Taliban kill 25 pro-government militias in Afghanistan

Insurgents stormed security posts in the province of Baghlan in the early hours of Saturday. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2019

Taliban kill 25 pro-government militias in Afghanistan

  • District chief Fazeluddin Muradi says that the insurgents’ attack also wounded at least eight pro-government fighters
  • Taliban did not immediately claim the attack

KABUL: At least 25 pro-government militias were killed in a Taliban attack in northern Afghanistan Saturday, officials said, as the United States was due to start a new round of talks with the militants in Qatar.
The attack happened in Nahrin district of northern Baghlan province before dawn when the militia members attempted to rescue a group of soldiers surrounded by Taliban militants, Fawad Aman, a defense ministry spokesman, said.
“As they were going to help the soldiers, they got ambushed. Unfortunately, 25 members... were killed in the attack,” he said.
District governor Fazaluddin Muradi confirmed the toll, adding that the attack lasted nearly six hours.
The Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility for the attack.
Local militias often work with overstretched security forces in Afghanistan.
The violence in Baghlan came as the US and the Taliban officials were due to start a new round of talks in Qatar to end the 18-year-long US presence in Afghanistan.
The talks, in its seventh round, have centered on four issues: counter-terrorism, the foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue, and a permanent cease-fire.
US officials have previously said they are hoping for a deal before the upcoming Afghan presidential elections, which have already been delayed twice and are now set for September.
On Tuesday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid an unannounced visit to Kabul and hoped for a peace deal with the Taliban “before September 1.”


Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

Updated 18 January 2020

Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

  • Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies
  • “We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” a leader said

PIARACU: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to open up the Amazon to mining companies was tantamount to “genocide,” indigenous leaders said Friday at a meeting to oppose the government’s environmental policies.
Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which have seen deforestation in the jungle nearly double since the Brazilian leader came to power a year ago.
“Our aim was to join forces and denounce the fact that the Brazilian government’s political policy of genocide, ethnocide and ecocide is under way,” the group said in a draft manifesto drawn up at the end of the summit.
“We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” the text said.
They also said that “government threats and hate speech” had encouraged violence against Amazon communities and demanded punishment for the murder of indigenous leaders.
At least eight indigenous leaders were killed last year.
Brazil’s leading indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire, said Thursday he would personally travel to the capital Brasilia to present the meeting’s demands to Congress.
“Over there, I’m going to ask Bolsonaro why he speaks so badly about the indigenous peoples,” said the 89-year-old leader of the Kayapo tribe.
Preliminary data collected by the National Institute for Space Research showed an 85 percent increase in Amazon deforestation last year when compared to 2018.