Afghanistan: US soldier killed in accidental shooting

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The NATO announced Tuesday that a U.S. soldier was killed last week by unintentional firing of an Afghan soldier.

The Resolute Support Mission of the alliance said in a statement that early interviews indicate that the killing in Nimroz province bordering Iran was a tragic incident.

It occurred when the Afghan forces became engaged in a close-quarter battle during an assault on one of the multiple barricaded al-Qaeda shooters.

"Sgt. Jasso was killed defending our nation, fighting al Qaeda alongside our Afghan partners," said Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of Resolute Support and United States Forces – Afghanistan.

Suicide attack claims multiple lives in Afghan capital

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – A suicide attack close to a rally in capital Kabul killed three people on Monday, an official said.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, told Anadolu Agency, the lone attacker on foot detonated his explosives at a check point killing three people wounding eight others.

Representatives of the ethnic Shia-Hazara community had gathered hundreds to demand action against ongoing Taliban assaults in three districts of central Afghanistan.

The spokesman said the rally had ended when the explosion occurred.

Afghan army chief Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali told a news conference that special forces of the army and spy agency had been dispatched to push back the rebels, adding that airstrikes will be launched against the Taliban in Malistan, Jaghori and Khas Uruzgn districts.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed announced they had overrun the Malistan district killing 42 security forces on Monday.

According to the local Salam Afghanistan radio, the Taliban attacked Khas Uruzgan district a few weeks ago, killing and injuring 63 civilians during the conflict while attacks on Jaghori and Malistan began last week.

At least 70 irregular migrants held in western Turkey

By Mustafa Yildirim and Birol Gungordu

IZMIR/CANAKKALE, Turkey (AA) – At least 70 irregular migrants were held in western Turkey, security sources said on Wednesday.

In Turkey’s Aegean province of Izmir, 42 irregular migrants — including women and children — were held in Seferihisar district, said a security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The migrants — all Pakistani nationals — were trying to cross to Greece via Greek islands in a sailing boat, the source added.

Also in northwestern Canakkale province, 28 migrants — including Afghan women and children — were held in security patrols in Ezine district.

All of the migrants were referred to provincial migration offices.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, when Syria’s civil war began.

Nearly $300k raised for US mayor killed in Afghanistan

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – More than $290,000 has been raised Monday for an American mayor killed in service in Afghanistan.

The death of Brent Taylor, 39, of North Ogden, Utah, marks the third U.S. death at the hands of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). He was on a yearlong leave of absence to deploy with the Utah National Guard.

Taylor served in the National Guard for 10 years, and completed two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq prior to his most recent deployment. He was killed in an "insider attack" by a member of the ANSF, the National Guard confirmed on Sunday.

Another U.S. soldier was injured in the attack. The attacker was killed by other Afghan security forces.

"Brent typified the citizen soldier who served so diligently in his community as well as felt this call to wear a uniform and serve where ever the nation needed him to go," said leader of the Utah National Guard Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton.

He was expected to return to his mayoral position in January.

A GoFundMe page was launched Sunday with more than $292,000 raised.

Utah was in mourning following the news of Taylor's death, and many prominent figures offered their condolences.

"I am heartbroken at the loss of Major Brent Taylor. Our deepest condolences and constant prayers are with his wife Jennie, his children and the entire Taylor family. All of Utah mourns with you," Utah Governor Gary Herbert said on Twitter.

"Heartbroken with the tragic news of Major Brent Taylor’s death by gunfire in Afghanistan," Utah Senator candidate Mitt Romney also said on the microblogging site. "Another unmeasurable price is paid for freedom."

Taylor is survived by his wife and seven children. His body is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. later Monday.

"As one of many, many military families to give the ultimate sacrifice we also want to express our love for this great nation and the pride that we feel knowing that Brent gave his life in service to his country," Taylor's family said in a statement.

At least 140 irregular migrants held in Turkey

By Omer Ural and Ali Balli

EDIRNE/KIRKLARELI/CANAKKALE/MUGLA/HATAY, Turkey (AA) – At least 140 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said Monday.

In Edirne, a northwestern province, Turkish police rounded up 24 irregular migrants — Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals — in Ipsala district near the Bulgarian border, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.

Also, 33 irregular migrants, all Afghan and Pakistani nationals, were held by gendarmerie forces in northwestern Kirklareli province.

In Canakkale, another northwestern province, the coast guard held 29 irregular Afghan migrants in Ayvacik district.

The migrants were planning to cross to the Greek islands and Europe.

Separately, the coast guard held 21 irregular migrants — Syria, Palestine and Somalia nationals — in Bodrum district of western Mugla province.

Meanwhile, 33 irregular migrants were nabbed during regular border patrols in Hatay, a southern province bordering Syria.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011 when the Syrian civil war began.

Moscow to host meeting on Afghanistan on Nov. 9

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Second Moscow conference on Afghanistan settlement will take place in the Russian capital on Nov. 9, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has decided to send a delegation of the country’s Highest Council of Peace, a statement by the ministry said.

It said a delegation of the Taliban’s political office in Doha will also take part in the meeting.

Invitations have also been sent to the U.S., Pakistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the statement added.

The meeting will be held on the level of the deputy foreign ministers and special envoys, it said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will address the participants before the meeting.

US envoy in Afghanistan calls polls 'positive sign'

By Sayed Khodaberdi Sadat

KABUL (AA) – U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass praised the "courageous" Afghan people who voted in the country's parliamentary elections.

"Well, the election is still underway. There’s still voting to occur in Kandahar so I don’t think it is really appropriate for me to offer any perspective other than to know that we saw many courageous Afghans determined to exercise their right to vote and to choose their government and that’s a very positive sign," Bass said.

Voting for the long-due Afghan parliamentary elections began last Saturday amid tight security.

Election-related violence claimed more than 60 lives across the country in two days, local media reported.

The Taliban, who have declared war on the government, warned people against coming out to vote.

Polls will be held in Kandahar province on Oct. 27. A deadly Taliban shootout caused the vote to postpone in the province.

According to the country’s election authority, at least 8.8 million people were registered to vote for 2,500 candidates who are running for the Wolesi Jirga (lower house of the parliament).

More than 70,000 security personnel were on duty during the polls, the Ministry of Interior and Defense said.

Preliminary results are expected on Nov. 10 while final results are due by Dec. 20.

Over 370 irregular migrants held across Turkey

By Ozgun Tiran

KIRKLARELI, Turkey (AA) – Turkish security forces held a total of 374 irregular migrants across the country on Tuesday, according to security sources.

In northwestern Kirklareli province, the forces rounded up 104 irregular migrants, including Iraqi, Iranian, Pakistani and Afghan nationals, a security source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Separately, 140 Syrian migrants were held in Altinozu district of southern Hatay province, another source said.

In addition, police rounded up 108 irregular migrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan in Baskale district of eastern Van province.

The security forces also held 12 migrants, including Syrian and Afghan nationals, in Akyarlar area of Bodrum city in southwestern Mugla province.

Ten more migrants from Pakistan were held in northeastern Kars province.

All of the migrants were referred to provincial migration offices.

Turkey has been the main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011 when the Syrian civil war began.

* Erdal Turkoglu in Hatay, Zafer Tayfur in Van, Ali Balli in Mugla and Huseyin Demirci in Kars contributed to this story.

Over 550 irregular migrants held in Turkey

By Burak Akay, Esber Ayaydin and Hakan Mehmet Sahin

IZMIR/CANAKKALE/EDIRNE, Turkey (AA) – At least 570 irregular migrants were held on Wednesday in Turkey, according to the security sources.

In the northwestern Canakkale province, the Turkish Coast Guard apprehended 72 Afghan nationals, including women and children, in Ayvacik and Bayramic districts, a security source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

Also in Edirne, another northwestern province, nearly 370 migrants were rounded up during regular gendarmerie patrols in Ipsala and Meric districts, and the villages of Bosnakoy and Yenikadin.

Among the migrants were Palestinian, Syrian, Pakistani, Algerian, Afghan and Moroccan nationals.

Separately, nearly 130 migrants – including Iraqi, Afghan and Syrian nationals – were held in western Izmir province after the coast guard spotted dinghies off Cesme and Dikili districts.

All the migrants, attempting illegal cross to Greece, were referred to the provincial migration offices.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

Over 460,000 people immigrates to Turkey in 2017

By Gokhan Ergocun

ANKARA (AA) – The number of immigrants in Turkey rose 22.4 percent reaching 466,333 in 2017, compared to previous year, Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) announced on Wednesday.

52.3 percent of migrated people were men and 47.7 percent were women in 2017, TurkStat said.

26.6 percent of all immigrants were comprised of Iraqi citizens, 10.4 percent Afghans, 7.7 percent Syrians, 5.7 percent Azerbaijanis and 5.6 percent were citizens of Turkmenistan, it added.

"In 2017, it was seen that 12.3 percent of the immigrant population were in the 25-29 age group. This age group was followed by 20-24 age group with 11.6 percent and 30-34 age group with 10.8 percent, respectively," TurkStat said.

Istanbul drew the highest number of immigrants with 166,044 people. The city is followed by capital Ankara (46,475) and the Mediterranean city Antalya (21,888).

Meanwhile, in this period, 253,640 people — 54 percent men and 46 percent women — emigrated from Turkey in 2017, up 42.5 percent from 2016.

Iraqis took the first place in this group with 20.4 percent, Azerbaijanis (7.5 percent), Syrians (6.7 percent), Afghans (4.6 percent) and Chinese (4.5 percent).

"When the age distribution of the emigrant population was analyzed, it was seen that 15.5 percent of them were in the 25-29 age group. This age group was followed by 20-24 age group with 14.4 percent and 30-34 age group with 12.3 percent, respectively," TurkStat added.

75,849 people emigrated from Istanbul, 27,379 from Ankara and 15,056 from Antalya.

Turkey also hosts the highest number of refugees — nearly 4 million — in the world, according to official figures. The number of Syrian refugees living in the country was 3.54 million as of July.