Taliban threaten to end talks with US on ending Afghan war

Afghan security forces man at the site a day after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP)
Updated 15 January 2019
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Taliban threaten to end talks with US on ending Afghan war

  • The Taliban have refused repeatedly to meet directly with representatives of the Kabul government

KABUL: The Taliban issued a statement Tuesday threatening to end contact with the US even as Washington’s peace envoy makes another round of the region in pursuit of a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s protracted conflict before a frustrated President Donald Trump makes good on his 2016 campaign promise to end America’s involvement.
Earlier in the day, the US Embassy in Kabul said Zalmay Khalilzad had arrived in Kabul following visits to India, the United Arab Emirates and China. Khalilzad was to meet President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other political leaders to discuss the next steps in US efforts to get an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process started.
The Taliban have refused repeatedly to meet directly with representatives of the Kabul government. According to the insurgent statement, the US agreed in meetings in November on a two-point agenda: Withdrawal of foreign troops and guarantees that Afghanistan would not again be used as it was by Al-Qaeda to plot attacks on other countries.
The statement accused Washington of seeking to expand the agenda, presumably a reference to a US demand that the Taliban hold direct talks with the Afghan government.
Meanwhile, Khalilzad was expected in Pakistan following his meetings in the Afghan capital.
There were reports Tuesday that Pakistan had arrested Taliban leader Hafiz Mohibullah in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. Taliban officials, who confirmed the arrest, said he was later released. Mohibullah is a member of the Taliban political commission based in Pakistan. Previously he was head of the Taliban military commission overseeing operations in 18 norther and eastern provinces.


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

Updated 20 February 2019
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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.