VIF Information Alerts - 7 February 2019
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Taliban Peace Talks in Moscow End With Hope the U.S. Exits, if Not Too Quickly
Published: The New York Times

06 Feb 2019

After two days of talks in Moscow, the Taliban and prominent Afghan politicians, many of them former enemies, said on Wednesday that they had charted a broad road map for ending Afghanistan’s 18-year war, structured around the withdrawal of American forces from the country and the Taliban’s commitment to citizens’ fundamental rights.

Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan and the leader of the politicians’ delegation, declared the talks a “big achievement” that would help push toward “peace, stability and an Afghanistan free of foreign forces.” Click here to read...

Trump says may declare ISIS defeated next week
Published: The Straits Time

07 Feb 2019

United States President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (Feb 6) that he expected a formal announcement as early as next week that the coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants has reclaimed all of the territory previously held by the extremist group.

"Their land is gone. It's a big factor - their land is gone," Mr Trump told foreign ministers and other senior officials from 79 countries that have worked alongside the US in fighting the militant group in Syria and Iraq.Click here to read...

Pakistan signs $10 bn gas pipeline agreement with Russia
Published: The News

07 Feb 2019

As a major sign of increasing economic cooperation, Pakistan and Russia on Wednesday signed an inter corporate agreement for the laying of more than 1,500 km offshore gas pipeline costing $10 billion that would be transporting natural gas from the Russian gas company Gazprom’s sources in the Middle East to Pakistan with possibility of extending it further to South Asian countries.

Mobin Saulat, Managing Director of Inter-State Gas Systems (ISGS), a state-owned company with the mandate to build gas pipelines and gas import projects, and Vitaly A Markelov of Russian Gazprom Gas Company signed this Inter Corporate Agreement (between companies) here.Click here to read...

Pakistan SC clips wings of armed forces, ISI; says stay away from politics, act within law
Published: The Economic Times

06 Feb 2019

In a rare rebuke to Pakistan's powerful military, the top court on Wednesday prohibited them from engaging in political activities and directed spy agencies like the ISI to operate within the law.

Delivering a landmark verdict on the 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the hardline Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other smaller groups, a two-member Supreme Court bench also ordered the government to act against those propagating "hatred, extremism and terrorism".Click here to read...

China will build 4 nuclear aircraft carriers in drive to catch US Navy, experts say
Published: South China Morning Post

06 Feb 2019

Four of at least six aircraft battle groups China plans to have in the water by 2035 will be nuclear-powered, as the Asian giant tries to equal the US in naval strength, according to Chinese military experts.

The specialists said that after decades of trying to close the gap, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s hardware might by then be closer to matching the world’s leading superpower in aircraft carrier technology – but it would still lag in real combat experience.Click here to read...

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