Taliban seeking ‘lion’s share’ of power in any peace deal, says US envoy

WASHINGTON:  The Taliban are seeking to ensure it receives the “lion’s share” of power in any prospective peace deal, the special US envoy for the conflict said on Tuesday. Addressing the Aspen Security Forum, Zalmay Khalilzad said the Afghan government is currently trying to “find its military bearings after the losses that it suffered in recent weeks and to develop a new military strategy” following the Taliban’s sweeping battlefield gains. Without that, Kabul believes “it’s in too weak a position to pursue a negotiated settlement,” he said. “The Talibs have…

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Israeli premier threatens to ‘act alone’ against Iran

JERUSALEM:  Israel’s prime minister Tuesday threatened to “act alone” against Iran in response to an attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker last week off Oman. “They can’t sit calmly in Tehran while igniting the entire Middle East – that’s over,” Naftali Bennett said during a visit to the Israeli army northern command, escorted by Israeli army top commanders. Bennett said following last Thursday’s attack on the oil tanker, Israel shared intelligence information with the US, UK, and others that point towards Iran’s involvement in the attack. “We are working to…

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Afghan forces claim to have killed 455 Taliban fighters

KABUL, Afghanistan:  Afghan forces on Monday claimed to have killed 455 Taliban fighters in counter-terrorism offensives. They were killed in operations by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika, Logar, Kandahar, Herat, Faryab, Jowzjan, Balkh, Samangan, Helmand, Takhar, Kunduz and Baghlan and Kapisa provinces during the last 24 hours, according to the Defense Ministry. The war between the Taliban and Afghan forces has intensified as foreign troops withdraw from the war-torn country. The Taliban are now trying to seize provincial capitals such as Herat and Lashkargah,…

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Ismail Haniyeh re-elected Hamas leader: Source

GAZA CITY, Palestine:  Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Sunday re-elected Ismail Haniyeh as the head of the movement’s political bureau for a second four-year term, a Hamas source told Anadolu Agency. Hamas’ Shura Council convened on Sunday and elected Haniyeh as the head of the movement’s political bureau, the group’s highest executive authority, the source said, without giving further details. An informed source earlier told Anadolu Agency that former group leader Khaled Meshaal had declined to run against Haniyeh for the post. Meshaal is currently the head of Hamas in…

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Egypt says 8 soldiers killed, injured in Sinai

ISTANBUL:  Eight soldiers were killed and injured in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian military said on Sunday. A statement said the casualties occurred in combat operations against terrorists in the northern part of Sinai. It, however, did not specify how many soldiers were killed. As many as 89 militants were also killed, and 13 tunnels used as hideouts destroyed, the press release added.-AA

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