World U.N. decries attacks on Afghan media at time when dialogue needed most
Fearing Biden will reverse Trump's troop withdrawal, many Taliban return to front lines
“Senior commanders and governors have been directed to return to their positions and attend special sessions and discussions,” one leader said.“Senior commanders and governors have been directed to return to their positions and attend special sessions and discussions to chalk out a future strategy,” a Taliban commander in Helmand province said.
By Abdul Qadir Sediqi
KABUL (Reuters) - The United Nations on Monday denounced attacks on Afghan journalists and human rights activists at a time when dialogue was needed more than ever amid talks to try to end two decades of war.
The Afghan government and Taliban militants began peace talks in Doha last September, but negotiations have largely stalled. Washington is reviewing a deal that would have seen Western troops leave the country by May.
Overnight Defense: Pentagon says extremist groups 'very aggressively recruit' troops | Capitol Guard deployment estimated at $483M | No US combat deaths in Afghanistan for a year | VA secretary confirmed
Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: As the Pentagon looks to root out extremists from its ranks, one of the issues it faces is extremist groups actively recruiting service members.On Monday, the Defense Department's top spokesman said such groups "veryTHE TOPLINE: As the Pentagon looks to root out extremists from its ranks, one of the issues it faces is extremist groups actively recruiting service members.
“The Afghan people need and deserve a flourishing civic space - a society where people can think, write and voice their views openly, without fear,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“The voices of human rights defenders and the media are critical for any open and decent society."
Between Jan. 1, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2021, 65 human rights defenders and media professional were killed, the UN report said. Five human rights activists and six journalists were killed in the four months after the peace talks began.
Afghanistan is experiencing a new wave of "intentional, premeditated and deliberate targeting of individuals with perpetrators remaining anonymous", prompting professionals to quit their jobs and leave their homes, and journalists to exercise self-censorship.
Suspect Charged After Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu Offer $25k Reward to Find Man Attacking Asian Americans
Police have arrested a man in connection with three attacks targeting Asian Americans in Oakland's Chinatown last month.Yahya Muslim, 28, was charged with assault, battery, elder abuse and a special allegation while on bail, according to Alameda County Sheriff's Office. The office also said Muslim had two prior felony assault convictions.
Many of the attacks involve small improvised explosives called "sticky bombs," which are typically attached to the underside of vehicles.
Few have ever been claimed by any warring party, although the government has said the Taliban are responsible. The group says it only targets government officials.
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, are seeking to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul and reimpose Islamic rule.
Islamic State militants also operate in Afghanistan, and government officials have said they have ties to the Taliban, another charge the Taliban denies.
Afghanistan's spy agency said it broke up two cells in the past week in Kabul that were jointly operating between Islamic State and the Taliban-linked Haqqani network. It said they were responsible for assassinations of officials and activists and rocket attacks in the capital.
(Writing by Umar Farooq; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Joe Biden's State Department Denies Role in Taliban Pipeline Talks With Turkmenistan .
After the president canceled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline claims swirled alleging his administration's involvement in the central Asian pipeline project.The U.S has been a long-time supporter of the so-called "TAPI pipeline," named after the countries it is planned to cross. Although the Clinton, Obama and Trump adminstrations have supported it, the U.S. has not spent any money on it, according to PolitiFact.