Taliban threaten to end talks with US on ending Afghan war

Taliban threaten to end talks with US on ending Afghan war
Afghan security forces man at the site a day after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP)
Updated 15 January 2019

Taliban threaten to end talks with US on ending Afghan war

Taliban threaten to end talks with US on ending Afghan war
  • The Taliban have refused repeatedly to meet directly with representatives of the Kabul government

KABUL: The Taliban issued a statement Tuesday threatening to end contact with the US even as Washington’s peace envoy makes another round of the region in pursuit of a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s protracted conflict before a frustrated President Donald Trump makes good on his 2016 campaign promise to end America’s involvement.
Earlier in the day, the US Embassy in Kabul said Zalmay Khalilzad had arrived in Kabul following visits to India, the United Arab Emirates and China. Khalilzad was to meet President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other political leaders to discuss the next steps in US efforts to get an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process started.
The Taliban have refused repeatedly to meet directly with representatives of the Kabul government. According to the insurgent statement, the US agreed in meetings in November on a two-point agenda: Withdrawal of foreign troops and guarantees that Afghanistan would not again be used as it was by Al-Qaeda to plot attacks on other countries.
The statement accused Washington of seeking to expand the agenda, presumably a reference to a US demand that the Taliban hold direct talks with the Afghan government.
Meanwhile, Khalilzad was expected in Pakistan following his meetings in the Afghan capital.
There were reports Tuesday that Pakistan had arrested Taliban leader Hafiz Mohibullah in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. Taliban officials, who confirmed the arrest, said he was later released. Mohibullah is a member of the Taliban political commission based in Pakistan. Previously he was head of the Taliban military commission overseeing operations in 18 norther and eastern provinces.


Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Updated 04 December 2020

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

COTABATO, Philippines: Dozens of militants aligned with the Daesh group opened fire on a Philippine army detachment and burned a police patrol car in a southern town but withdrew after troops returned fire, officials said Friday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in Thursday night’s brief attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Piang town. Nevertheless it sparked panic among residents and rekindled fears of a repeat of a 2017 militant siege of southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before being quelled by government forces.
“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said in a statement.
Security officials gave differing statements on the motive of the 30 to 50 gunmen. Some said the militants targeted Datu Piang’s police chief over a feud but others speculated that the militants wanted to project that they are still a force to reckon with by attacking the army detachment in the center of the predominantly Muslim town.
Officials denied earlier reports that the militants managed to seize a police station and burn a Roman Catholic church.
When reinforcement troops in armored carriers arrived and opened fire, the militants fled toward a marshland, military officials said.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is one of a few small armed groups waging a separatist rural insurrection in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The groups opposed a 2014 autonomy deal forged by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south with the Philippine government and have continued on and off attacks despite being weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.
The armed groups include the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.