US, Taliban report ‘progress’ on Afghan peace talks
27 January 2019 | 2:40 pm
The US and the Taliban have made substantial headway in peace talks, representatives from both sides have said. President Donald Trump has been eager to end the 17-year US conflict in Afghanistan, America's longest war.
Before the Taliban swept to power in Afghanistan, Kabul was a city with a vibrant nightlife and arts scene. But since then, there has been a radical transformation. Thousands of longtime Taliban fighters have poured into the capital, now working in round-the-clock security patrols. Meanwhile, financial disputes and quarrels between neighbours are being settled by Islamic judges. FRANCE 24's Catherine Norris-Trent and Roméo Langlois report from Kabul.
After taking power in August, the Taliban now need to put in place a functioning state in Afghanistan. Official declarations and policies are scarce for now, but no doubt the most tangible sign of the Taliban takeover are the security patrols of thousands of former fighters who have poured into the capital. They're now police officers who are enforcing a strict interpretation of Sharia law. Our reporters Catherine Norris-Trent and Roméo Langlois were able to follow Taliban fighters on patrol in Kabul and also gain access to a hearing of an Islamic court.
The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has been seen in public for the first time since he took control of the group in 2016, officials have said. His appearance may ease rumors of his death.
Local traders and residents reacted to the Taliban ban of foreign currencies for trade, at the Sarai Shahzada market in Kabul on Wednesday after the Taliban made the announcement on Tuesday. The US dollar has been used widely in Afghanistan’s markets before the ban.
Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed on Friday (November 5) it has postponed the Afghanistan test in Hobart scheduled for Nov. 27 until the situation regarding the women's game in the South Asian nation becomes clearer. CA had said in September it would scrap the test if the Taliban government, which took power in August, did not allow women and girls to play the sport.
Since the Taliban returned to power in August, life in Afghanistan has become more and more difficult. The country, which was already beset by an economic crisis, is now confronted with a worsening humanitarian catastrophe. Billions of dollars in aid money have dried up, funding for hospitals is non-existent and nearly half the population faces acute hunger. Our team on the ground reports.
The UN's World Food Program has warned that half of Afghanistan's population is facing an acute hunger crisis, with millions forced to choose between "migration or starvation" amid drought and economic collapse.
Amid a mounting economic crisis, the Taliban has pledged to pay three months' worth of lost wages to public employees. The group boasted of new revenue, but did not specify where it came from.
A Taliban ministry has asked TV networks to stop broadcasting programs that the ultra-conservative group deems immoral. They have said that the directives are not obligatory, but rather "a religious guideline."
Kabul residents on Tuesday said the first 100 days after the Taliban takeover had been difficult, expressing ongoing concerns about security and girls' education.
The Taliban government leader asked for international aid and access to about $10 billion in funds frozen after the insurgents took over the country in August. The UN is warning half the country could starve this winter.
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