President Iran calls for elections in Afghanistan

Iran's President is calling for elections to be held in Afghanistan, where he hopes that peace will return after the Taliban take control and Western troops leave.

President Iran calls for elections in Afghanistan

Ebrahim Raisi, speaking on state television on Saturday, said that Afghans should vote to establish their own government.

He stated, "A government should be set up there that is elected by the voters and the will the people."

"The Islamic Republic has always fought for peace and tranquility in Afghanistan and an end of bloodshed and frenzy, as well as the sovereignty and will of the people. He said that we support the Afghan people electing a government.

VENICE (Italy) -- Afghan female filmmakers fled Taliban in order to help their countrymen.

At the Venice Film Festival, women addressed a panel to warn that a country lacking culture will eventually lose its sense of identity.

Sahraa Karaimi, the first female president, of the Afghan Film Organization choked up when she told reporters everything that was lost after the Taliban took over the country.

She mentioned many films in pre- and post production, filmmaking workshops, and insurance policies that had all come to an abrupt halt. Also, she mentioned film archives that are currently in the Taliban's hands.

"Imagine a nation without artists, without filmmakers. "How can they defend their identity?" she asked.

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WASHINGTON -- A top U.S. military officer has thanked the 10th Mountain Division members for their assistance in Afghanistan during the recent evacuation of Americans, Afghans, and others.

On Saturday, Army Gen. Mark Milley (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) met with soldiers of military police at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany.

He stood outside and asked a group of people if they were there for the bombing. They nodded their heads, and a chorus of voices replied, "yes sir."

The Islamic State group attacked the Kabul Airport gate with a suicide bomber more than a week before. It killed 13 U.S. soldiers and 169 Afghans, who were trying to board flights out of Afghanistan.

"You guys did an amazing job, all of your -- Army, Navy and Marines, as well as the Air Force -- flying out 124,000 persons. Milley explained to the soldiers that this is what they saved. Milley said that they had shown "extraordinary courage, discipline, and capability in working together. This is something to be proud of. It will be a moment you'll never forget."

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WASHINGTON -- The United States plans to send Afghan evacuees that fail initial screenings to Kosovo. This country has already agreed to host them for up to a full year, a U.S. representative told the Associated Press Saturday.

Refugee advocates are likely to object to the U.S. plan for long-term stay in a third nation for Afghan evacuees. They claim that there is a lack in transparency and unclear legal jurisdiction in the use of overseas transit sites by the Biden administration to screen approximately 120,000 Afghan evacuees fleeing Taliban-held Afghanistan.

Other U.S. officials stated that they expect all Afghans, regardless of their initial red flags, to be cleared for further screening.

Saturday's disclosure was the first time that the U.S. disclosed its plans for Afghans and other evacuees, who failed to clear initial screening rounds or whose cases require additional time.

According to the official, who spoke under anonymity as the information was not yet authorized to be released, "transit centers offer a safe space for diverse groups and an opportunity for them to complete their paperwork while they undergo security screenings before they continue on to their final destination in America or in another country."

Officials from the United States have conflicting reports on whether they are preparing for the evacuation of Camp Bondsteel (a military camp located near the capital of Kosovo) or another site that was used previously to house road-builders.

-- By Ellen Knickmeyer

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BELGRADE (Serbia) - Austria's leader has said that any migration from Afghanistan must be dealt with in the neighboring countries.

Saturday's Belgrade speech by Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of Germany, stated that there must be no potential wave towards Europe. He said that this is why he was in contact with countries within the region.

Kurz spoke following meeting with Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's president. Many thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have been left behind in Serbia and the neighboring countries along the so-called Balkan migration route to Western Europe.

Kurz has always taken a hard line on migration issues. Kurz recently stated that Austria would not accept migrants from Afghanistan since it has received a "disproportionately large" number of Afghans since 2015 when 1 million people arrived in Europe from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

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KABUL (Afghanistan) -- A surprise visit by Pakistan's top intelligence chief to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Two Pakistani officials declined to reveal their identities as they were not permitted to talk to the media.

Although it wasn't immediately obvious what General Faiez Hameed said Saturday to the Taliban leadership, the Pakistani intelligence services has the most influence outside of the Taliban.

The Taliban leadership was based in Pakistan, and is often believed to have been in direct contact with powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Although Pakistan has repeatedly denied providing military aid to the Taliban, Washington and the Afghan government often accused them of it.

-- By Zarar Khan

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ISTANBUL -- A Kabul official reports that two people were killed and twelve others were injured when Taliban fighters fired their weapons in celebration.

Taliban in Kabul opened fire on Friday night in celebration of gains in Panjshir, a province still under the control and control by anti-Taliban fighters.

Because he wasn't authorized to brief media, the hospital official spoke under anonymity.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, has taken to Twitter to criticize the practice of firing into air and asked for the militants' immediate stop.

Tolo TV reported that 41 people were injured and 17 bodies were taken to the Emergency Hospital.

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