Afghanistan floods kill dozens, with many still missing

Officials in in the disaster management ministry said that torrential rain earlier this week triggered flash flooding in the country’s Parwan province — which borders Kabul — Reuters news agency reported.

Villagers and rescuers search for bodies among debris after a flash floods in Parwan province, on August 26, 2020.
Dozens of houses and vehicles have been destroyed in the floods, and the number of casulties could be higher, officials warn.

Dozens of houses and vehicles have been destroyed and the number of casualties could be much higher, Parwan provincial spokeswoman Waheeda Shakar said Wednesday.

US intelligence indicates Iran paid bounties to Taliban for targeting American troops in Afghanistan

Police and rescue teams have arrived in the area and are helping residents, she said.

Officials said more than 1,500 houses north of the capital Kabul had been destroyed, while many people remain missing.

A ministry of disaster management spokesman said floods had also affected eight of the country’s northern provinces. The spokesman said climate change was worsening the flooding hitting the country.

For centuries, agriculture in South Asia has depended on the annual monsoon, which stretches from about June until September. But intense rains and floods in the region — including in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan — also cause devastation and billions of dollars in damage every year.

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Cricket news: Sheffield Shield, Hubs, Domestic cricket, Australia, Australia Test with Afghanistan, Adelaide cricket hub

Cricket Australia is weighing up a radical and expensive AFL-style hub model to start the Sheffield Shield season. understands Adelaide looms as the most likely location for all six states to live, train and play for five weeks from early October through to mid-November.

Under a likely scenario floated with states, each team would play four Shield games at a combination of Glenelg, Karen Rolton Oval and Adelaide Oval.

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Finch unlikely to play Tests

Finch unlikely to play Tests


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Gen. Rick Hillier calls Trump adviser Peter Navarro an ‘idiot’ for belittling Canada’s role in Afghanistan

Canada’s former top soldier Rick Hillier lashed out today at U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, calling Peter Navarro an “idiot” for dismissing Canada’s contribution to the war on terror as nothing more than an effort to curry favour with the U.S. 

“My first reaction, honestly, was, ‘What an idiot,'” Hillier told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics Tuesday. 

“I mean, even if you believe those things, I’m not sure why you would make them, or why you would disrespect the service and sacrifice in this spilling of blood and the loss of lives by Canada’s sons and daughters who soldiered alongside our American battle brothers and sisters.”

Hillier was reacting to comments Navarro made in a new book by CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto. In the book — The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World — Navarro is quoted speaking dismissively about Canada’s role in the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Navarro suggests Canada’s decade-long mission, which cost the lives of 158 Canadian soldiers, was motivated more by a desire to curry favour with the U.S. than to support the global fight against terrorism.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro speaks with reporters at the White House June 18, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon/The Associated Press)

CTV obtained audio recordings of Navarro’s interviews with Sciutto, who was questioning the trade adviser about the Trump administration’s often-caustic approach to foreign relations when the subject of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan came up.

“Were they doing us a favour, or were they brought into the idea they needed to do that as part of the global effort against terrorists?” Navarro responds.

“I mean, if they were just doing us a favour, maybe their government should have been thrown out of office. I mean, every time that a Canadian shows up in a uniform, it’s doing us a favour? How’s that work?”

Disrespecting sacrifice

As commander of the NATO-led multinational Afghanistan mission in 2004, Hillier had a great deal of contact with U.S. forces on the ground and with the leadership of the U.S. military. He said that in all his years serving with U.S. troops, under multiple administrations, he has never heard anyone suggest Canada sent men and women into harm’s way just to score political points. 

“Do you send your sons and daughters to make this great sacrifice so far away from home simply because you want to make points with an ally? No, you do not. You do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Hillier told Power & Politics host Vassy Kapelos. 

“I heard from so many friends in the United States today who said, ‘This doesn’t represent at all what we believe. We don’t know where this came from. Our relationships are incredible and we served together. We’re proud to do so. We’re proud to serve next to Canadian soldiers.'”

Former Canadian Forces lieut.-gen. Rick Hillier shown here speaking to the troops following Remembrance Day ceremonies at Camp Julien in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003. (Canadian Press/Terry Pedwell)

Hillier said that Navarro isn’t qualified to speak on military matters.

“First, I thought he must be a military genius and knew this stuff. Then I realize he’s a trade adviser, so I’m not sure why he’s commenting upon this,” he said. “He obviously doesn’t understand the Article 5 of NATO that an attack on one is an attack on all.

“We believed in that here in Canada. And that’s why Canada stepped up to take part in that mission and try and make the world a better place.”

Hillier said he hopes that the Trudeau government and the ambassador in Washington are making that argument to U.S. officials.

He added that the White House has demonstrated a willingness to denigrate Canada and many of its other allies since Trump came to office.

“I don’t think it is unique to Canada,” he said. “I think it reflects a nastiness in the relationships around the world now internationally involving the United States of America. And it’s not something that I did experience.”

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Recovery Efforts Underway After Flash Floods Kill Dozens in North Afghanistan

Recovery Efforts Underway After Flash Floods Kill Dozens in North Afghanistan

The death toll from severe flash flooding in the Afghan province of Parwan had risen to at least 71 people by the evening of August 26, local media reported. An additional 100 people had been injured after flooding swept through the province overnight August 25 to 26, destroying homes and vehicles, according to officials cited by TOLOnews. This footage shows recovery efforts in the provincial capital of Charikar, where floodwaters swept through homes, leaving mounds of mud and debris. Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via Storyful

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Queensland man who tested positive to coronavirus after flying from Afghanistan ‘did everything he should have done’

Queensland authorities have revealed they gave permission for a man returning from overseas to catch a commercial flight back into the state, with police now finalising an investigation into the process.

The man in his 20s, had been working for the Australian Government in Afghanistan and returned to Queensland, via Sydney, last week, to quarantine at home.

The exemption to bypass hotel quarantine is allowed for diplomatic and consular officials, but the Queensland man was a security contractor.

A police investigation that was launched yesterday to investigate the validity of documents used by the man to re-enter the state has now been finalised with authorities saying he had done nothing wrong.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young also revealed it was Queensland authorities who had given the man permission to travel back to the Sunshine State on a commercial Jetstar flight, and drive to his Toowoomba home.

A public health alert for the flight had to be issued after the man tested positive for COVID-19.

“That individual did everything they should have done,” Dr Young said.

“New South Wales Health approached Queensland and we said, ‘yes, it did meet that exemption’, so we would allow that person to travel as per the exemption.

The man returned to Australia using his personal passport.(Supplied)

“The only concern I had is that when we agreed all these exemptions, we said when people went onto a domestic plane that the planes would seat them with no one else around them.

“That unfortunately didn’t occur because the plane was packed.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk previously said the man was given an exemption under national guidelines.


However, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said last night the man had not been eligible for an exemption and that none had been granted.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not support an exemption application from this individual, and was unaware that it had been sought or granted,” DFAT said in a statement.

The Australian Embassy in Kabul wrote a letter confirming that the man was “travelling on essential Australian Government business”.

This was in order to facilitate his travel between Afghanistan and Australia, not to assist with quarantine exemption applications.

Last night, the Premier announced Queensland would tighten the exemptions process for returning overseas travellers, and it would only be granted in extremely extenuating circumstances, in line with current arrangements for anyone entering the state from overseas or a hotspot.

Meanwhile, three Logan men who were charged yesterday for allegedly lying about being in Melbourne, have tested negative for coronavirus.

A 29-year-old Slacks Creek man, a 25-year-old man from Loganlea and a 23-year-old Waterford man crossed the border at Coolangatta on Sunday, and allegedly denied having been in a coronavirus danger zone, when they re-entered the state.

The trio will undergo further testing.

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Findings from Afghanistan war crimes investigation will cause ‘distress’ for some elite soldiers, judge warns

The head of a long-running inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan has warned that the findings will cause “distress” for some soldiers involved.

Since 2016, New South Wales Justice Paul Brereton has been assisting the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) in examining claims elite troops killed unarmed Afghan men and children.

Now a recent letter written by the judge, obtained by the ABC, suggests his secretive probe is soon poised to make a series of negative findings against several personnel.

Justice Brereton, a Major General in the Army Reserve, said the prospect that his report would distress some “cannot be completely avoided”.

“However, I can confirm that before the final report is delivered, persons who are potentially the subject of any adverse finding or recommendation will be afforded procedural fairness,” he wrote in the letter dated April 16.

Last year, the ABC revealed soldiers forced to give evidence to the Royal Commission-style inquiry were being offered “comprehensive support services” by Defence, following concerns the lengthy process was causing severe mental harm.

In last month’s correspondence, Justice Brereton revealed his inquiry team had taken steps to provide psychological support to soldiers ahead of the investigation’s findings, which are expected within months.

He said while welfare for serving personnel and veterans was generally offered by Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the IGADF had also provided support.

“In the last couple of months, in response to the increasing number of witnesses being interviewed, the Inquiry has expanded its witness support program with the appointment of additional Witness Liaison Officers”.

Justice Brereton said the support staff were reservists who had previously served in permanent roles with either the Special Air Service Regiment, 1st Commando Regiment or 2nd Commando Regiment.

Justice Brereton’s letter was addressed to RSL national president Major General Greg Melick and SAS Association President Lieutenant Colonel Peter Fitzpatrick, after concerns were raised about the impact of his inquiry on current and former soldiers.

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GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Special Air Service (SAS) operator shoots an unarmed Afghan man

Last year, a former Australian commando who gave evidence to the IGADF inquiry about his involvement in an alleged war crime was found dead.

The ABC has been told of at least one other elite soldier who is on extended psychiatric leave because of his involvement in the secretive probe.

This week the ABC revealed former soldier turned senior lawyer David McLure had been appointed to prosecute cases of alleged Australian war crimes during the Afghanistan war.


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Taliban claims deadly Afghanistan truck bomb attack two days after maternity ward massacre

A truck packed with explosives has blown up near a court in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez, killing at least five people in an attack claimed by Taliban insurgents.

The explosion comes two days after at least 56 people were killed in attacks elsewhere in the country, including women and newborn babies, dealing a setback to peace plans in the war-ravaged nation.

“A car bomb explosion took place near a military court in Gardez city, which is a populated area. Dozens of civilians are feared to be dead and wounded,” interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said the rebel group was responsible for the attack.

Emal Khan Momand, a military spokesman in Paktia province where Gardez is located, said the attack was carried out by a truck packed with explosives.

Five people were killed and 14 were wounded, he said.

An Afghan Army soldier at the scene of a truck bomb blast (AAP)


The blast comes after gunmen attacked a maternity hospital in Kabul, killing 24 people, including new mothers and newborn babies, on Tuesday.

A suicide blast claimed by the Islamic State at a funeral in eastern Nangahar on the same day killed 32.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attacks and said he had ordered the military to switch to offensive mode rather than the defensive stance it had adopted as the United States withdraws troops and tries to broker talks with the Taliban.

The Taliban denied any involvement in those attacks, but the government accused the group of fostering an environment in which terrorism thrives or of working with other militant groups who could have been involved.

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