Putin, Erdogan discuss international cooperation, bilateral ties
Putin positively assessed the work of the Russian-Turkish center for monitoring the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, adding that it served to promote stability and reconciliation in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed cooperation on international issues and bilateral ties with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi on Wednesday.
Putin noted that Russian-Turkish cooperation in the international arena has been successful, further pointing to efforts aimed at coordinating positions on Syria and Libya, Xinhua news agency reported.
He positively assessed the work of the Russian-Turkish center for monitoring the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, adding that it served to promote stability and reconciliation in the region.
The Russian leader also emphasized the successful work of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline that continues to operate amid a turbulent situation in the European gas market.
Both leaders said work on the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in the Turkish province of Mersin was being carried out according to plan.
Erdogan noted progressive development with regard to military, trade, economic and political ties between the two countries and said peace in Syria is largely dependent on cooperation between Moscow and Ankara.
The meet comes after US President Joe Biden refused to grant a one-on-one meeting with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), a disappointed and angry Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish journalists in a briefing that he had managed to work well at times with former presidents, but not with Biden so far.
Just a day later, on September 24, speaking after prayers in Istanbul, Erdogan went on to criticize Biden for the second time within 24 hours – saying that he and Biden failed to bridge their differences at a meeting during his visit to New York and the recent talks with the United States president had proved disappointing.
Erdogan also accused the US of supporting “terror organizations” rather than fighting them, referring to the US partnership with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – in northern Syria.
Afghans set up government in exile
The statement read that Afghanistan has been occupied by external factors and based on the historic responsibility of the Afghan government after consultations with the elders of the country, they decided to announce the government in exile.
A number of former Afghan officials, who fled the country along with President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban takeover last month, have announced the continuation of the Afghan government in exile.
A statement released by the Afghan Embassy in Switzerland read that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the only legitimate government of Afghanistan that is elected by the votes of the people and no other government can replace a legitimate one, Khaama News reported.
The statement read that Afghanistan has been occupied by external factors and based on the historic responsibility of the Afghan government after consultations with the elders of the country, they decided to announce the government in exile.
“After the escape of Ashraf Ghani and his rupture with Afghan politics, his first vice-president (Amrullah Saleh) will be leading the country,” the statement said.
The statement also said that the three powers of the government namely executive, judicial, and legislative will be activated soon and they have been busy consulting in this regard., as per the report.
The statement has also announced their support to the resistance front – the anti-Taliban front led by Ahmad Masoud – and has added that all the embassies and consulates of Afghanistan will be functional as normal.
The statement is written and released by leaders of the previous government, political leaders, and other politicians but the names of none of them has been disclosed.
North Korea says hypersonic missile made first test flight
The missile test early Tuesday was North Korea’s third round of launches this month and took place shortly before North Korea’s U.N. envoy accused the United States of hostility
North Korea said Wednesday it successfully tested a new hypersonic missile it implied was being developed as nuclear-capable, as it continues to expand its military capabilities and pressure Washington and Seoul over long-stalled negotiations over its nuclear weapons.
The missile test early Tuesday was North Korea’s third round of launches this month and took place shortly before North Korea’s U.N. envoy accused the United States of hostility and demanded the Biden administration permanently end joint military exercises with South Korea and the deployment of strategic assets in the region.
A photo published in North Korea’s state media showed a missile mounted with a finned, cone-shaped payload soaring into the air amid bright orange flames. The official Korean Central News Agency said the missile during its first flight test met key technical requirements, including launch stability and the maneuverability and flight characteristics of the “detached hypersonic gliding warhead.”
The North’s announcement came a day after the South Korean and Japanese militaries said they detected North Korea firing a missile into its eastern sea. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launch highlighted “the destabilizing impact of (North Korea’s) illicit weapons program.”
North Korea last week made offers to improve relations with the South if certain conditions are met, apparently returning to its pattern of mixing weapons demonstrations with peace overtures to wrest outside concessions.
Negotiations over its nuclear program have been in a stalemate since February 2019. North Korea has demanded the lifting of U.S.-led sanctions while insisting it has the right to a nuclear weapons program. U.S. officials have made it clear the sanctions will stay in place until the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in recent political speeches has vowed to bolster his nuclear deterrent in the face of U.S. pressure. His government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s offer to resume talks without preconditions, saying that Washington must abandon its “hostile policy” first, a term North Korea mainly uses to refer to sanctions and joint U.S.-South Korea military drills the North considers to be an invasion rehearsal.
At a ruling party meeting in January, Kim named hypersonic glide vehicles, which are launched from a rocket before gliding into a target, among a wish-list of sophisticated military assets. KCNA described the new missile as an important addition to the country’s “strategic” weaponry, implying that the system is being developed to deliver nuclear weapons.
Japan’s ex-top diplomat Kishida to become new PM
Kishida replaces outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down after serving only one year since taking office last September.
Japan’s former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has won the governing party leadership election and is set to become the next prime minister. Kishida replaces outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is stepping down after serving only one year since taking office last September.
As the new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, Kishida is certain to be elected the next prime minister on Monday in parliament, where his party and coalition partner control the house.
Kishida beat Taro Kono, the vaccinations minister, in a runoff after moving ahead of two female candidates Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda in the first round.
Results showed Kishida had more support from party heavyweights who apparently chose stability over change advocated by Kono, who is known as something of a maverick.
The new leader is under pressure to change the party’s high-handed reputation worsened by Suga, who angered the public over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and insistence on holding the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The long-ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party desperately needs to quickly turn around plunging public support ahead of lower house elections coming within two months.
Kishida called for growth and distribution under his “new capitalism,” saying that the economy under Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had only benefited big companies.
Overall, little change is expected in key diplomatic and security policies under the new leader, said Yu Uchiyama, a political science professor at the University of Tokyo.
All of the candidates support close Japan-U.S. security ties and partnerships with other like-minded democracies in Asia and Europe, in part to counter China’s growing influence and a threat from nuclear-armed North Korea.
Wednesday’s vote was seen as a test of whether the party can move out of Abe’s shadow. His influence in government and party affairs has largely muzzled diverse views and shifted the party to the right.
Kishida is also seen as a choice that could prolong an era of unusual political stability amid fears that Japan could return to “revolving door” leadership.
“Concern is not about individuals but the stability of Japanese politics,” Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told a telephone briefing ahead of the vote. “It’s about whether or not we are entering a period in Japanese politics of instability and short-term prime ministership,” he said. “It makes it very hard to move forward on agenda.”
Suga is leaving only a year after taking office as a pinch hitter for Abe, who suddenly resigned over health problems, ending his nearly eight-year leadership, the longest in Japan’s constitutional history.
Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire
Meanwhile, Egyptian-mediated efforts to deliver a long-term truce have struggled with the sides unable to agree on a system to renew Qatari payments to needy Gaza families
Israeli aircraft struck a series of targets in the Gaza Strip early Monday in response to a series of rocket launches out of the Hamas-ruled territory. It was the third consecutive night of fighting between the enemies.
Tensions have been heightened following last week’s escape from an Israeli prison by six Palestinian inmates, as well as struggling efforts by Egypt to broker a long-term cease-fire in the wake of an 11-day war last May.
The Israeli military reported three separate rocket launches late Sunday and early Monday, saying at least two of them were intercepted by its rocket defenses.
In response, it said it attacked a number of Hamas targets. There were no reports of casualties on either side.
Over the weekend, Israel caught four of the six Palestinian inmates, who tunneled out of a maximum security prison on Sept. 6. Palestinian militants responded with rocket fire. Israel’s search for the last two prisoners is continuing.
Meanwhile, Egyptian-mediated efforts to deliver a long-term truce have struggled with the sides unable to agree on a system to renew Qatari payments to needy Gaza families. Israel has demanded guarantees that Hamas does not divert the money for military use.
Gaza is an impoverished territory whose population is overwhelmingly comprised of families who fled or were forced from properties in what is now Israel during the war surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948.
Hamas is pushing for Israel to end a crippling blockade that has devastated Gaza’s economy, while Israel is demanding that Hamas free two captive Israeli civilians and return the remains of two dead Israeli soldiers.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since ousting the forces of the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in 2007, a year after the Islamic militant group won Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Since then, Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and numerous smaller rounds of fighting.
Taliban: Women can study in gender-segregated universities
The Taliban have also banned women from sports and have used violence in recent days against women protesters demanding equal rights.
Women in Afghanistan can continue to study in universities, including at post-graduate levels, but classrooms will be gender-segregated and Islamic dress is compulsory, the Taliban government’s new higher education minister said on Sunday.
The announcement came as a Taliban official said Qatar’s foreign minister arrived in the Afghan capital of Kabul — the highest-level visitor since the Taliban announced their interim Cabinet. There was no immediate confirmation of the visit by Qatari officials.
Earlier Sunday, the higher education minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, laid out the new policies at a news conference, several days after Afghanistan’s new rulers formed an all-male government. On Saturday, the Taliban had raised their flag over the presidential palace, signaling the start of the work of the new government.
The world has been watching closely to see to what extent the Taliban might act differently from their first time in power, in the late 1990s. During that era, girls and women were denied an education and were excluded from public life.
The Taliban have suggested they have changed, including in their attitudes toward women. However, women have been banned from sports and the Taliban have used violence in recent days against women protesters demanding equal rights.
Haqqani said the Taliban did not want to turn the clock back 20 years. “We will start building on what exists today,” he said.
However, female university students will face restrictions, including a compulsory dress code. Haqqani said hijabs will be mandatory but did not specify if this meant compulsory headscarves or also compulsory face coverings.
Gender segregation will also be enforced, he said. “We will not allow boys and girls to study together,” he said. “We will not allow co-education.”
Haqqani said the subjects being taught would also be reviewed. While he did not elaborate, he said he wanted graduates of Afghanistan’s universities to be competitive with university graduates in the region and the rest of the world.
The Taliban, who subscribe to a strict interpretation of Islam, banned music and art during their previous time in power. This time around television has remained and news channels still show women presenters, but the Taliban messaging has been erratic.
In an interview on Afghanistan’s popular TOLO News, Taliban spokesman Syed Zekrullah Hashmi said last week that women should give birth and raise children. While the Taliban have not ruled out the eventual participation of women in government, the spokesman said “it’s not necessary that women be in the Cabinet.”
The Taliban seized power on Aug. 15, the day they overran Kabul after capturing outlying provinces in a rapid military campaign. They initially promised inclusiveness and a general amnesty for their former opponents, but many Afghans remain deeply fearful of the new rulers. Taliban police officials have beaten Afghan journalists, violently dispersed women’s protests, and formed an all-male government despite saying initially they would invite broader representation.
The new higher education policy signals a change from the accepted practice before the Taliban takeover. Universities were co-ed, with men and women studying side by side, and female students did not have to abide by a dress code. However, the vast majority of female university students opted to wear headscarves in line with tradition.
Taliban flag rises over seat of power on fateful anniversary
The white banner, emblazoned with a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, in a low-key ceremony
The Taliban raised their flag over the Afghan presidential palace Saturday, a spokesman said, as the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The white banner, emblazoned with a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, in a low-key ceremony, said Ahmadullah Muttaqi, multimedia branch chief of the Taliban’s cultural commission.
The flag-raising marked the official start of the work of the new government, he said. The composition of the all-male, all-Taliban government was announced earlier this week and was met with disappointment by the international community which had hoped the Taliban would make good on an earlier promise of an inclusive lineup.
In a tweet, Afghanistan’s first president to follow the 2001 collapse of the Taliban, Hamid Karzai, called for “peace and stability” and expressed the hope that the new caretaker Cabinet that included no women and no non-Taliban would become an “inclusive government that can be the real face of the whole Afghanistan.”
He marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America with a meeting of tribal elders on his high-walled compound in the Afghan capital where he has remained with his family since the August return of the Taliban to Kabul.
Two decades ago, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan with a heavy hand. Television was banned, and on Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the horrific attacks on America, the news spread from crackling radios across the darkened streets of the Afghan capital of Kabul.
The city rarely had electricity and barely a million people lived in Kabul at the time. It took the U.S.-led coalition just two months to drive the Taliban from the capital and by Dec. 7, 2001, they were defeated, driven from their last holdout in southern Kandahar, their spiritual heartland.
Twenty years later, the Taliban are back in Kabul. America has departed, ending its ‘forever war’ two weeks before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and two weeks after the Taliban returned to the Afghan capital on Aug. 15.
Some things have changed since the first period of Taliban rule in the 1990s.
This time, the gun-toting fighters don’t race through the city streets in their pickups. Instead, they inch through chaotic, clogged traffic in the city of more than 5 million. In Taliban-controlled Kabul in the 1990s, barbershops were banned. Now Taliban fighters get the latest haircuts, even if their beards remain untouched in line with their religious beliefs.
But the Taliban have begun issuing harsh edits that have hit women hardest, such as banning women’s sports. They have also used violence to stop women from demanding equal rights from protesting.
Inside a high-end women’s store in the city’s Karte Se neighborhood Saturday, Marzia Hamidi, a Taekwondo competitor with ambitions of being a national champion, said the return of the Taliban has crushed her dreams.
She was among the women attacked by the Taliban and called “agents of the West” during one of the recent protests. She said she’s not surprised about America’s withdrawal.
On Saturday, the Taliban even orchestrated a women’s march of their own. This one involved dozens of women obscured from head to toe, hidden behind layers of black veils. They filled an auditorium at Kabul University’s education center in a well-choreographed snub to the past 20 years of Western efforts to empower women.
Peru: Abimael Guzmán, head of Shining Path insurgency, dies
Guzmán launched an insurgency against the state in 1980 and presided over numerous car bombings and assassinations in the years that followed. Guzmán was captured in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison for terrorism and other crimes.
Abimael Guzmán, the leader of the brutal Shining Path insurgency in Peru who was captured in 1992, died on Saturday in a military hospital after an illness. He was 86. Guzmán died at 6:40 a.m. after suffering from an infection, Justice Minister Aníbal Torres said.
Guzmán, a former philosophy professor, launched an insurgency against the state in 1980 and presided over numerous car bombings and assassinations in the years that followed. Guzmán was captured in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison for terrorism and other crimes.
President Pedro Castillo tweeted that Guzmán was responsible for taking ’’countless″ lives. “Our position condemning terrorism is firm and unwavering. Only in democracy will we build a Peru of justice and development for our people,” Castillo said.
Even so, Castillo has faced criticism over alleged links of some of his Cabinet ministers to the Shining Path. Primer Minister Guido Bellido has been investigated by authorities over his alleged sympathy for the group. Last week, a media outlet made public police records from the 1980s that describe Labor Minister Iber Maraví as a Shining Path member and a fugitive.
“We do not forget the horror of that time, and his death will not erase his crimes,” Economy Minister Pedro Francke said.
Guzmán preached a messianic vision of a classless Maoist utopia based on pure communism, considering himself the “Fourth Sword of Marxism” after Karl Marx, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Mao Zedong. He advocated a peasant revolution in which rebels would first gain control of the countryside and then advance to the cities.
Guzmán’s movement declared armed struggle on the eve of Peru’s presidential elections in May 1980, the first democratic vote after 12 years of military rule.
Throughout the 1980s, the man known to his followers as Presidente Gonzalo built up an organization that grew to 10,000 armed fighters before his capture inside a Lima safehouse in September 1992 by a special intelligence group of the Peruvian police backed by the United States. Since then, he was housed in a military prison on the shores of the Pacific that were built to hold him.
A truth commission in 2003 blamed the Shining Path for more than half of nearly 70,000 estimated deaths and disappearances caused by various rebel groups and brutal government counterinsurgency efforts between 1980 and 2000.
UN humanitarian chief in Afghanistan for talks with Taliban
The authorities pledged to cooperate with the humanitarian community to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan, said the statement
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sent Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths to Kabul for talks with the Taliban leadership, a top official of the world body confirmed
“At the request of the Secretary-General, Martin Griffiths is currently in Kabul. During his visit today (Sunday), Griffiths met with Mullah Baradar and the leadership of the Taliban in Kabul to engage with the authorities on humanitarian issues,” Xinhua news agency quoted Stephane Dujarric, Guterres’ spokesman, as saying in a statement.
In this meeting, Griffiths reiterated the humanitarian community’s commitment to delivering impartial and independent humanitarian assistance and protection to millions of people in need, said the statement.
Griffiths emphasised the critical role of women in the delivery of aid and called on all parties to ensure their rights, safety and well-being, according to the statement.
He called for all civilians, especially women and girls and minorities, to be protected at all times and expressed his solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, it addd.
The authorities pledged that the safety and security of humanitarian staff, and humanitarian access to people in need, will be guaranteed and that humanitarian workers, both men and women, will be guaranteed freedom of movement.
The authorities pledged to cooperate with the humanitarian community to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan, said the statement.
Further meetings are expected in the coming days, it said.
Griffiths will also meet and convey his thanks on behalf of the UN to representatives of humanitarian organisations, who remain operational in the country and have assisted 8 million people this year, said the statement.
Presently in Afghanistan, half of the population, 18 million people, need humanitarian assistance to survive.
A third do not know where their next meal is coming from. More than half of all children under 5 are at risk of acute malnutrition.
A severe drought, the second in four years, will further contribute to hunger in the months ahead.
Now more than ever, the people of Afghanistan need the support and solidarity of the international community, the statement added.
4 people killed in Florida shooting
No police were injured in the shootout. The suspect reportedly was a survivalist “who came for a gunfight” and admitted to using methamphetamine
Four people, including an infant, were killed in the US state of Florida, according to local media reports.
An 11-year-old girl was injured after being shot “multiple times” in the incident on Sunday in Lakeland, Xinhua news agency quoted the reports as saying.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the shootings took place at 4.30 a.m. in two separate houses, adding that the suspect surrendered after being wounded in a shootout with police.
No police were injured in the shootout, he added.
The suspect reportedly was a survivalist “who came for a gunfight” and admitted to using methamphetamine.