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40 Taliban militants surrender in Afghan province

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TALIBAN in Afghanistan

Kabul, Jan 22 Forty Taliban militants have surrendered to Afghan National Army in the country’s western province of Ghor amid military pressure in the mountainous region, Afghan Ministry of Defence confirmed on Wednesday.

“About 40 Taliban militants laid down arms and gave up fighting in Shahrak district of western Ghor province on Tuesday,” the ministry said in a statement.

The latest surrendering came as a joint cleanup and search operation conducted by Afghan army, police and intelligence agency personnel has been continuing in Shahrak, Xinhua news agency reported.

About 150 Taliban surrendered to army in Shahrak over the past weeks, according to the statement.

The statement said the former militants found out that “Taliban militants are fighting to harm Afghans so they decided to quit that wrong pathway and join the pace and reconciliation process.”

The surrendered militants also handed over their weapons.

More than 350 armed insurgents have surrendered to local authorities as government forces geared up crackdowns on militants across the country since January.

The militant groups haven’t responded to the reports so far.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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COVID-19 Vaccine
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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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TWITTER

Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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21 killed in Baghdad twin suicide bombings

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Baghdad

At least 21 people were killed and 53 others injured on Thursday in twin suicide bombings at a crowded market area in Baghdad, according to Iraqi officials.

A suicide bomber blew up his explosive belt in a crowded market in Bab al-Sharji area, and a second one detonated his a few minutes later in the same market, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, the source added that ambulances and civilian cars have evacuated the wounded to nearby hospitals and medical centres.

It was the first such attack in the Iraqi capital city in nearly two year, as the security situation has improved since the Iraqi security forces fully defeated the Islamic State terror group across the country late in 2017.

However, sporadic deadly incidents still occur in the war-ravaged country

No group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s bombings yet.

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