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Taliban dig-up Mullah Omar’s car



Mullah Omer, the elusive and reclusive one-eyed founding father of the Taliban, as soon as hid his private car by burying it when the US forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in retaliation for 9/11 assaults.

Based on a media report, the Taliban dug out the car of their founder in Zabul province, the place it was buried 21 years in the past. The Toyota car was buried by Mullah Omar when he arrived from Kandahar within the Zabul province of southern Afghanistan.

The automobile was discovered wrapped in plastic and principally undamaged. The entrance mirror was damaged nonetheless, a neighborhood mentioned.

The car will quickly be displayed on the Afghan Nationwide Museum.

Born in 1960 within the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, Mullah Omar fought with the Afghan fighters towards the Soviet military within the Nineteen Eighties and misplaced his proper eye in battle.

Some experiences counsel the Taliban chief had himself minimize out his wounded eye, whereas others counsel he was handled at a hospital in one of many neighbouring international locations.

After the Soviets pulled out in 1989, Omar is claimed to have returned to his native space as a prayer chief and trainer. He gathered a band of scholars which is later mentioned to have turn into the Taliban.

The Taliban took energy in Kabul below Omar’s management in 1996 however had been in a while toppled by a US-led invasion, in 2001.

Omar was often known as a unifying pressure among the many Taliban through the group’s insurgency towards the Afghan authorities and international troops.

His dying in 2013, reportedly resulting from an sickness, was not revealed by the group till July 2015.


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Taliban torn over reforms one yr after seizing energy



KABUL: One yr on from the Taliban’s return to energy in Afghanistan, some cracks are opening inside their ranks over the essential query of simply how a lot reform their leaders can tolerate.

Notorious throughout their first reign for his or her brutal crackdowns on rights and freedoms, the group vowed to rule in a different way this time.

On a superficial degree a minimum of, they seem to have modified in some respects.

Officers in Kabul have embraced know-how, whereas cricket matches are cheered in full stadiums.

Televisions have been banned beneath the Taliban authorities’s first incarnation, whereas Afghans now have entry to the web and social media.

Ladies are allowed to attend main faculty and ladies journalists are interviewing authorities officers — unthinkable throughout the Taliban’s first stint in energy within the Nineties.

The group’s hardline core, composed of battle-hardened veteran fighters, is in opposition to any important ideological change that might be considered as an indication of capitulation to their enemies within the West.

“You could have one (Taliban) camp, which is pushing forward with what they’re seeing as reforms, and one other camp that appears to assume even these meagre reforms are an excessive amount of,” mentioned Ibraheem Bahiss, an Afghanistan analyst with Worldwide Disaster Group.

The USA and its allies — which had bankrolled Afghanistan for 20 years — have locked the nation out of the worldwide banking system and billions in frozen belongings overseas, as they maintain out for reforms from the Taliban.

With out important progress, it’s the Afghan individuals who endure because the nation reels beneath a large financial disaster that has seen some households select between promoting their organs or their toddler daughters.

‘Retrograde dogmatic views’

On whether or not the Taliban are even able to reform, analysts are cautious that current coverage modifications quantity to little greater than “tokenism”.

“There are some circumstances the place we may level to an evolution in coverage, however let’s be very clear […] We’re nonetheless taking a look at an organisation that has refused to maneuver past very retrograde, dogmatic views,” mentioned Michael Kugelman, an Afghanistan specialist with the Washington-based Wilson Heart assume tank.

Most secondary colleges for women stay closed. Many ladies have been compelled out of presidency work, whereas many concern venturing out and being chastised by the Taliban.

Easy joys corresponding to music, shisha and card video games are strictly managed in essentially the most conservative areas, whereas protests have been crushed and journalists often threatened or detained.

Calls for from the West for an inclusive authorities have been ignored, and the assassination of Al-Qaeda’s chief in Kabul final week underlined the Taliban’s ongoing ties with jihadist teams.

Reform as capitulation

It’s from the Taliban’s energy base of southern Kandahar that the secretive supreme chief Hibatullah Akhundzada gathers his highly effective inside circle of veteran fighters and spiritual clerics to impose a harsh interpretation of sharia.

And for them, ideological considerations outweigh any political or financial drivers to impact change.

“The wants of the Afghans stay the identical as 20 years in the past,” Mohammad Omar Khitabi, a member of a council of clerics who advise Akhundzada in Kandahar, informed AFP.

His ideas are echoed by Kandahar’s Vice and Advantage Director Abdul Rahman Tayabi, one other shut aide of the supreme chief.

“Our individuals should not have too many calls for, like individuals in different international locations might need,” he informed AFP.

Afghan households have been left shocked in March when Akhundzada overturned the schooling ministry’s resolution to reopen secondary colleges for women.

Some analysts imagine he felt uneasy over what might be seen by hardliners as an act of give up to the West on women’ rights.

Hopes of restoring worldwide cash flows have been shattered — to the dismay of many Taliban officers in Kabul, a few of whom spoke out in opposition to the choice.

Relations with Western diplomats — who meet often with Taliban ministers however haven’t any entry to Akhundzada — suffered a significant setback.

A slew of directives that harked again to the primary reign of the Taliban shortly adopted.

“The selections that (Akhundzada) has made to this point are all primarily based on the opinions of non secular students,” mentioned Abdul Hadi Hammad, the top of a madrassa and member of the supreme chief’s advisory council.

Akhundzada has confused the necessity for unity within the motion as he fastidiously seeks to stability a number of factions — together with competing teams that declare the credit score for the 2021 victory over US-led forces.

Whereas advisers to Akhundzada declare the Taliban can survive with out overseas revenue, unlocking billions of {dollars} in frozen belongings overseas could be an important lifeline.

“We all know the Taliban will be transactional, however they can’t look like transactional,” a Western diplomat informed AFP on situation of anonymity.

Financial strain

Throughout the motion, nobody dares overtly problem Akhundzada’s energy, however discontent is quietly rising among the many decrease ranks.

“Taliban guards are getting their salaries late, and their salaries are low too. They’re sad,” mentioned one mid-level Taliban official primarily based in northwestern Pakistan, who requested to not be named.

Many have returned to their villages or travelled to Pakistan to take up totally different work, one other Taliban member added.

Makes an attempt by the motion to shore up income by way of profitable coal mining have sparked infighting within the north, exacerbated by ethnic divisions and spiritual sectarianism.

With winter only some months away, meals safety and freezing temperatures will put much more strain on the leaders of one of many world’s poorest international locations.

These mounting stresses have the potential to worsen divisions, Kugelman mentioned, although possible not sufficient to power any dramatic shift in coverage.

“If the Taliban management begin to really feel very actual threats to their political survival, then may they modify?” he requested.

“Provided that they’re ideologically centered, that might not be the case.”

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China defends countermeasures over Pelosi’s Taiwan area go to



BEIJING: Chinese language countermeasures in response to U.S. Home of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s go to to Taiwan area are a crucial warning in opposition to the provocations made by the U.S. and “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, the Chinese language Ministry of Nationwide Protection mentioned on Monday.

The countermeasures are a professional protection of nationwide sovereignty and safety, that are utterly affordable, acceptable and proportionate, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson for the ministry, mentioned.

Wu made the remark amid U.S. media reviews from final week saying that Pentagon chiefs’ calls to China go unanswered.

Wu mentioned that the U.S. aspect should bear full duty and severe penalties for its provocation and accused Washington of making the present tense scenario within the Taiwan Straits.

China introduced eight countermeasures on August 5 together with cancelling the China-U.S. Protection Coverage Coordination Talks (DPCT), China-U.S. Navy Maritime Consultative Settlement (MMCA) conferences and China-U.S. Theater Commanders Discuss.

The Chinese language Overseas Ministry on Monday additionally referred to as the navy drills round Taiwan “professional and affordable,” saying they’re being carried out in an open, clear {and professional} method.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin famous the navy drills are a powerful deterrent, aiming at safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, stopping the USA’ try to make use of Taiwan to comprise China and shattering the Taiwan authorities’ fantasy to pursue Taiwan independence by soliciting the help of the USA.

He added China’s transfer abides by worldwide legislation and the fundamental norms governing worldwide relations, particularly an important precept of worldwide legislation, non-interference in inside affairs, as stipulated within the UN Constitution.

Requested in regards to the points associated to Sino-U.S. dialogue and communication, Wang responded that dialogue and communication require sincerity, saying China will proceed to make severe representations to the U.S. aspect concerning Pelosi’s go to to Taiwan.

Wang reiterated that China urges the U.S. aspect to noticeably mirror on the scenario, instantly appropriate its errors, cease condoning and supporting the “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces and cease taking part in the “Taiwan card” to make use of Taiwan to comprise China.

He additionally warned the U.S. aspect to cease reversing black and white, blaming the harmless, escalating the scenario and increasing the disaster, including the U.S. ought to abide by the one-China precept and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués with concrete actions.

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China pronounces recent army drills round Taiwan



Pelosi’s go to to Taiwan final week infuriated China, which regards the self-ruled island as its personal and responded with take a look at launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the primary time, in addition to ditching some traces of dialogue with Washington.

The length and exact location of the most recent drills will not be but identified, however Taiwan has already eased flight restrictions close to the six earlier Chinese language train areas surrounding the island.

Shortly earlier than the most recent drills had been introduced, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, telling him she was moved by his dedication to go to regardless of China’s army strain.

“Prime Minister Gonsalves has expressed in latest days that the Chinese language army drills wouldn’t forestall him from visiting buddies in Taiwan. These statements have deeply touched us,” Tsai mentioned at a welcome ceremony for Gonsalves in Taipei.

It was unclear if Tsai had invited Gonsalves earlier than or after Pelosi’s go to. “We don’t disclose inside planning or communications between governments,” the Taiwanese overseas ministry mentioned when requested by Reuters.

Past the firing of 11 short-range ballistic missiles throughout the 4 earlier days of workout routines, Chinese language warships, fighter jets and drones manoeuvred extensively across the island.

Shortly earlier than these drills ended on Sunday, about 10 warships every from China and Taiwan manoeuvred at shut quarters across the unofficial median line of the Taiwan Strait, in response to an individual accustomed to the scenario who’s concerned with safety planning.

A Chinese language state tv commentator mentioned late on Sunday that the Chinese language army would now conduct “common” drills on the Taiwan facet of the road.


In Taipei, defence ministry spokesman Solar Li-fang informed reporters that Taiwan’s armed forces had “calmly” dealt with the Chinese language drills. Earlier, the ministry had mentioned the drills had used warships, plane and drones to simulate assaults on the island and its navy.

China’s designated no-fly zones, and crossings of the median line, have “compressed” Taiwan’s coaching area and can have an effect on the conventional operation of worldwide flights and air routes sooner or later, the ministry mentioned in a press release.

Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin mentioned on Monday that China was conducting regular army workout routines “in our personal waters” in an open, clear {and professional} approach, including that Taiwan was a part of China.

When requested whether or not China’s ongoing drills abided by worldwide legislation and whether or not new warnings for civilian air and sea visitors can be issued, Wang mentioned related departments issued well timed bulletins in step with each home and worldwide legislation.

China’s defence ministry in the meantime maintained its diplomatic strain on the US, defending its shelving of military-to-military talks in protest at Pelosi’s go to.

“The present tense scenario within the Taiwan Strait is fully provoked and created by the US facet by itself initiative, and the US facet should bear full duty and severe penalties for this,” defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian mentioned in an internet publish.

“The underside line can’t be damaged, and communication requires sincerity,” Wu mentioned.

China referred to as off formal talks involving theatre-level instructions, defence coverage coordination and army maritime consultations on Friday as Pelosi left the area.

Pentagon, State Division and White Home officers condemned the transfer, describing it as an irresponsible over-reaction.

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