Mike Pompeo (right) stands in a prayer at the transfer case containing the remains of Sgt.1st Class Elis Barreto Ortiz. AP
Afghans braced for a possible new wave of Taliban violence on Monday after President Donald Trump abruptly called off talks with the insurgent group, which vows to continue its fight against what it calls "foreign occupation."
Trump says he canceled peace talks with Taliban over attack
Car bomb rocks Afghan capital near US Embassy area
Trump's surprise weekend announcement came shortly before a string of highly sensitive days in Afghanistan, including Monday's anniversary of the killing of anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the major Shiite Muslim holy day of Ashoura on Tuesday and Wednesday's 9/11 anniversary.
It was not immediately clear whether the US-Taliban talks will resume and when on ending nearly 18 years of fighting.
A roadside bomb blast in the capital, Kabul, on Monday wounded three civilians, said Firdaus Faramarz, spokesman for the city's police chief. The target was unknown, he said, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The local affiliate of the Daesh group also carries out attacks in the capital, often targeting the minority Shiite community. The blast was not in a predominantly Shiite area.
The Taliban claimed attacks on at least two districts of northeastern Takhar province overnight, with no immediate reports of casualties. A heavy gunbattle continued in the district of Khwaja Ghar but security reinforcements had arrived, said Khalil Aser, spokesman for the provincial police chief.
The Taliban attacked three provincial capitals earlier this month, even while finalizing a deal with the U.S. to end nearly 18 years of fighting. The group has defended the attacks, saying they were meant to strengthen its negotiating position.
The main highway between Kabul and the capital of the northern province of Baghlan remained blocked, a week after the Taliban attacked Puli Khumri, and sporadic gunbattles continued, said Jawad Basharat, spokesman for the provincial police chief.
Violence continued on all sides in what was the world's deadliest conflict last year.
In northern Sari Pul province, at least five women were wounded in an airstrike by the Afghan air force late Sunday, said Mohammad Ayub Ansari, district chief in Gospandi district. One woman was pregnant and lost her child and two other women were in critical condition, he said.
The air support was called in after the Taliban shot and killed two pro-government forces, leading to a gunbattle with security forces, Ansari said. An unknown number of Taliban were killed and wounded, he said.
The Taliban have not commented on that attack.
President Ashraf Ghani hopes to showcase unity at the four-day meeting — known as Loya Jirga — that brings together politicians, tribal elders and others.
President Ashraf Ghani spoke during the Muslim holiday Eid Al Adha and as US and Taliban negotiators continue their work in the Gulf nation of Qatar, where the insurgents have a political office.
The start of the talks, envisaged under a US-Taliban peace agreement signed in February, was hampered by a series of delays that have frustrated Washington. Some had expected the negotiations to begin earlier this month.
A video shared on social media showed flood water gushing from an apartment building in Ankara along with furniture.
According to sources, many labourers were working on the bridge when one of its portions collapsed, and several of them are feared dead. However, the district administration of Bhagalpur, or Bihar government, has not provided any figures on casualties yet.
An average of 30 people a day were killed by firearms in S.Africa in the first three months of this year, according to official crime statistics. During the same three months, police recorded more than 4,000 cases of illegal possession of guns.
Sheikh Sultan praised the efforts of the multi-sectoral Unesco Regional Office and their continuous initiatives to support children in the Arab world, stressing that Sharjah always seeks to enhance cooperation in this field.