Afghan president emphasizes need to implement APAPPS to Pakistan FM

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday emphasized the need to fully implement the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). (AFP)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Afghan president emphasizes need to implement APAPPS to Pakistan FM

KABUL: During talks with Pakistan’s visiting foreign minister, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday emphasized the need to fully implement the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), as Kabul seeks to reset ties with the new government in Islamabad.
The one-day visit by Shah Mahmood Qureshi is the first by a top Pakistani official to Kabul since Imran Khan became prime minister in July.
The talks with Qureshi will show if there is a change of heart in Pakistan with the arrival of a new government, said a senior Afghan government member.
Earlier this month, the US froze $300 million in aid to Pakistan for allegedly not doing enough to curb the Afghan Taliban’s activities.
Qureshi’s visit coincides with a sharp rise in Taliban and Daesh attacks and long-delayed parliamentary elections in October, as well as presidential polls slated for April 2019 that Ghani plans to contest. Ghani is keen for Pakistan to convince the Taliban to not disrupt the elections.
The presidential palace in Kabul said Ghani and Qureshi discussed peace and security in the region, the joint fight against terrorism and implementation of APAPPS, which the two countries signed in April this year.
“The president, referring to the importance of APAPPS, said that this plan is all-sided and its effectiveness becomes important when enforced fully,” the palace said in a statement.
Qureshi also met with his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
The closure earlier this month of Pakistan’s consulate in the eastern city of Jalalabad was discussed with Rabbani, an Afghan official said.
Current and former officials in both capitals have expressed doubt that Qureshi’s visit will lead to any drastic or immediate change in bilateral relations.
Amrullah Saleh, a former Afghan spy chief, tweeted that Qureshi “will repeat word by word everything his predecessors have said in the past 17 years that Pakistan is not harboring terrorists.”


US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, photo provided by the ACLU of Montana, Martha Hernandez, left, and Ana Suda pose in front of a convenience store in Havre, Mont., where they say they were detained by a U.S Border Patrol agent for speaking Spanish last year. (AP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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US women detained for speaking Spanish sue border agency

  • The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre

LOS ANGELES: Two US women detained by a border patrol agent in the state of Montana after he heard them speaking Spanish in a grocery store have sued the country’s border protection agency.
Video of the incident — which took place last May in the small town of Havre — showed Agent Paul O’Neal tell Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez that he had asked to see their identification as it was unusual to hear Spanish speakers in the state, which borders Canada.
“It has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it’s predominately English speaking,” he said.
“It’s not illegal, it’s just very unheard of up here,” he told the women.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed suit against US Customs and Border Protection on behalf of the women, who live in Havre.
Suda and Hernandez say in the lawsuit that O’Neal detained them for 40 minutes.
California native Hernandez and Suda, who was born in Texas, said they were standing in line to buy milk and eggs when the agent — who was standing behind them — commented on Hernandez’s accent, and asked the women where they were born.
“I asked, ‘Are you serious’?” Suda said, according to the lawsuit. “Agent O’Neal responded that he was ‘dead serious’.”
The two women say they were then asked to show identification and questioned outside the store, before eventually being released.
“The incident itself is part of a broader pattern that we’ve seen of abusive tactics by border patrol which has gotten worse since the Trump administration, which has left border patrol officers feeling emboldened to take actions like this,” Cody Wofsy, an attorney with the ACLU, told AFP.
“This has been devastating for (Suda and Hernandez),” he added.
“Havre is a small town, they felt ostracized and humiliated and made to feel unwelcome in their own town and in their own country.”
He noted the United States has no official language, with Spanish by far the most common language spoken after English.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to comment on the case.
“As a matter of policy, US Customs and Border Protection does not comment on pending litigation,” he told AFP in a statement. “However, lack of comment should not be construed as agreement or stipulation with any of the allegations.”