Monday, May 29, 2017
NEW DELHI: The war in Afghanistan, which the previous United States administration vowed to end, is set to see yet another escalation as NATO allies converge in Brussels for a key summit. A major point on the agenda will be a pote .. Read More
TORONTO: Pakistan managed to avoid this lethal bullet of extremely delicate regional powerplay far too long. It managed to keep Iran neutral while playing Lolita to Saudi Arabia, accepting all goodies the Saudi generosity showered ..
COLOMBO: During the period of the previous government May 18 became a day of tension in the North. The previous government celebrated the war victory over the LTTE in the South of the country, while prohibiting any public memorial ..
TORONTO: As noise pollution is escalating on the Pakistani airwaves with one buzzword – CPEC – the secrecy shrouding the $55 billion economic project is getting denser by the day. The promises and vows to make this ass ..
COLOMBO: There was some uncertainty whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka to join the country in its celebration of the International Day of Vesak would turn embarrassing to the host government.
A suspected suicide bomber killed as many as 14 people in Afghanistan on Saturday and fighting between militants and security forces left at least 36 people dead on the first day of Islam's holy Month of Ramadan. In eastern Khost province, a Taliban attacker detonated a car bomb near a football field close to a military base. Najib Danish, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, put the death toll at 13 killed and eight wounded, including two children. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Khost attack, saying it was aimed at members of the Afghan security forces. In the north-western province of Badghis, militants attacked security forces in Qadis district, sparking fighting that killed 22 insurgents, six security forces, and eight civilians, said Zahir Bahand a spokesman for the provincial governor. The fighting also left 33 militants and 17 civilians wounded, he said. In Nangarhar province on Friday, some residents of Achin district rebelled against Islamic State fighters who had occupied much of that district, resulting in fighting that left 15 militants and six civilians dead.
U.S. warplanes were said to have dropped more weapons on Afghanistan in April than in any other single month since 2012, according to new statistics, as military officials pressed U.S. President Donald Trump to send thousands more troops to the country. The escalation in the use of American air power was partly due to an effort by U.S. commanders to wipe out a nascent Islamic State presence before the group could establish more of a foothold in the country. The U.S. Air Force unleashed 460 bombs, missiles, or other ordnance last month in Afghanistan, more than double the 203 weapons dropped in March and more than seven times the quantity deployed in April last year. Additional troops to be sent by Donald Trump could also be used to ramp-up air support, which had often been seen as decisive in preventing the total collapse of some Afghan defensive positions and relied on trained air controllers on the ground. The last time more weapons were dropped in a single month was August 2012, when nearly 80,000 U.S. troops were battling the Taliban and two years before former President Barack Obama declared an end to the combat mission in Afghanistan. U.S. military spokesman Captain Bill Salvin said the increase was due to greater latitude to provide air support to Afghan forces granted to military commanders by Obama last June, and the focus by General John Nicholson, who was leading the foreign forces in Afghanistan, on going after Islamic state. The numbers did not include strikes by the U.S. Army, which fielded attack helicopters in Afghanistan, but Salvin told Reuters that, all together, U.S. forces had conducted 898 "kinetic strikes" in the first four months of the year, compared with less than 300 in the same period in 2016. Last month United Nations investigators reported a "substantial" and "disturbing" increase in casualties from air strikes by U.S. warplanes, as well as by the Afghan Air Force.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigned yesterday in keeping with a deal he had reached with the Nepali Congress (NC) some 10 months ago. PM Dahal announced his resignation in a televised address, saying he wanted to break the culture of breaking political promises and that he would now move forward as per the deal he had reached with the Nepali Congress. Dahal’s resignation paved the way for NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba to take over the government leadership. The NC and CPN (Maoist Centre) in July last year had forged a “gentleman’s agreement” which said Dahal would become the prime minister with the NC’s backing until the local level elections and then make way for Deuba to take over. President Bidya Devi Bhandari approved his resignation. Dahal’s 30-minute address mainly focused on what his government had achieved in the last 10 months, which ranged from ridding the country of power cuts to successful conduction of the first phase of local elections to GDP growth to signing of the Belt and Road Initiative with China to Kathmandu-Nijgadh Expressway. Dahal, however, did not mention constitution amendment, one of the major commitments he had made with the Madhes-based parties before returning to power. Even after Dahal’s resignation, there was still confusion as to under whose leadership the second phase of polls would be conducted. It could take days before Deuba became the prime minister. Maoist Centre Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal, however, said a new government would be formed before the second phase of elections.