US wants Iran help on missing FBI agent

Updated 10 March 2013
0

US wants Iran help on missing FBI agent

WASHINGTON: The White House says it is looking forward to Iran helping to locate retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing six years ago while on a trip to the Islamic Republic.
The anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance fell yesterday, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington still placed a high priority on finding Levinson and bringing him home.
“The Iranian government previously offered assistance in locating Mr. Levinson, and we look forward to receiving this assistance, even as we disagree on other key issues,” Carney said.
“The FBI has also announced a $ 1 million reward for information leading to Mr. Levinson’s safe return. This year, we again reaffirm our commitment to bringing him home to those who love him.”
Iran said last month that it had no information about Levinson, who has become another point of tension between the two nations already at odds over multiple issues, including Tehran’s nuclear program.
Mystery shrouds the fate of Levinson, who disappeared on Iran’s Gulf island of Kish while reportedly investigating cigarette counterfeiting in the region. His wife Christine last heard from him on March 8, 2007.
On Jan. 8, Christine released photos of her husband wearing an orange jumpsuit similar to those worn by prisoners at the US-run Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba, holding a white placard that read, “Why You Can Not Help Me.”


Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

Updated 24 June 2018
0

Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

  • The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but a government spokesman said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.
  • After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue.

KABUL: The Afghan government is confident of holding peace talks with Taliban militants despite a recent surge of attacks by insurgents, a palace spokesman said.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi said the announcement last week of a brief truce by the Taliban over Eid, the increasing movement of extremists and some field commanders to government-held areas, and a call for peace by the Imam of Makkah and the Saudi monarch were the basis of the government’s optimism.

The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but Murtazawi said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.

“A new chapter has been opened and the broad support for a cease-fire and an end to the war are the causes for our optimism,” he told Arab News.

“The fact that Taliban announced a truce and their commanders came into towns and celebrated Eid with government officials are positive signs that the extremists will be ready for talks with the government.”

However, no contact has been established with leaders of the group since the militants called off their truce, Murtazawi said.

After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue. Scores of Afghan troops have been killed in a spate of attacks, including assaults on military bases where the insurgents joined government forces to celebrate Eid.

Some tribal chiefs and local officials are calling for “safe zones” where extremists can hold initial talks with the government, according to a local official who refused to be named.