NATO weighs future of Afghan mission, seeks to support talks

Around 14,000 US troops are in Afghanistan, just over half with NATO and the rest doing counter-terror and combat operations. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 February 2019
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NATO weighs future of Afghan mission, seeks to support talks

  • Frustrated with America’s longest war, US President Donald Trump says he wants to pull out troops
  • US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is meeting with the Taliban and others to try to end Afghanistan’s 17-year war

BRUSSELS: NATO defense ministers are discussing the future of the alliance’s operation in Afghanistan and how best to use its military presence to support political talks aimed at ending the conflict.
Frustrated with America’s longest war, US President Donald Trump says he wants to pull out troops, raising doubts about NATO’s training operation in the strife-torn country.
Around 14,000 US troops are in Afghanistan, just over half with NATO and the rest doing counter-terror and combat operations.
Were US troops to leave the NATO operation, some allies, like Germany, wouldn’t be able to do their job as they rely on American air support.
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is meeting with the Taliban and others to try to end Afghanistan’s 17-year war. He briefed NATO ambassadors before Thursday’s meeting.


UN team to investigate ‘horrific’ massacre in central Mali

Updated 26 March 2019
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UN team to investigate ‘horrific’ massacre in central Mali

  • UN human rights office spokeswoman says the massacre in Ogossagou, in Mali’s Mopti region, mostly targeted people from the ethnic Fulani, or Peuhl, community

GENEVA: The United Nations is deploying crime-scene investigators, human rights officers and a child protection expert to central Mali to investigate intercommunal violence over the weekend that killed more than 150 people, one-third of them children.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani of the UN human rights office says the massacre in Ogossagou, in Mali’s Mopti region, mostly targeted people from the ethnic Fulani, or Peuhl, community.
She said Tuesday the “horrific attacks” signal a “spike in killings” in a cycle of violence in the region that has caused 600 deaths and displaced thousands since last March.
Shamdasani said the attacks appeared to be motivated by an effort to eliminate violent Islamic extremist groups active in Mali, but that “millions of people are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”