Debate on Afghanistan's first post-Taliban constitution went on Friday, through the Muslim day of rest, as delegates tried to shake off controversy over the prominence of warlords at the historic convention. \nThe meeting in a huge tent at a Kabul college campus is supposed to decide critical issues such as how to share power in a country riven by ethnic divides inflamed by more than two decades of war. \nBut the slow-paced proceedings have been overshadowed by a row over a female delegate's outburst against powerful faction leaders who hold key posts at the grand council, or Loya Jirga. \n"Some of us have come from far away and don't want to waste our time," said Fazel-ul Rahman Samkanai, a delegate from the southeastern province of Paktia. "We want to make up for the days we have already lost." \nThe UN granted protection to Malalai Joya, a delegate from western Farah province, amid concern for her safety after she on Wednesday denounced as "criminals" faction leaders such as former president Burhanuddin Rabbani and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a deeply conservative Islamist. \nBoth men command respect for their role in the war against Soviet occupation in the 1980s. But they were also participants in the ruinous civil war that followed. \nSamkanai, speaking to the Associated Press by telephone during a break in the closed-door discussions, said Joya was continuing to attend, but that she was spending the night under UN protection. \n"When she comes of the tent, two UN security guards escort her," Samkanai said. \nThe 500 delegates from across the country have broken up into 10 committees for article-by-article discussions on the draft constitution, presented last month by the government of President Hamid Karzai. \nDetailed talks only got under way Thursday, the fifth day of the gathering, and the council's deputy chairwoman, Safai Sediqi, said Friday that all of the committees were lagging. \nSome of the most sensitive issues -- the powers of the president, the role of Islam and the rights of women -- were among the first to be discussed. \nRights groups worry that references in the draft to citizens' rights could be overridden if Islamic conservatives control the legislature or the supreme court. \n"There is no article that talks specifically about women," Nadera Hayat Burhani, a delegate from northern Balkh province, said Thursday, pleading also for an explicit ban on trafficking in women. \nThe council is taking place under tight security amid fresh evidence that suspected Taliban rebels and their al-Qaeda allies might try to attack the session. \nInterior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said Thursday that police deactivated a bomb outside a Chinese restaurant in Kabul popular with foreigners. Three rockets slammed into Kabul early Tuesday, but none landed near the site of the council or caused major damage.
POLAND-GERMANY RIFT: Warsaw’s response to Berlin over a NATO system that would increase the alliance’s involvement in the war came as Kyiv accused Russia of war crimes Anti-missile systems that Germany offered to send to Poland should instead go to Ukraine, the Polish government said on Thursday, a proposal that is likely a nonstarter for Berlin because it would significantly ratchet up NATO involvement in Ukraine. Poland’s surprising response to Berlin’s offer was welcomed by Ukraine, which is desperate to protect its airspace as barrages of Russian missiles have knocked out power across the country. German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht said that use of NATO defense systems outside its territory needs to be agreed by all member states. “It is important to us that Poland can rely on allies
AWAITING EXTRADITION: Daniel Duggan has been classified as ‘extreme high risk,’ has not been allowed to use stationery and has been denied treatment, his lawyer said The lawyer for a former US military pilot arrested in Australia and facing possible extradition to the US said that his client was wrongly classified as an “extreme high-risk” prisoner, and he had asked the attorney-general to release him. Former US Marines pilot Daniel Edmund Duggan was arrested in New South Wales in October at the request of the US government, the same week the UK announced a crackdown on its former military pilots working to train Chinese military fliers. The US must lodge an extradition request for Duggan by Dec. 20 under a bilateral treaty, a Sydney court was told yesterday.
WARTIME DIPLOMACY: Zelenskiy met EU leaders and hosted the International Summit on Food Security, which included discussions on agricultural exports from Ukraine Fleeing shelling, civilians on Saturday streamed out of the southern Ukrainian city whose recapture they had celebrated just weeks earlier. The exodus from Kherson came as Ukraine solemnly remembered a Stalin-era famine and sought to ensure that Russia’s war in Ukraine does not deprive others worldwide of its vital food exports. A line of trucks, vans and cars, some towing trailers or ferrying out pets and other belongings, stretched 1km or more on the outskirts of the city of Kherson. Days of intensive shelling by Russian forces prompted a bittersweet exodus: Many civilians were happy that their city had been won back, but
Polish women have not been this angry for this long, and they are taking on the ruling conservatives. Incensed by remarks from the country’s most powerful politician, former Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who accused them of drinking excessively and keeping the birthrate low, many took the streets of Warsaw on Monday. It is a repeat of scenes from two years ago when hundreds of thousands of women marched against a near-total ban on legal abortions, in Poland’s largest public protests in decades. What is different this time is that the ruling party is facing the biggest challenge to its two-term rule before