Taliban attack kills 5 Afghan police

In this file photograph Afghan security personnel take part in a patrol during an operation against Taliban militants in the Jaghatu District of Ghazni Province. (Zakeria Hashimi/AFP)
Updated 18 March 2018

Taliban attack kills 5 Afghan police

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says the Taliban have attacked security positions northwest of the capital, killing at least five police.
Mohammed Zaman, the provincial police chief for Ghazni province, says the attack late Saturday set off a two-hour gunbattle.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014.
In the western Ghor province, meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed a young shepherd and wounded five others. Police spokesman Iqbal Nizami says the Taliban planted the bomb in order to target security forces.
In the eastern Khost province, police spokesman Basir Bina says a roadside bomb killed two children and wounded another nine. Both bombs went off on Saturday.


Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Updated 30 min 44 sec ago

Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

  • The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s tourists
  • Apsara authority plans to end the elephant rides by 2020
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said Friday, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.
The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which topped six million in 2018 — and many opt for elephants rides around the ancient temples.
But these rides “will end by the start of 2020,” said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.
“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore,” he told AFP, adding that some of the animals were “already old.”
So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the temples.
“They will live out their natural lives there,” Kosal said.
The company that owns the elephants will continue to look after them, he added.
Cambodia has long come under fire from animal rights groups for ubiquitous elephant rides on offer for tourists, also seen in neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
The elephants are broken in during training and rights groups have accused handlers of overworking them.
In 2016, a female elephant died by the roadside after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in severely hot weather.
The animal had been working for around 45 minutes before she collapsed.