Taliban welcome US troop drawdown from Afghanistan as ‘good step’

Kabul - The Taliban on Wednesday welcomed the Pentagon’s announcement it would soon pull about 2,000 US troops from Afghanistan as a “good step” that will help end the war. “It is a good step and in the interest of the people of both countries,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told AFP.  The Pentagon announced Tuesday that the US will slash troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq to their lowest levels in nearly 20 years of war after President Donald Trump pledged to end conflicts abroad.

Iran operating advanced centrifuges at underground site: IAEA

Vienna - Iran has begun operating advanced centrifuges at an underground section of its primary nuclear enrichment facility, the UN’s nuclear watchdog said Wednesday. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reported last week that Iran had installed the centrifuges in a buried part of the Natanz site. IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi told a press conference on Wednesday that while at the time of that report “they had not started operations... it is now happening”. Under the terms of Iran’s 2015 deal with world powers, it is only meant to enrich uranium with a less sophisticated variety of centrifuges. However, since May last year Iran has taken steps to violate that limit and several others laid down in the deal, in retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and subsequent re-imposition of sanctions.

Malawi police arrest ‘preacher’ who fled from S.Africa

Lilongwe Malawi- A millionaire preacher wanted in South Africa on fraud and money-laundering charges was arrested in his native Malawi on Wednesday, police said. Shepherd Bushiri, a self-proclaimed preacher known for “miracles” and an opulent lifestyle, skipped to Malawi last week in breach of strict bail conditions imposed by a South African court. Malawian police launched a manhunt for the fugitive on Tuesday after Interpol issued an arrest warrant in Pretoria. “The prophet and his wife handed themselves over to the police ... (in Lilongwe on) Wednesday, November 18, 2020 when they got wind of their impending arrest,” police spokesman James Kadadzera said in a statement. He said the couple will be taken to court. Bushiri’s spokesman, Ephraim Nyondo, denied the couple’s arrest was sparked by the warrant. He said Bushiri had vowed to present himself to the Malawi police to demonstrate “commitment that he is not a fugitive.”