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Mike Pompeo accuses Iran of undermining Afghanistan peace efforts

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of working to thwart efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan, but he offered no specific details to support his allegation. Pompeo leveled his charge amid an escalating crisis with Iran following a U.S. drone strike on Friday in Iraq that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's elite foreign paramilitary and espionage service, the Quds Force. "Iran has refused to join the regional and international consensus for peace and is, in fact, actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long global effort to support militant groups there," Pompeo said at a State Department news conference. Pompeo named the Taliban as one of the militant groups he accused Iran of using to undermine Afghanistan peace efforts. He also referred to the "Tora Bora and the Mullah Dadullah Group," little-known organizations whose strengths, relevance and contacts with Iran were not immediately clear.


Death by algorithm: the age of killer robots is closer than you think

#artificialintelligence

A conquering army wants to take a major city but doesn't want troops to get bogged down in door-to-door fighting as they fan out across the urban area. Instead, it sends in a flock of thousands of small drones, with simple instructions: Shoot everyone holding a weapon. A few hours later, the city is safe for the invaders to enter. This sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. But the technology to make it happen is mostly available today -- and militaries worldwide seem interested in developing it. Experts in machine learning and military technology say it would be technologically straightforward to build robots that make decisions about whom to target and kill without a "human in the loop" -- that is, with no person involved at any point between identifying a target and killing them.


How I became captain of the winning all-girls Afghan robotics team

#artificialintelligence

As a child, I questioned just about everything. Why was my country different than the ones I saw on television shows and in movies? Why was my gender an obstacle to me becoming a leader someday? Why was educating young girls seen as so threatening to the leaders of my country? My mother would attempt to answer my questions.


Pakistan Taliban Chief Who Shot Malala Killed In US Drone Strike

International Business Times

Mullah Fazlullah, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, accused of shooting activist Malala Yousafzai was killed by a United States drone strike June 13 close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. military official confirmed to Voice of America. "U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization," army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said. He was reportedly traveling in a vehicle with four other commanders when the strike took place, Pakistani daily the Express Tribune reported. "A US drone strike in Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province has killed the leader of the TTP," Mohammad Radmanish, Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense spokesperson, told CNN. "US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by ... Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the 27th day of Ramadan," a statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said claiming the strike did not put the ceasefire order by President Ashraf Ghani into risk, CNN reported. "As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked," the statement added.


Official: US drone kills 26 Taliban in eastern Afghanistan

FOX News

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan official says two U.S. drone strikes this week hit a building where dozens of Taliban were meeting in southeastern province of Ghazni, killing 26 insurgents and wounding 22.


Drone Strike Kills 3 Militants in NW Pakistan, Say Officials

U.S. News

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Two Pakistani officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike has targeted a compound in a northwestern tribal region along the Afghan border, killing three suspected militants. The officials said two suspects were also wounded in Friday's strike on a border village in the Kurram tribal region. If confirmed, it would be the first U.S. drone strike on Pakistan since President Donald Trump announced his new strategy for Afghanistan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief media. The officials said apparently Afghan Taliban, including member Abdul Salam, were targeted but it was unclear whether they were present at the time.


Some theories behind former Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto's 2007 assassination

The Japan Times

SINDH, PAKISTAN – A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Thursday declared former military ruler Pervez Musharraf a fugitive in the murder trial of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, nearly 10 years after the iconic political figure was gunned down in the streets of Rawalpindi. The court dismissed charges against five alleged Taliban militants accused of being involved in the killing, while two police officers were found guilty of "mishandling the crime scene," becoming the only people to be convicted in the case. The most definitive accounts of Bhutto's death claim an assassin shot her in the neck and then blew himself up, killing 24 people. But observers said Thursday's verdicts, the first to be issued in the decade since the assassination, offered no clarity into who actually orchestrated the killing. And in a country where conspiracy theories continue to envelop the myriad assassinations of its political figures over decades, Bhutto's death is no exception.


Afghan girls will be allowed into U.S. for robotics contest

PBS NewsHour

Members of Afghan robotics girls team which was denied entry into the U.S. for a competition, work on their robots in Herat province, Afghanistan. KABUL, Afghanistan -- The third time's the charm for Afghanistan's all girl robotics team, who will be allowed entry into the U.S. to compete in a competition after President Donald Trump personally intervened to reverse a decision twice denying them enter into the country. The six girls will now be able to participate next week against entrants from 157 countries. The Afghan girls have devised a ball-sorting robot, which has the ability to recognize orange and blue colors, and can move objects to put them in their correct places. This is such an important trip for us," said 15-year-old team member Lida Azizi, who was excited at the prospect of being able to compete.


Who is Abdul Hasib? Afghan ISIS Leader Killed In Special Forces Operation

International Business Times

U.S. Special Forces killed the head of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan last month, officials confirmed Sunday. Abdul Hasib died in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation in Nangarhar province April 27, Reuters reported. Hasib, who had been leading the faction since predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan died in a U.S. drone strike last year, was believed the architect of several high-profile attacks, including a March 8 attack on Kabul's main military hospital that left dozens of medical staff and patients dead. Afghan President Ashrab Ghani also has accused Hasib of ordering the beheading of local elders in front of their families and the kidnapping of women and girls, who were forced to marry ISIS fighters. Two U.S. Army Rangers also died in the attack that killed Hasib, part of an operation that included drone strikes that began in March along the border with Pakistan.


Taliban: Top commander dies in suspected US strike - Hundreds of suspected militants detained in Pakistan

FOX News

ISLAMABAD – A Taliban official says a suspected U.S. drone strike the previous day killed a top commander of the militant Haqqani network -- the man who in 2014 accompanied U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl when he was handed over to U.S. authorities. The Taliban official identified the man as Qari Abdullah, saying he died in the "area of Khost." Pakistani intelligence officials had earlier said a suspected U.S. strike hit in Pakistan's lawless tribal region bordering Afghanistan's Khost, a Haqqani stronghold, killing two militants. The Taliban official wouldn't confirm it was the same strike.