness to reality and a naive pursuit of a frenzied false propaganda campaign.”

Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi, also joined the call to revoke her British nationality, calling Asma “very much part of the propaganda machine that is committing war crimes.”

Asma was born and raised in London to Syrian parents and left the UK in 2000 to live in Syria where she married Assad.