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Wednesday 22 November 2017

In brief: Nato captures top officer for network supporting Taliban in Afghanistan

NATO-led forces said yesterday that they had captured the senior commander for the Taliban-supporting Haqqani network in Afghanistan, Haji Mali Khan, during an operation in eastern Paktia province earlier in the week.

Khan is "the uncle of Siraj and Badruddin Haqqani... one of the highest-ranking members of the Haqqani network and a revered elder of the Haqqani clan", the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said.

Siraj, or Sirajuddin, Haqqani and his brother Badrudin are sons of veteran Afghan militant Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Khan managed bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He was captured on Tuesday in Jani Khel district of Paktia province along with his deputy and bodyguard, in an operation by Afghan and foreign forces.

Syrian troops retake rebellious town

A Syrian rights group says government troops have retaken most of a rebellious town after five days of intense fighting with army defectors who sided with protesters.

Rami Abdul-Raham, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says the troops spread out across Rastan after defectors pulled out from the town.

Residents in nearby areas said yesterday that the main highway linking the central city of Homs with the northern city of Aleppo has been closed for days.

Girl, 2, dies after being trapped in fire

A two-year-old girl died after she was trapped in a burning van during a fire at a farm yesterday. Isobel June Dobson was in the van with her one-year-old stepsister when the fire broke out at Hessle Farm, in Wragby, near Wakefield, west Yorkshire, at around 5.30pm yesterday.

Her mother and 37-year-old stepfather rescued the baby girl from the vehicle but were unable to get to Isobel before being beaten back by the flames, police said.

Civic group linked to ETA shuts down

A civic support organisation for the Basque separatist group ETA has disbanded in Spain, a newspaper that acts as a mouthpiece for the separatists reported yesterday.

The news adds weight to Spanish government claims that support for ETA's violent tactics is crumbling. The group has been responsible for hundreds of killings since the late-1960s. According to Gara newspaper, the support group, Ekin, was formed in November 1999.

West Germans 'sought to buy East'

The former Western German government sought to buy the German Democratic Republic from Russia in the Sixties for about 100 billion deutsche marks, the Der Spiegel has reported, citing recently declassified US files.

Former German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard, in office from 1963 to 1966, cooked up the plan that carried his name, the magazine reported. The US government of the time rejected the plan as naive, Der Spiegel said.

Court sentences governor's killer

A Pakistani court yesterday convicted and sentenced a police officer to death for the killing of a liberal governor earlier this year, a murder that led to fears the country was buckling under the weight of extremism.

The January murder of Punjab provincial governor, Salman Taseer, by one of his police guards was alarming in itself, but lawyers showered his killer, Mumtaz Qadri, with flowers, thousands demonstrated in his defence and mainstream politicians failed to condemn the killing.

Three UK rioters charged with murder

three men from Birmingham aged 20, 25, and 30 were last night charged with the murder of three men who tried to protect shops and homes from looters in August's riots.

Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, were hit by a car in the early hours of August 10 during riots in Winson Green, Birmingham.

Sunday Independent

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