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Pakistan army believes NATO attack planned: reports

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A senior Pakistani military officer said a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops on the border with Afghanistan last month was pre-planned, newspapers reported on Friday, comments likely to fuel tension with the United States. Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, director general of military operations, also…

Afghan attacks raise fears of sectarian violence

Deadly blasts at Afghan shrines that left 59 people dead on Shiite Muslims’ holiest day have raised fears the war-weary nation now faces the prospect of an eruption of Iraq-style sectarian violence. The Afghan Taliban has denied responsibility for the blasts in Kabuland the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and leading Shiites inAfghanistan have pointed the finger…

Key senators urge review of aid to Pakistan

WASHINGTON — The United States must “fully review” ties to Pakistan and weigh possible cuts or new restrictions to military and economic aid, Republican US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged Monday. “The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable…

Clinton begins five-nation Europe tour

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left on Sunday for a five-day European trip which will take in a key international conference on the future of Afghanistan. Clinton’s trip starts in the German city of Bonn where she will lead the US delegation to Monday’s conference, which aims…

Afghan human rights situation ‘still critical’ 10 years on

The human rights situation remains “critical” in Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s ouster 10 years ago, Human Rights Watch said, accusing Kabul and its Western backers of failing to prioritise rights conditions. The US-based group on Sunday said the government had missed opportunities to put the rights of Afghans at the…

Afghan woman, jailed for being raped, wins pardon

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan has pardoned a woman who was raped by a family member but then jailed for adultery, a statement from the presidential palace has said, in a case that highlights deep concerns about women’s rights in the country. The 21-year-old, known as Gulnaz, had earlier been offered…

Kabul’s poor demand attention

KABUL (Reuters) – Kabul’s residents have called on delegates at next week’s international talks on Afghanistan in Bonn to put their needs on the agenda, saying the government is not doing enough to alleviate poverty and hunger in the Afghan capital. Those living in Kabul’s poorest quarters are at the…

Afghanistan says needs billions long after troops go

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s international backers must not cut funding to Kabul to the degree that it forces the government to choose between spending less on security or development, the finance minister said on Saturday. A World Bank study released last month said Afghanistan was likely to need around $7…

Afghan rape victim freed from jail, to marry attacker

The Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the release of a woman who was jailed for adultery after being raped — but she now faces having to marry her attacker, officials said. The move came after some 5,000 people signed a petition for the release of the woman, named Gulnaz,…

After NATO strike, Pakistan adjusts rules of engagement

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s commanders in the wild Afghan border region can return fire if attacked without waiting for permission, the army chief said, a change in rules of engagement that could stoke tension after Saturday’s NATO strike killed 24 Pakistani troops. The attack sparked fury in Pakistan and further…

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