The West Is Blind To The Rest

The West Is Blind To The Rest

The global fault-lines, which have been ripped open after the ongoing genocide in Gaza, has been unparalleled in world history, especially in the recent past. For instance, western opinion and active participation consequent to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including the order of the International Court of Justice in Hague on Russia, has had no impact on Vladimir Putin.

The mindless war continues with thousands dead across both sides, many of them with shared families, cultures and memories, who fought the Nazis together during and after the Holocaust, and made massive sacrifices. More than 20 million people of Soviet Russia died fighting the fascists. Also, after the Russian invasion, if the heart of America, Britain, France and Germany beats so hard for Ukraine, whatever happened in Gaza?

Remember the ethnic-cleansing and repeated massacres of one community during the civil war in Serbia-Bosnia-Herzegovnia — this too was happening right inside the heart of Europe. It took the entire West months of deadpan detachment to act, before NATO unleashed its jet aircraft and bombs. Slobodan Milosevic, the Butcher of Serbia — was he punished in his lifetime? Many of these butchers were, ironically, former communists in Yugoslavia.

Come to think of it, till the time Adolf Hitler attacked Poland in 1939, America and Europe acted totally blind to the long convoys of trains taking millions of Jews to the gas-death chambers, zigzagging through Europe. They simply chose to look the other way, even while France and Britain pretended to be helpless after the extermination of most of their young men in the first world war, another mindless war where the League of Nations was as impotent, as has been the role of the United Nations during the NATO wars unleashed in Iraq and Syria, the American invasion of tiny Vietnam earlier, while backing dictators of sundry banana republics in Latin America.

Did anyone ever say that George Bush was a war criminal for the tens of thousands of Iraqis dead whereby they did not find one weapon of mass destruction in this insatiable American quest of ‘blood for oil’? And that Bush too should have been hauled up in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague like Ratko Miladic, for the mass murders he unleashed in what was former Yugoslavia? Or Hillary Clinton, for unleashing a relentless wave of destruction in Syria and the bestiality unleashed in the murder of Gaddafi in Libya?

Imagine the mass suffering, as a civil war erupted in Iraq, with the war splitting over to Syria unleashed by Clinton and Barack Obama, with entire communities of Yazidi women taken as sex slaves by the ISIS. Who were the patrons of ISIS and where did they get their arms? The American regimes and its allies have their best interests in keeping the pot boiling in the Middle-East till the time oil exists in its vast underground, and till the time Israel can be used as a strategic military force by the US.

ALSO READ: Gaza – Where Tears Have Run Dry

The ICJ did not order Israel to stop its armed assaults – it has asked it to stop its genocidal actions, thereby recognizing that it is a genocide and that the situation in Gaza is catastrophic. While it may take years to give a final judgement, it has largely followed the nine “provisional measures” demanded by South Africa. It is significant that South Africa which suffered an apartheid regime backed by the US and Britain, is now fighting another apartheid regime, backed by the US and Britain!

The 17 judges in Hague ordered that Israel should do everything in its power to avoid killing Palestinians, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, creating unlivable living conditions in, or intentionally preventing Palestinian births, which is a pointer to scores of children being killed due to the bombing of hospitals, the murder of doctors and nurses, and stark absence of medical facilities.

Pointing at the crass declarations by politicians, including Israel’s president and defence minister, calling for the elimination of all Palestinians, including children and women, branding the people of Gaza as animals, etc, the court said that Israel should do more to “prevent and punish” public incitement to genocide. The court ordered “immediate and effective measures” to look into the humanitarian catastrophe.

Isreal can disobey the order, but it is morally bound to obey it, even as it its government is totally isolated across the entire globe, while there have been huge protests in Tel Aviv asking Benjamin Netanyahu to quit. Indeed, the Hague ruling is unprecedented because it has created a huge public perception against Israel across the globe, and serious moral dilemma for the US, Britain, Germany and France, who are openly backing the mass murder of children in Gaza, with Joe Biden actually funding the bombings with millions.

Called ‘Genocide Joe’ now, even by his Democrat supporters, especially the millennials, and hitting 80, there have been massive protests in America (300,000 in Washington DC) and in Europe (half-a-million in London) – as well as in other nations. Even the caucus rally in South Carolina by a thoroughly discredited Kamala Harris had Palestinian flags in the audience.

Indeed, Jewish Groups for Peace in America have been the most vociferous against Netanyahu’s brand of Zionism, whereby he is using mythical narratives to unleash the savagery. The role of notorious Jewish lobbies, including among big business and multinationals, have been dissected publicly by activists, academics and journalists, especially that of the shadowy America Israel Pubic Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Not only does this outfit have tremendous power over various American regimes, both Republicans and Democrats, with their huge money resources and powerful connections, they can shape the destiny of the presidential polls in America. There are allegations that they are pumping in huge money to get those candidates defeated who have opposed the regime in Tel Aviv.

It is indeed a bad faith choice for Americans now, between two very old and unprincipled men who have discarded all values of basic humanity and ethics, and who seem untouched by the 10,000 dead children, the daily violation of international laws, the bombing of churches, mosques, schools, university campuses, refugee camps, hospitals, the killings of more than 100 journalists. They stand totally committed to the ultra-orthodox, Rightwing, extremist Israeli regime, and its barbarism in Palestine.

For a capitalist empire with vast inequalities and thousands of homeless on its big city streets in this freezing cold, the collective guilt and anxiety for its relentless mass murders across the globe – from Vietnam to Gaza – is a psychological epidemic. That thousands have consistently protested across its cities, especially women and the young, only shows that a regime which feeds on barbarism has no democratic credibility, and is as inhuman as any other totalitarian or fascist regime.

With all credit to the West and Europe for its resurrection of arts, architecture, classical music, cinema, academics and culture in the post-war scenario, its governments are most often followers of the Hobbesean principle – they are short, nasty, brutish and barbaric. And that they care a damn for democracy, higher civilizational values, and basic human conduct.

Hence, this high moral ground with which the white empire looks down at the Orientals, has been yet again exposed with its total endorsement of the genocide in Gaza. Yet again, it has taken 25,000 human beings to die by Hiroshima-Nagasaki type of bombing, including 10,000 plus children, and infinite suffering and injustice, to show the cracked, blood-stained mirror to these western empires.

Indeed, it is the people of these countries, now on the streets in mourning and in protest for Gaza – they must show the way. It’s time the West and America discovers a radical paradigm shift in its politics, and creates a new counter-culture of humane civilizational evolution, defying the medieval cruelties of the present and the past. Or else, it would continue to be Eyeless in Gaza and other endless stories of stark silence and barbarism!

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Taliban Afghanistan Earthquake

Taliban Refuses To Accept Pakistan’s Aid For Earthquake Victims

Taliban in Afghanistan has refused to accept aid from Pakistan for earthquake victims, Pakistan-based The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

Afghanistan was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake last Saturday, leaving at least 1,000 people dead and affecting many villages. There was further damage when another quake hit the region on Wednesday.

Pakistan offered support to the country as Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar announced sending rescue and relief teams along with essential aid. However, the consignment and rescuers were not dispatched to Afghanistan after Kabul refused to give clearance. Although there was no official word from either side, the current tension between the two countries seemed to be the main reason for the Afghan rejection.

As per The Express Tribune, the main reason Pakistan did not send rescue and relief teams and the aid was because of the Afghan Taliban’s reluctance to accept them.

The development was seen in the context of ongoing tension between the two countries over the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Pakistan’s recent series of moves that include the deportation of all illegal Afghan immigrants, visa policy for Afghans and restrictions imposed on Afghan imports, further complicated relations between the two countries.

At a weekly news briefing on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan expressed deep sympathy with its Afghan “brothers and sisters, as they face a very difficult situation following the earthquake that took place a few days ago”.

“Pakistan also stands in solidarity with its Afghan brothers and sisters and remains in contact with the Interim Afghan Government to meet any needs that they may have during the relief and recovery efforts,” she added without further sharing details as to why Pakistan did not dispatch aid to the neighbouring country yet.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson strongly condemned the “indiscriminate and disproportionate” use of force by Israeli authorities against the civilian population in Gaza and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

“We are deeply concerned about the fast-deteriorating and dire humanitarian situation in Gaza due to the inhumane blockade and collective punishment by Israeli forces. The decision to cut off electricity, fuel and water supplies is unjust and should be reversed, as it would severely impact the lives of the Palestinians residing in the enclave,” she stressed, as per Dawn. (ANI)

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Women And Men Are Not Equal: Taliban Education Minister

Taliban-appointed acting minister of Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadim emphasized that based on Sharia, men and women are not equal, reported TOLO News. 

During a meeting at Baghlan University, he said that attempts are being made to demolish the current system under the pretext of concerns related to women. 

The acting minister of higher education, Neda Mohammad Nadim, said in a meeting at Baghlan University that there are now attempts being made to demolish the current system under the excuse of concerns related to women.

According to TOLO News, he noted that despite Western nations trying to demonstrate that men and women have equal rights, women and men are “not equal”. 

“The Almighty Allah has distinguished between men and women. A male is the ruler, he has the authority, he must be obeyed, and the woman must accept his world. A woman is not equal to a man; however, they (Western nations) have placed her above a man,” said Nadim.

He further said that the duties of the current government are to behave well towards the people and provide security and justice, reported TOLO News. 

“This is the responsibility of the Islamic Emirate: to treat the people well. It should bring ease, it should bring good news, there should be no hatred, there should be no differences among the officials, and the second thing is to ensure security,” he said.

Whereas, some professors and students of Baghlan University asked the acting Higher Education Ministry to create a suitable educational environment in universities, especially Baghlan University.

Sayed Sati, a lecturer at Baghlan University said, “The most crucial requirements and conditions that can make a university grow in terms of science and research are the provision of facilities and equipment.”

Moreover, one of the students Yama Barna said, “The lack of regular transportation for students is the first issue. It should be taken care of because the distance between the city and the institution is great. The second issue is the lack of a dorm, which students have experienced for years.”

In a speech at Kunduz University, the acting higher education minister, Neda Mohammad Nadim, stressed the ministry’s efforts to address these issues and expand resources for universities, reported TOLO News. 

However, Afghanistan’s women have faced numerous challenges since the Taliban returned to power in 2021. Girls and women in the war-torn country have no access to education, employment and public spaces.

A startling 80 per cent of Afghan girls and young women, who are of school-going age, are currently denied access to education under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, a new report by Care International stated, according to Khaama Press.

It has been more than two years since girls above grade six have been prohibited from attending schools in Afghanistan, and it is unclear when those doors will reopen, Tolo News reported.

Afghanistan remains the only country to ban girls’ and women’s education, resulting in a substantial economic toll of approximately USD 5.4 billion. (ANI)

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Afghanistan Qatar

Engagement With Afghanistan Will Work, Not Isolation: Qatar

Following the worsening situation in Afghanistan, the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of Qatar Majed Al-Ansari said that the complete isolation of Afghanistan will not work and the only way forward is engagement, reported TOLO News. 

“We fully understand that the situation in Afghanistan today is not easy for the international community to engage with the current government, but complete isolation is not the situation, it didn’t work, it will not work” and “the only way forward is engagement,” he said. 

Moreover, Ansari highlighted that Qatar is working to mediate in Afghanistan and the rest of the world. 

“Afghanistan is a very important topic for Qatar. We are highly invested in that issue. We are working on mediating between Afghanistan and the rest of the world basically. So, a lot of things to be done,” he added.

Meanwhile, according to some political analysts, it is important to have a mediator to resolve the current situation in Afghanistan, TOLO News reported. 

Sayed Qaribullah Sadat, a political analyst said, “The issue of China and Taiwan is a problem, and a mediator is needed. The issue of Saudi Arabia and Iran has a problem, and a mediator is needed, similarly, Afghanistan’s position from a political and economic point of view and the challenges that Afghanistan’s politics face, needs a mediator.”

Another political analyst noted that Qatar can be a good mediator in the ongoing situation of Afghanistan as its political journey began from Qatar. 

“Qatar can both pave the way and become a good mediator in the current situation because the political journey of the Islamic Emirate started from Qatar,” said Mohammad Ajmal Zurmati, a political analyst.

Moreover, according to TOLO News, Ansari said Qatar’s Foreign Minister and the Taliban leader have discussed various issues in a meeting, including women’s right to work and education, reported TOLO News. 

Earlier this week, the UN special rapporteur for Afghanistan, Richard Bennett said that women and girls in Afghanistan have lost trust in the global community and the international community has betrayed Afghan women, reported Khaama Press.

Bennett made these remarks during a session titled “Combatting Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan” on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly held on Friday.

Further, he called for practical measures to end gender apartheid in Afghanistan.

He stated that Afghan women and girls have been left isolated and a sense of mistrust towards the global community has developed among Afghan women.

Afghan women have been facing discrimination and injustice for two years now. Be it in terms of education, jobs, or life, they have been suffering since the Taliban took over.

Taliban leaders have also disregarded international calls for women and girls to be given access to education and employment. Apparently, they have also issued warnings to other nations not to meddle in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs. (ANI) 

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Living With The Taliban

Living With The Taliban

Two years after it evacuated from Afghanistan, the United States is still analysing the consequences of engaging militarily in a nation/region and those that entail withdrawal, with “lessons for the future,” as per the latest report submitted to the US Congress by US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan John F Spocko.

More detailed and forthright is the response of former US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ryan Crocker. He said at the congressional hearing: “The first is to be careful about what you get into. Military interventions bring consequences.., consequences that we cannot even imagine, let alone plan for.” The second lesson was that “a withdrawal can have consequences as far-reaching and as serious as those of an intervention.., (as) we simply cede the field to our adversaries.”

One can only hope that this wisdom by hindsight would help in future, given America’s penchant for intervention and compulsion to stay on top of the global power game.

Crocker lists the “third lesson” of the need for “strategic patience.” The US failure to do so in Afghanistan, he said, had “its greatest impact… next door in Pakistan” where “allies came to fear our lack of strategic patience.” Crocker is wrong here and adds to the American delusion. Pakistan sheltered the Taliban for two decades hoodwinking the world and facilitated their return. Then Prime Minister Imran Khan called the US exit “freedom from slavery”. Far from gaining any “strategic depth”, it is running back to the US “to combat terrorism and ensure regional stability.” The US may oblige, without direct intervention. So, here we go again!

Zalmay Khalilzad midwifed the 2020 Doha Agreement with the Taliban because Donald Trump wanted to “bring the boys home” in time for his presidential re-election. ‘Boys’ returned, badly bruised, under Joe Biden. Khalilzad proposed that Afghan politicians, now living in exile, return to their country, “make a unity government and negotiate with the Taliban.” One may ask if he would risk returning to Kabul to be part of the talks with the ‘good’ Taliban.

American media and think tank reports indicate that the US thinks the Taliban may be “more willing to oblige now than ever before,” because of the growing rivalry between them and other militants, particularly the ISIS-K. Again, this delusionary vision needs to be cleared with some more introspection. Although threatened, the Taliban are unlikely to beg the world community for help.

Kabul has recently appealed only for “more transparent” dealing by the world, which can be interpreted as diplomatic recognition. But there is not even a hint in the address by their chief, Heibatullah Akhundzada, about sharing power with anyone, or a better deal for women. On both scores, the Taliban, perhaps, consider themselves as more Muslims than others. The Islamic nations are extremely wary, not for lack of solidarity but for the Taliban’s threat potential.

ALSO READ: How To Deal With A Stubborn Taliban

Other than this, the world cannot but worry on two counts: the abject poverty of the Afghan people, a majority of whom, as per the UN, do not get enough food and medical help. And as the Taliban must, Afghanistan has become a terror hub whose impact can go well beyond its borders and the region. The ISIS-K has relocated from West Asia and Al Qaida operates directly and through affiliates from Arab and Central Asian militant groups.

More experienced than they were and more cautious, but the Taliban are not very different from what they were when in power (1996-2001). There have been 51 bans on women, stymying their normal existence and taking away whatever freedom they gained during the Soviet era of the 1980s and the US-one during 2002-2021.

A mix of defiance and resignation pervades in Kabul. Those in government are under the firm control of their ideological mentors in Kandahar. They are ready to sit out for any recognition that would have to come on their terms.

The Taliban have shown tactical patience in warding off global pressures amidst poverty and isolation. Despite the obvious advantage, Pakistan enjoys as the principal provider of access to the world outside, a landlocked Afghanistan has sought to leverage its position. For one, it wants to bargain any cooperation on reining in the marauding Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by seeking larger trade and more trading points on the border. For Kabul, the TTP is a point of leverage against Islamabad. The latter, so far, has no clue how to tackle the TTP, with or without Kabul’s cooperation.

In a bitter irony, Pakistan’s Ambassador to US Masood Khan has said that the TTP and other militant groups were using weapons left behind by US troops for attacking targets in Pakistan. As per American media reports, the US forces left behind $7billion worth of military equipment and weapons, including firearms, communications gear, and even armoured vehicles. While Kabul enjoys the bigger booty, small arms and ammunition are used by the TTP to make violent forays targeting Pakistani security forces.

The Kabul rulers treat TTP, whose fighters had fought alongside in 2021 as ideological brothers and guests – the same sentiment that made them host Osama bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The US eliminated the latter with Pakistani logistic support. That, despite denials by Islamabad and silence by Washington, is likely to continue.

Retired Pakistani diplomat Ashraf Jahangir Qazi writes in Dawn (August 17, 2023): “Mullah Akhundzada also asks pertinent questions. Why out of Afghanistan’s six neighbours only Pakistan, which has fenced almost its entire border, complain of terrorism from Afghanistan? Is it because Pakistan cannot contain the TTP which actually operates from inside Pakistan with on-and-off support from certain quarters?” For obvious reasons, Qazi does not elaborate on “certain quarters” that are doubly betrayed, by the Taliban and the TTP.

As the US loses strategic space, the net gainer is China. The Afghan-China border trade via the Wakhan Corridor is set to begin even as Kabul seeks Chinese investment in copper mining and energy/infrastructure projects. With Pakistan, its biggest ally in the region, China is working to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. Even if fraught with security risks and heavy investment, the ‘CPAEC’ opens new vistas for China. Pakistan wants it extended to Turkey as well. Even a partial success of all these plans cannot leave Afghanistan untouched.

This may seem far-fetched today – so was the CPEC – but fits into China’s plans in the vast region where its economic footprint can grow wider. Deft diplomatic moves in facilitating an Iran-Saudi Arabian rapprochement earlier this year have shown that China can pull off successes in areas that the West for long considered its backyard.

Two years of Taliban are but a speck in Afghanistan’s long history as the crossroad of invaders and emperors, conquerors, scholars, builders and travellers. Sadly, however, peace has eluded its people. There is no idea how many more generations will have to suffer.

The writer can be reached at

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Women's Integrated Services Centre in kabul

Afghanistan: Women’s Integrated Services Centre To Be Set Up In Kabul

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) are partnering to set up a Women’s Integrated Services and Facilities Centre in Kabul, Khaama Press reported.

The UNHCR said the integrated services and facilities centre will support women-run businesses, training programs, and financial support to female entrepreneurs.
The initiative was launched with UNODC and AWCCI, aimed at supporting women-run businesses, training programs and more, UNHCR tweeted on Friday, according to Khaama Press.

Moreover, the organization said that the centre will help internally displaced people and Afghan refugees who have returned to the country.

The business centre for Afghan women will be established following the series of bans imposed by the Taliban regime restricting women and girls from having social and political engagements in Afghanistan for the past nearly two years, as per Khaama Press.

A large number of businesswomen and female entrepreneurs have been forced to stay at home since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

Whereas, a group of Afghan women entrepreneurs created a local market exclusively for women in Faizabad city of northeastern Badakhshan province which aimed at improving the economic well-being of needy families, according to Khaama Press. (ANI)

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Taliban Faces Backlash

Afghanistan: Taliban Planning To Shift Refugees Settled Alongside Durand Line

Taliban is planning to relocate the refugees settled alongside the Durand Line to other provinces in Afghanistan, TOLO News reported.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the decision has been taken to assure Pakistan that refugees are not involved in attacks against the Pakistani government.
“To give a general assurance, the Islamic Emirate planned to take the refugees, who come from the other side of the Durand Line in Khost and Kunar provinces, to far provinces, so that they will be away from the (Durand) line,” TOLO News quoted Zabiullah Mujahid as saying.

The Norwegian Refugee Council in 2014 revealed that the Pakistan military operation in North Waziristan District resulted in displacement of thousands of civilians into Afghanistan, particularly into Khost and Paktika provinces, TOLO News reported. In 2019, the NRC estimated that approximately 72,000 refugees remain and most of them live in Gulan Refugee Camp close to Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Khost.

In a report published on October 5, 2019, the Norwegian Refugee Council said, “While many of these refugees have since returned – it is estimated that approximately 72,000 refugees remain, the majority living in Gulan Refugee Camp close to the internationally recognized border between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Khost.”

“In addition, cross-border clashes around the Durand Line in May 2019 displaced a further 750 families from North Waziristan into Khost as well as over 400 refugee families who had been previously residing in Paktika,” it added.

Asadullah Nadim, a military analyst, stressed that the shifting of people will cause integration of population. Nadim said that the decision will not benefit the people and the region.

“Even if it is the shifting of Pakistani Taliban, or if it is shifting of the displaced refugees alongside the Durand Line, it will cause integration of the population. According to their definition, the far areas are those areas without Pashtuns. In both cases it’s not benefiting the people and region,” TOLO News quoted Asadullah Nadim as saying.

Earlier in May, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar urged the Taliban to address the banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) resurgence, TOLO News reported. She said that the engagement with the interim government in Afghanistan is “preconditioned” on the issue of TTP.

“The engagement with the Afghan interim government which is currently in Afghanistan is preconditioned on this issue (TTP). They have told us that they believe the blood of Pakistanis should not be poured but this has only been at a level of speech. They should prove some of the things because we have the ability to counter the TTP,” Hina Rabbani Khar said.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended its ceasefire with Pakistan government in November last year. Since then, the outfit has intensified its attacks, particularly targeting the police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and areas bordering Afghanistan. As per the TOLO News report, Khar’s statements come after Taliban official Bilal Karimi denied the presence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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80 Afghan Girls Hospitalised After Being Poisoned At Schools

An education official in Afghanistan said almost 80 girls were hospitalised after being poisoned at schools, Fox News said.

According to reports, the incidents happened over Saturday and Sunday in the province of Sar-e-Pul in the north.
Mohammad Rahmani, the director of the provincial department of education, said the poisoning had occurred in the Sangcharak district among female pupils in grades 1 through 6.

He said that 60 children at Naswan-e-Kabod Aab School and 17 more at Naswan-e-Faizabad School had been poisoned, Fox News reported.

“Both primary schools are near to each other and were targeted one after the other,” he said, adding, “We shifted the students to the hospital and now they are all fine.”

The department’s investigation is ongoing and initial inquiries show that someone with a grudge paid a third party to carry out the attacks, Rahmani said, without sharing further details. He gave no information on how the girls were poisoned or the nature of their injuries, according to Fox News.

It is thought to be the first time this kind of assault has happened since the Taliban swept to power in August 2021 and began their crackdown on the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls.

Girls are banned from education beyond sixth grade, including university, and women are barred from most jobs and public spaces Fox News reported.

The attack serves as a reminder of a wave of poisonings in neighbouring Iran targeting school-age girls, dating back to November. Thousands of students said they were sickened by noxious fumes in the incidents. But there has been no word on who might be behind the incidents or what — if any, chemicals have been used, Fox News reported. (ANI)

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Elections In Pakistan

Elections In Pak Less Likely After Anti-Terror Ops Announced

Amid a debate in political circles over the conduct of elections in Punjab in mid-May, the top civil and military leadership on Friday vowed to re-launch the National Action Plan (NAP) within 15 days to crush militants, Dawn reported.

Without directly blaming the previous PTI government for the resurgence of terrorism in tribal districts along the border with Afghanistan, top civil and military leadership agreed to initiate new multi-pronged and comprehensive operations and combined efforts on the diplomatic, security, economic and social fronts for the elimination of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
A committee formed for the purpose would present its recommendations within two weeks to implement the policy and draw its parameters, Dawn reported.

The decisions were made at the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Baber, Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, chief ministers of four provinces and federal cabinet members attended the meeting.

The NSC’s decision to launch a massive operation may further shrink the chances of elections in Punjab, two days after the government had categorically refused to implement the court order regarding May 14 polls, Dawn reported.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, while talking to Dawn, said that holding elections in Punjab was not on the agenda of the NSC meeting and that’s why the issue was not discussed in the civil and military leadership’s huddle. She, however, confirmed that a fresh NAP-like operation against militancy would start within 15 days.

Earlier, two similar plans had been launched in the country, one in 2002 and the second in 2014, Dawn reported.

An official press release issued by the PM Office said, “NSC approved a multi-pronged comprehensive operation with the support of the government and the nation to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the country with a new resolve, determination and valor”.

“The committee proclaimed that the recent wave of terrorism was the result of the soft corner and the absence of a well-thought-out policy against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which was declared a terrorist organization but against the public expectations and wishes, under the previous policy terrorists were allowed to return without any hindrance. In the name of confidence building, dangerous terrorists of the TTP were released from jails,” Dawn reported.

“It was noted that due to the return of the dangerous terrorists and support of different terrorist organisations to them from Afghanistan, peace and stability, which was the result of innumerable sacrifices and continuous efforts, was affected,” the official announcement said. (ANI)

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34 Naxals Surrender In Chhattisgarh, 4 Having Bounty Of Rs 1L

Reports Of Pak Air Strikes In Afghanistan At TTP Hideouts, Islamabad Denies

Pakistani forces launched an air strike on TTP strongholds in Nangarhar province, following repeated warnings from both Taliban-Pakistan governments.

Sources in Nangarhar on Thursday morning, January 5, said that Pakistani fighters bombed targets in the Salala neighborhood in the vicinity of the Gushta district.

Pakistan’s National Security Council (NSC) decided three days ago that the country’s forces should adopt a zero-tolerance policy against terrorists.

The government of Pakistan however denied any such strikes. The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday categorically rejected reports claiming that Pakistan had carried out airstrikes in Afghanistan, terming them to be “utterly baseless and malicious”.

The uncharacteristically strong-worded statement issued at the end of the NSC meeting, which spanned two days, said: “Pakistan’s security is uncompromisable and the full writ of the state will be maintained on every inch of the (sic) Pakistan’s territory.”

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