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US spy agency chief held secret meet with Taliban co-founder in Kabul as per reports

The chief of American spy agency CIA William J Burns held a secret meeting with Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday, multiple reports have said. This was the highest-level face-to-face encounter between the two sides and came a week after Kabul fell to the terror group.

Imposing sanctions on Taliban will be counterproductive: China

Speaking on the crisis in Afghanistan, China said that imposing sanctions on the Taliban “solves no problem and will only be counterproductive”. “The US and its allies should learn from…past experience…and act prudently on Afghanistan-related issues,” he added. “The international community should encourage and work for…positive developments of…Afghan situation.

Papua New Guinea accuses Indian envoys of ‘deception’; bans flights from India

Papua New Guinea has banned flights from India after accusing Indian diplomats of “deliberate deception” by letting unauthorised travellers, some of whom were COVID-19 positive, enter the country. “As a consequence of deliberate…disrespect against people and Government of Papua New Guinea, there’s now an indefinite ban on…repatriation flights from India,” said Police Commissioner David Manning.

Taliban asks female workers to stay home as forces aren’t trained to ‘deal with women’

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said that working women in Afghanistan have been instructed to stay at home until their security can be ensured. “Our security forces are not trained [in] how to deal with women…how to speak to women [for] some of them,” Mujahid added. 

US on pace to complete Afghan pullout by Aug 31: US President Biden

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday told G7 leaders that America was “on pace” to complete its pullout from Afghanistan by August 31. The completion “depends upon….Taliban continuing to cooperate” and allowing continued access for evacuees to the airport, Biden said. “The sooner we can finish, the better. Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.”

World Bank pauses aid to Afghanistan, expresses ‘deep concern’ after Taliban takeover

The World Bank has suspended aid to Afghanistan, saying it is “deeply concerned” by the situation there, particularly women’s rights, after Taliban seized power. “We’ve paused disbursements in our operations in Afghanistan and we’re closely…assessing the situation,” a spokesperson said. The World Bank has over two dozen projects ongoing in Afghanistan and has provided $5.3 billion since 2002.

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