US peace envoy in Pakistan seeking end to 17-year Afghan war

On his previous visits he held talks with the Taliban in the Middle East. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2019
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US peace envoy in Pakistan seeking end to 17-year Afghan war

  • The US Embassy said on Thursday that Khalilzad will meet with senior Pakistani officials
  • Khalilzad has accelerated efforts to end the war in Afghanistan since his appointment

ISLAMABAD: Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan on the last leg of his regional tour aimed at finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 17-year war, which will allow American troops to go home, ending Washington’s longest military engagement.
The US Embassy said on Thursday that Khalilzad will meet with senior Pakistani officials, without elaborating further.
Khalilzad has accelerated efforts to end the war in Afghanistan since his appointment. On his previous visits he held talks with the Taliban in the Middle East. He has no plans to travel to the Mideast on this tour, but there are reports he may meet the Taliban during his visit to Pakistan.
If a meeting is held, it’s likely Khalilzad will press for direct talks with Kabul, something the Taliban have refused.


Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, right, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, said California will probably sue President Donald Trump over his emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

  • The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico

SAN FRANCISCO: Sixteen US states sued President Donald Trump’s administration Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico, saying the move violated the constitution.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, said the president’s order was contrary to the Presentment Clause that outlines legislative procedures and the Appropriations Clause, which defines Congress as the final arbiter of public funds.
The move had been previously announced by Xavier Becerra the attorney general of California who said his state and others had legal standing because they risked losing moneys intended for military projects, disaster assistance and other purposes.
Several Republican senators have decried the emergency declaration, saying it establishes a dangerous precedent and amounts to executive overreach.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia are party to the complaint seeking an injunction.
“Use of those additional federal funds for the construction of a border wall is contrary to Congress’s intent in violation of the US Constitution, including the Presentment Clause and Appropriations Clause,” the complaint said.
It added that Trump had “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making.”
“Congress has repeatedly rebuffed the president’s insistence to fund a border wall, recently resulting in a record 35-day partial government shutdown over the border wall dispute,” the document read.
“After the government reopened, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, a $1.375 billion appropriation for fencing along the southern border, but Congress made clear that funding could not be used to build President Trump’s proposed border wall.”
The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico.
Friday’s declaration enables the president to divert funds from the Pentagon’s military construction budget and other sources.