Paris to take in Afghans facing security threats

Updated 26 December 2012
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Paris to take in Afghans facing security threats

PARIS: Paris will take in a “few dozen” Afghans who have worked alongside French troops in the war-ravaged country for 11 years and whose security is at risk at home, the Defense Ministry said yesterday.
The ministry did not give exact numbers but said the bulk comprised people who had worked as translators on the ground.
On Dec. 15, France flew its last combat troops out of Afghanistan, two years before allied nations in the 100,000-strong NATO mission led by the United States are due to recall their fighting forces.
At the height of its involvement, France had 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan as the fifth largest military contingent in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), behind the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy.
A French newspaper reported 170 Afghans would be “allowed to enter French territory from January to start a new life.” It said the criteria for choosing them would be two-fold — whether they faced a security threat after the pullout of NATO-led foreign troops and their ability to integrate into mainstream French society.
Separately, a suicide car bombing at a US military base near a flashpoint city in eastern Afghanistan killed at least three Afghans and wounded seven others yesterday, officials said.
The blast, powerful enough to rattle windows four kilometers (two miles) away, took place at the entrance to Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost.
It came two days after an Afghan policewoman shot dead a US NATO adviser inside Kabul police headquarters, the latest “insider” attack by a member of Afghanistan’s security forces on their foreign allies.
Khost province shares a porous border with Pakistan’s tribal belt, which lies outside government control and where US officials say the Taleban and Al-Qaeda have carved out rear bases for operations in Afghanistan. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said yesterday’s attack was a suicide car bombing. Camp Chapman lies on the edge of Khost city, which has been hit by at least three major suicide attacks this year.
The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack. They have waged a bloody insurgency against foreign and Afghan forces since being ousted from power in a 2001 invasion led by the United States.


US targets airlines in latest Iran sanctions move

Updated 27 min 10 sec ago
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US targets airlines in latest Iran sanctions move

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on several Iranian and Turkish companies and a number of aircraft in a move targeting four Iranian airlines.
The companies targeted were linked to Mahan Air and Meraj Air, the US Treasury Department said in a statement. It also said it was targeting a number of their aircraft, as well as aircraft from Caspian Airlines and Pouya Air.
The United States said the two airlines had ferried weapons, fighters and money to proxies in Syria and Lebanon. Washington also threatened sanctions for others granting landing rights and providing services to the aircraft.
"The deceptive practices these airlines employ to illegally obtain services and US goods is yet another example of the duplicitous ways in which the Iranian regime has operated," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The sanctions were the latest in the United States' efforts to economically strangle Iran with the hopes of blocking the country's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month, the United States withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord that had lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program, dismaying US allies.
On Tuesday, the United States imposed sanctions on five Iranians it said had provided Yemen's Houthi movement with weaponry and expertise to launch missiles at cities and oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.