18 September 2020

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A French journalist was among eight people killed in a grenade or mortar attack in Syria's central city of Homs on Wednesday, the first Western reporter to have died in 10 months of unrest in the country.

France 2 television confirmed one of its journalists had been killed. Syria's Addounia TV, which gave a total death toll of eight, said a Dutch journalist was among 25 people wounded.

"France 2 television has just learned with a great deal of sorrow the death of reporter Gilles Jacquier in Homs," France 2 said in a statement, adding it did not have details of the circumstances of his death.

Jacquier - a war correspondent who had previously reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other hotspots - had been invited to Syria by the government and was in Homs with other journalists reporting on the situation in the city, the television station said.

Syria barred most foreign media from the country soon after demonstrations against President Bashar Assad's rule began in March, but more journalists have been admitted since the Arab League sent a monitoring mission last month to check if authorities were complying with an Arab plan to halt the bloodshed.

"Gilles Jacquier was just doing his journalist job by covering the violent events in Syria as a result of the unacceptable repression of the regime against the population," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

A Belgian journalist in Homs, who asked not to be named, said a group of reporters had been visiting a pro-Assad neighbourhood of the city when several grenades or mortar rounds landed. One fell on a school that was empty at the time.

People were tending a small girl who was bleeding heavily when another explosion struck nearby. "I saw three bodies," the journalist told Reuters by telephone. "There was a lot of chaos, blood, hysteria."

He said a Dutch freelance journalist had suffered a shrapnel wound in the face, but was not seriously hurt.

Syria's Addounia TV showed footage it said was filmed during the attack. In the video, an explosion is heard and then a man tells the camera in Arabic "this is terrorism". Then the camera shows a group of journalists filming on the roof of a building. Another explosion is heard close to that building.

Footage then shows a man lying on the pavement, bleeding. A group of men rush to the scene and put the casualties in the back seat of several taxis.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe condemned the attack and demanded the authorities carry out an immediate investigation.

"It is up to the Syrian authorities to ensure the safety of international journalists on its territory and to protect the fundamental freedom which is freedom of the press," Juppe said in a statement. He said Paris' ambassador had been sent to Homs.

France 2 had a two-man team in Homs as part of an organized trip by the government with other international media, France 2 spokesman Thierry Thuillier told i-Tele television

Thursday, 12 January 2012 03:28

US says no deal yet for Taliban Qatar office

(BNA) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Afghan and Taliban statements show there is support for a Taliban political office in Qatar, but said nothing has been concluded yet.

"Positive statements" from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban demonstrate "there is support for such discussions, for the (Taliban) political office to open in Qatar," Clinton said.

"Nothing has been concluded. We are still in the preliminary stages of testing whether this can be successful," Clinton said in a press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.

The Taliban announced last week that it planned to set up a political office in Qatar, a move seen as a precursor to peace talks with Washington.

At the same time they  demanded the release of prisoners from the US military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Clinton said: "We have not made any decisions about releasing any Taliban from Guantanamo."

The chief US diplomat said Washington is prepared to back Afghan-led reconciliation talks.

She added that reconciliation can only occur if the Taliban renounces violence, breaks with Al-Qaeda and supports the Afghan constitution, which protects the rights of women and minorities.

"I have made it clear to President Karzai that we will work with him, under his leadership," she said.

She said she has dispatched US special regional envoy Marc Grossman to travel to Afghanistan next week to continue US consultations with the Afghans and also to visit Qatar to continue "consultations" there.

Sheikh Hamad, when discussing the proposal to open a Taliban office in his Gulf emirate, said "Qatar is trying to be peaceful messengers or peaceful ambassadors, and we are trying to do this with all our capacity.

"That's part of our policy how to defuse the tension in our region," said Sheikh Hamad, who is also Qatar's prime minister.

"And any opportunity we can help our friends to try to find a mutual ground to start a negotiation and dialogue, we think this is the best opportunity to solve the tension in our region," he added

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:03

U.S Embassy Promised Cooperation With BAN

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kabul (BNA) The Authorities of Bakhtar News Agency, Khalil Minawi and Mary Nabard Ahen met with Gavin Sundwall, U.S Embassy Spokesperson here in Kabul today.
BNA reporter said, the aim of this meeting was to attract the cultural cooperation of U.S Embassy with Bakhtar News Agency (BNA).
The report said, Khalil Minawi General Director and Mary Nabard Ahen Deputy Director of BNA explained the activities and problems of BNA as a state news agency in the center and provinces of the country to Gavin Sundwall U.S Embassy’s spokesman.
Minawi added, in order to cover all events, BNA should be equipped with all facilities.
He said, modernization of BNA needs the cooperation of national and international friends, especially U.S.A.
Gavin Sundwall expressed pleasure and stressed on the importance of BNA activities regarding the public awareness, promised his country’s cooperation with agency.
Translated By: Rateb  

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 10:19

Building For Girls School Inaugurated In Logar

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Pul-i-Alam (BNA) The construction work of a girl school was completed in Mohmmad Agha district of Logar province today. 
Deen Mohmmad Darwesh spokesman for Logar governor said to BNA, this school has been constructed in an area of 2000 square meter land in one storey by the Central Asian Institution at the cost of Afs 8 million. 
The new constructed school has 8 classrooms, 4 administrative offices, and other educational facilities and accommodated 320 students in a time.
In the inaugural ceremony of this school, Atiqullah Lodeen governor of Logar, Abdul Hamid Hamid governor of Mohammad Agha, Dr. Abdul Wali Wakil head of provincial council and tribal elders of Gomran area were present. 
Translated by Suraya-Yarzada

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 10:20

Armed Insurgents Group Joined Government

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Herat (BNA) 13 armed insurgents attributed to Taliban group joined to peace process in Herat province yesterday. 
These insurgents led by Mullah Basir who had terrorist activities against the government in Shindand district. 
They were joined in presence of a number of civil and military authorities with their arms to peace process in the security commandment of that province. 
It is said that during the current year, 330 insurgents were joined to peace process in that province.  
Translated by Suraya-Yarzada

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Ten armed insurgents were killed and 40 others were detained by national police forces in the provinces of the country. 
According to interior ministry press office, the national police forces in combined with the national army, national security and coalition forces conducted operations in the outskirts of Nangarhar, Kandahar, Helmand and Balkh provinces, in which ten Taliban insurgents were killed and 40 others were detained. 
In these operations, 5 Kalashnikovs, 13 mines, 2 suicide vests, 140 kg of explosive materials, 250 kg of narcotic and 3 motorbikes were seized by these forces, said the source.
Meanwhile, national police forces discovered and defused 6 anti-vehicle mines, 2 gallons full of explosive materials which were placed by armed insurgents for destructive and terrorist actions in the vicinities of Laghman, Zabul and Helmand province. 
Translated by Suraya-Yarzada

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 10:16

Three Historical Sites Repaired In Ghazni

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Ghazni (BNA) Three historical sites after repairing have been inaugurated yesterday. 
According to BNA reporter, these places names are Khwaja Lalai, Shamir Faezwal and Shaik Wardki. 
The repairing work of these sites have been completed from development budget of information and culture ministry and was inaugurated by Yosouf Pashtoon advisor in constructional affairs of presidential office while Musa Khan Akbarzada governor of Ghazni and Mosadiq Khalili advisor of the information and culture ministry in cultural heritages affairs were present. 
Also, Ysouf Pashtoon and ambassador of Iran while governor of Ghazni was present visited from two historical sites of “Ghazni.
Ambassador of Iran promised to start repairing works of these sites in the near future. 
Translated by Suraya-Yarzada

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 09:03

Japan Foreign Minister Arrives Kabul

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kabul (BNSA) Japan Foreign Minister as a high ranking delegation arrived Kabul today. 
According to BNA reporter from Kabul International Airport, the aim of his trip is visit with Hamid Karzai President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Zalmai Rasool Minister of Foreign affairs and also negotiation regarding Tokyo conference which will be held regarding the assistances of that country to Afghanistan in the near future and also further consolidation of friendly relations between the two countries. 
Translated by Suraya-Yarzada

Wednesday, 11 January 2012 09:01

Deserved Families Received Assistance In Herat

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kabul (BNA) The 207 Zafar army corps of Herat province distributed at a value of Afs 494,000 of foodstuffs and cloths to deserved families in Koshk and Robat Sangi district of Herat province yesterday. 
According to defense ministry press office, this assistance consists of blanket, flour, rice mattress and  ghee  were distributed to deserved families in Khalil, Jafar Beg, Khalifa Rahmat villages and Khwaja Noor  of Koshk  and Robat Sangi district of that province. 
Translated by Suraya-Yarzada

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kabul (BNA) Deputy of Attorney General Office Noor Jalal in a briefing reported about embezzlement of Afs. Six million and 700,000 from a branch of Navi Kabul Bank and three persons are arrested on the same occasion. 
According to him, they did to regain 50 percent of embezzled money and submitted to the bank. 
In this briefing, he also said that after informing about the issue, the case was probed by investigation and crime department of attorney general that three culprits of this crime were arrested immediately. 
According to him, the personnel of national army were also involved in the issue and the case is under further investigation.