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After productive talks with the representatives of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), Afghan officials have finalized draft of the peace deal. As per official sources, the recent meetings between the two parties were fruitful. Deputy Chief of the High Peace Council, Ataul Rahman Saleem, said that the government and HIA were engaged in talks for the past two years. The extensive talks are yielding positive results. The deal is unexpected. Those who want to see stable Afghanistan are happy at the outcome while others are engaged in changing public opinion to sabotage the deal. The draft of deal has been finalized and the HIA representative, Amin Karim, is hoping that President Ashraf Ghani would soon sign it


They wore donated tracksuits that were mostly the wrong size, and had no coach and no prosthetics to replace their missing limbs. They’d barely been exposed to adaptive sports.

This is a tough year for the National Unity Government (NUG). Challenges are many. Survival of the government and future of this country will depend on the decisions made by the leaders in the power center. The wiser the decisions, the chances of survival and development would be high. Productive policies do not mean to launch large-scale military offensives against the insurgents and eliminate them because it is not possible sans support of the regional countries where the Taliban, Haqqani Network and other militant groups have safe havens. To eliminate extremism and terrorism, there is need for joint anti-terror mechanism at the regional and global level.  

After years of failed overtures, representatives of Mr. Hekmatyar, whose location is unknown, are now said to be finalizing a peace agreement with the struggling government of President Ashraf Ghani, according to representatives from both sides. If signed, the agreement would allow Mr. Hekmatyar to return to Kabul for the first time since 1996. That was when the Taliban pushed him out of power after he had negotiated a deal to become prime minister in return for ending his insurgency against the government.


Today the good news was about rescue of Ali Haider Gilani, son of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. It made the nation proud. When the entire military, police force and intelligence agencies of Pakistan failed to stop the kidnappers from entering Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and then crossing the Durand Line, a small group of Afghan commandos rescued Ali Haider. Earlier, reports confirmed that Ali Haider was kept in Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but Pakistani forces failed to rescue him. The raid in Nowshera ended with no achievement. Instead of criticizing their own government, most of Pakistani analysts started blaming Afghan government. Fortunately, Afghans proved that they have no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ militants. Terrorists are terrorists and their sponsors also deserve severe punishment.


The district’s proximity to the Durand Line, a contested borderline haunted by militants of all stripes, and easy weapons and logistical supply routes seem to have driven the rebel group’s choice of its HQ..


The Islamic State or Daesh has emerged as a serious threat to several regions of the world besides the Middle Eastern countries where it was born and remains entrenched. The recent spectacular but deadly attacks in Brussels and Paris show the lethality and ruthlessness of the organization that seeks to reach beyond the erstwhile borders of Iraq and Syria.


Spring becomes Babaji, a rural suburb of Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand. Light-green wheat fields grow waist-high, and narrow irrigation canals run almost clear. “It’s beautiful,” I told Mohammad Sahi, 21, an officer in the Afghan national police, as we stood on a sagging thatched roof in the afternoon sun.


Last week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s 18-month engagement with Pakistan collapsed under the stress of Pakistani recalcitrance, Taliban resurgence, and domestic politics. While the result may be a short-term boost in India-Afghanistan ties, longer-term trends are bleak. No one is fully committed to Afghanistan’s dysfunctional government. Beijing is unwilling to use its leverage over Pakistan, Washington is distracted, while Moscow and Tehran are hedging their bets. The idea of a regional concert of powers to resolve the conflict, widely mooted at the beginning of the Obama administration, is implausible today.


On May 3, journalists across the globe commemorate the World Press Freedom Day with the hope that one day their respective governments would hear their voice and pay heed to their problems. They are optimistic that one day their rights will be protected and respected. Rights of media-persons are suppressed even in developed countries. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey are no exception. It is a herculean job for a journalist to get visa of these countries due to several and severe restrictions. Journalists are the casualties of militancy and politics in Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and several other countries. The list of countries where journalists are working in insecure environment is lengthy.


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spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
  Nearly 58 per cent of the about 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are children who suffer from severe malnutrition, a UN report released said.
A unique and passionate gathering of acrophiles, or mountain lovers, took place in neat and picturesque Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram state in north-eastern India in September.
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On “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century”

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699


Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...


Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...


As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.


Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

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