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World


Acting Pentagon chief pays unannounced visit to Afghanistan

Washington, Feb 12 (UNI) Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, where he met President Ashraf Ghani as the United States leads a push for peace talks with the Taliban, the US Department of Defence said on Tuesday.
Shanahan met Ghani on Monday, Afghanistan's chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and other officials.
The Pentagon acting chief said earlier that he had not received orders to begin to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.

Shanahan's trip was widely believed to serve to relieve Kabul's increasing concern about its exclusion from recent talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban.

The Pentagon has reportedly stepped up airstrikes and special operations of raids in Afghanistan to the highest levels since 2014, aiming to give negotiators leverage in peace talks with the Taliban.

US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said at an event in Washington on February 8 that he expected a final deal could be reached before Afghanistan's presidential election in July.

However, Khalilzad pointed out "a number of issues left to work out," saying that an agreement "must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire."

Although the progress in Qatar was hopeful, analysts believed that reaching a final agreement is far from guaranteed, saying the Taliban still refuses to negotiate a political settlement with the Afghan government.

Another round of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban is tentatively set for February 25.

There are about 14,000 US troops currently deployed in Afghanistan, and Washington has reportedly planned to withdraw half of them.
UNI XC RSU 1153
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North Korea says conducted ‘very important’ test at Sohae satellite launch site – Reports

North Korea says conducted ‘very important’ test at Sohae satellite launch site – Reports

08 Dec 2019 | 9:30 AM

Seoul, Dec 8 (UNI) The North Korean Academy of the National Defense Science said on Sunday that it had conducted a “very important” test at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, the North Korean state-run KCNA news agency reported.

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Trump taps new deputy chief of staff for operations

Trump taps new deputy chief of staff for operations

08 Dec 2019 | 9:16 AM

Washington, Dec 8 (UNI) US President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that Anthony Ornato, deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, will become his new deputy chief of staff for operations.

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Death toll rises to 23 in gunmen attack on demonstrators in Iraq's capital

Death toll rises to 23 in gunmen attack on demonstrators in Iraq's capital

08 Dec 2019 | 9:03 AM

Baghdad, Dec 8 (UNI) Up to 23 people were killed, and 137 others wounded in Friday's attack on protesters in Iraq's capital Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said on Saturday.

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US, Iran swap prisoners

US, Iran swap prisoners

08 Dec 2019 | 8:38 AM

Washington, Dec 8 (UNI) The United States and Iran completed a prisoner swap on Saturday, freeing one scholar from each country.

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Seven killed, 2 injured after truck turns over in SW China

Seven killed, 2 injured after truck turns over in SW China

08 Dec 2019 | 8:27 AM

Kunming, Dec 8 (UNI) A heavy dump truck turned over on Saturday afternoon on a highway in southwest China's Yunan Province, leaving seven people dead and two injured, according to local authorities.

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