The Taliban on Wednesday showed off dozens of American-made armoured vehicles along with newly seized weapons at victory celebrations in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.
The CNN reports that fighters waved white Taliban flags from Humvees and armoured SUVs at the military parade, where many of the vehicles appeared in near perfect condition.
The Taliban also organised an air display with a recently seized Black Hawk helicopter flying past the militants along the road while also trailing a white Taliban flag.
The parade came the day after video footage showed the militants making their way through an abandoned hangar in Kabul airport strewn with equipment the US left behind.
In addition to the military vehicles, the parade also featured what appear to be captured police vehicles.
But Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told CNN Tuesday he wasn’t “overly concerned about these images” of Taliban fighters examining the abandoned aircraft.
“They can inspect all they want,” Kirby said. “They can look at them, they can walk around — but they can’t fly them. They can’t operate them.”
He added that the US military had made “unusable all the gear that is at the airport — all the aircraft, all the ground vehicles,” leaving only some fire trucks and fork lifts operational.
Efforts to reopen Kabul airport resumed on Wednesday as a team of Qatari technical experts arrived in the Afghan capital, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
The source said that the technical team traveled to Kabul on a Qatari jet at the request of the Taliban, and that while no final agreement had yet been reached, “talks are still ongoing at the level of security and operation.”
“The objective is to resume flights in and out of Kabul for humanitarian assistance and freedom of movement in a safe and secure manner.”
Afghanistan is heavily reliant on foreign aid, and the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have already struggled to get critical food and medical supplies to the airport amid the mass evacuation operation.
Even before the political upheaval of recent weeks, Afghanistan represented the world’s third-largest humanitarian concern, with over 18 million people requiring assistance, according to UNICEF. But with no commercial aircraft currently permitted to land in Kabul, getting aid in will be difficult.
Restarting commercial flights will also be crucial for people still wanting to leave the country but who did not make it onto military evacuation planes.
More than 123,000 people were evacuated by American and coalition aircraft since August 14, US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie said Monday.
The Taliban have pledged to govern more moderately this time around, and said they would still allow foreign nationals and Afghans with proper documentation to leave the country after August 31. But many Afghans are skeptical of their claims, and huge question marks hang over the Taliban’s ability to run the country.
Standing on the Kabul airport runway on Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a small crowd that: “This victory belongs to us all.”
He was joined by heavily armed fighters from the Taliban’s Badri 313 special forces brigade, kitted out in camouflage uniforms and desert boots.
Mujahid congratulated the Taliban fighters who had lined up, and indeed “the whole of the nation.”
Only one Afghan region is still holding out against the Taliban’s rule: the Panjshir Valley — a strategic slice of territory about 90 miles north of Kabul that was once a stronghold for the mujahideen fighting the Soviets and is now the seat of the resistance movement.
Ali Nazary, spokesperson for the anti-Taliban National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, said Wednesday that NRF forces had inflicted heavy casualties on Taliban attackers attempting to fight their way into Panjshir via the Gulbahar area, damaging the militant group’s weaponry and sending them retreating.
Ekweremadu: Immigration says Ukpo birthday certificate shows he’s 21 not 15
Birth certificate of Ekweremadu ‘kidney donor’ shows he’s 21, says immigration
The Nigeria Immigration Service says David Ukpo, the “kidney donor” at the centre of the organ harvesting allegation against Ike Ekweremadu, is 21 years old — not 15.
Spokesman for the NIS, Amos Okpu, disclosed this in a statement released on Sunday.
Okpu said the birth certificate presented by Ukpo during his international passport registration showed that he is 21 years old.
Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested last Thursday and arraigned in court for allegedly bringing a child to the UK for organ harvesting.
They were subsequently remanded in custody till July 7 while investigations are still ongoing.
The senator had written to the UK high commission to support a visa application of a “donor”.
Although the UK police said the donor was 15, Ukpo was listed as 21 years old on his international passport and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) portal.
The immigration spokesman said the birth certificate issued by the National Population Commission (NPC) and the national identity number (NIN) slip presented by Ukpo indicated that he is 21.
He explained that Ukpo’s date of birth was listed as October 12, 2000 — meaning he will be 22 years old in October 2022.
“The facts of the matter concerning the case above, therefore, are that the said Mr David Ukpo Nwamina applied and paid for the enhanced standard passport using the NIS portal after which he approached the Gwagwalada Passport Office, FCT Abuja, on the 2nd November 2021 for his interview,” the statement reads.
“To support his application, Mr. Nwamina presented all the necessary documents required, including his National Population Commission (NPC) issued Birth Certificate, showing 12 October, 2000, as his date of birth; his National Identity Number (NIN) corroborating the date of birth on his birth certificate, issued by NIMC; a letter of introduction issued by Ebonyi State Government Liaison Office situated at Maitama District Abuja, and a Guarantor’s form duly signed by one Mr. Uchechukwu Chukwuma Ogbonno.
“In view of the above, the general public may wish to be informed that the date of birth, or any other information for that matter, on any Nigerian passport is printed on the document only after a thorough vetting process that involves both physical and forensic examination of the applicant’s breeder documents. Mr. Nwamina’s case, therefore, was not different.”
South African police investigate death of 20 in nightclub
South African police are investigating the deaths of at least 20 people at a nightclub in the coastal town of East London early Sunday morning.
According to AP, it is unclear what led to the deaths of the young people, who were reportedly attending a party to celebrate the end of winter school exams.
Local newspaper Daily Dispatch reported that bodies were strewn across tables and chairs without any visible signs of injuries.
“At this point we cannot confirm the cause of death,” said health department spokesperson Siyanda Manana.
“We are going to conduct autopsies as soon as possible to establish the probable cause of death. The deceased have been taken to state mortuaries,” Manana added.
The owner of the club, Siyakhangela Ndevu, told local broadcaster eNCA that he had been called to the scene early Sunday morning.
“I am still uncertain about what really happened, but when I was called in the morning I was told the place was too full and that some people were trying to force their way into the tavern,” he said.
“However, we will hear what the police say about the cause of death,” Ndevu added.
Missing ex-Nigerian diplomat found dead in US
Police in New York, United States, have found the body of a former Nigerian diplomat, Ambassador Ejeviome Otobo.
The 70-year-old was declared missing by the police in Tuckahoe, New York, in United States of America.
Otobo went missing on Wednesday, June 15th and was last seen near Dante Avenue.
The Tuckahoe Police Department on the their Facebook page requested information from the public.
Etobo served as the Director and Deputy Head, Peacebuilding Support Office at the United Nations headquarters in New York between December 2006 and October 2013.
On June 24, the police announced that Etobo had been found dead and sent condolences to his family.
“We would like to thank those of you who offered tips and tried to assist with the investigation. Our thoughts go out to the Otobo family during this difficult time,” the statement read.
Until his death, he was a Non-Resident Senior Fellow in Peacebuilding and Global Economic Policy at the Global Governance Institute in Brussels, Belgium.
He had previously held the position of director and deputy head of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, where he also acted as Assistant Secretary-General from February-August 2009.
At PBSO, he led the efforts in assisting the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) to develop peacebuilding strategies, including supporting governance reforms and reconciliation processes for countries on the agenda of the PBC; supervised the work related to the follow-up, monitoring and periodic reporting on the implementation of the peacebuilding strategies; and formulated benchmarks for monitoring progress in the implementation of peacebuilding strategies.
His areas of research interests and writing included peacebuilding, public service reforms, institutional development, governance, regulatory policy and management, and international trade.
He co-edited African Development in the 21st Century: Adebayo Adedeji’s Theories and Contributions (2015) as well as authored Consolidating Peace in Africa: The Role of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (2015) and Africa in Transition: A New Way of Looking Progress in the Region (2017). The book Africa in Transition was nominated for the Grand Prix of Literary Association Award in 2018 in the Research category.
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