The Afghan women determined not to lose out in Taliban talks

  • 19 April 2019
  • From the section Asia
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Media captionOgai Wardak, 18: "If the Taliban come, I will fight them"

When 18-year-old Ogai Wardak came face to face with Taliban fighters, her fear quickly gave way to cautious hope.

"Their faces were scary, but their hearts were kind," she tells me when we meet in the Kabul studios of Zan TV, the only Afghan television channel just for women.

"The Taliban of this time are not like the past, not like the scary stories I heard," explains the ebullient young woman bursting with personality. She was born in 2001, the same year the Taliban were toppled from power.

Wardak met some of their fighters during last year's rare three-day ceasefire, when they slipped into Kabul to gaze at city streets, even taking selfies and savouring ice cream.

But if the Taliban return to power, would they allow her to keep presenting on Zan TV?

Read full article The Afghan women determined not to lose out in Taliban talks

Israel election: 'Bibi the magician' pulls off another trick

Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara greet Likud supporters at the party's headquarters in Tel Aviv on 10 April 2019 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated what he called Likud's "magnificent victory" with his wife Sara

They both won and they both lost.

Before the clock struck midnight on election day, both Benny Gantz, Israel's new political performer, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the old master, triumphantly declared victory.

Read full article Israel election: 'Bibi the magician' pulls off another trick

Shaky truce in key Yemeni port of Hudaydah

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Media captionWhere the fighting in Yemen has stopped... but not the suffering

"If there's peace, we'll protect it. And if not, we're ready for orders to attack," declares Mohammed Salman of the Yemeni army's Third Brigade.

An occasional crackle of gunfire pierces an eerie silence at the Red Sea Mills, a battle-scarred granary on the eastern edge of the strategic port city of Hudaydah.

Read full article Shaky truce in key Yemeni port of Hudaydah

The battle on the frontline of climate change in Mali

Sunset
Image caption Mali is lurching between drought and flood

Everything about Mami exudes exhaustion. Her round brown eyes are pools of sadness, and her bulbous body throbs with pain.

"First, armed groups attacked nearby," she explains in a tired voice as we sit on plastic matting, five young children nestled close to their mother in Mali's fabled city in the sand Timbuktu.

Read full article The battle on the frontline of climate change in Mali

Yemen war: What will the new year hold?

A Yemeni child lies on a bed after receiving treatment for malnutrition at a treatment centre in a hospital in the third city of Taez in the country's southwest on November 21, 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The war has brought millions in Yemen close to starvation

''I sincerely hope that we are living the beginning of the end of one of the biggest tragedies of the 21st Century,'' reflected a beaming UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the end of a week of Yemen peace talks in a secluded Swedish castle.

In front of the world's cameras, Yemeni rivals smiled too, shaking hands, with a bit of help, from the UN chief.

Read full article Yemen war: What will the new year hold?

Iraq Yazidis: The 'forgotten' people of an unforgettable story

A destroyed car left behind by fleeing Yazidis while they were escaping an IS invasion on 3 August 2014 (2016 picture) Image copyright Getty Images

In the ancestral land of the Yazidis, a sacred mountain looms large.

A persecuted people has long seen it as their protector.

Read full article Iraq Yazidis: The 'forgotten' people of an unforgettable story

Ending Yemen’s never-ending war

A Yemeni artist paints a pro-peace graffiti on a wall in Sanaa, Yemen (16 August 2018) Image copyright EPA

"Some people say we are in a hurry," says Martin Griffiths, the UN's special envoy for Yemen. "I plead guilty to the charge."

"The people of Yemen have suffered quite enough. It's time."

Read full article Ending Yemen’s never-ending war

Rebuilding Aleppo: Life beyond Syria's civil war

Partially ruined buildings in Aleppo

"I fell in love, I don't know why," confesses Alaa al-Sayed with a lingering gaze towards his beloved.

The object of affection for this Syrian historian is the ancient gate of Bab al-Nasr, the Victory Gate.

Read full article Rebuilding Aleppo: Life beyond Syria's civil war

Saudi Arabia detentions: Living inside 'five-star prison'

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Media captionA peek inside the Ritz-Carlton as it hosts those suspected of corruption

Riyadh's palatial Ritz-Carlton hotel, branded as "a retreat for those who simply desire the royal treatment", now finds itself transformed into a nerve centre for an audacious manoeuvre by an ambitious crown prince.

It's not the treatment more than 200 of Saudi Arabia's richest and most powerful ever expected, and certainly never desired, when 32-year old Mohammed Bin Salman launched what was billed as an unprecedented drive against corruption and abuse of power and privilege in the kingdom.

Read full article Saudi Arabia detentions: Living inside 'five-star prison'

Riyadh's night of long knives and long-range missiles

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks at a conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on 3 November 2017 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Saad Hariri said he feared an assassination plot, accusing Iran and Hezbollah of breeding strife

A night of long knives and long-range missiles in Riyadh has provoked another seismic shift across a volatile Middle East and nervous uncertainty over what salvos will follow next.

Three events that happened suddenly on Saturday in the Saudi capital were not directly linked. But, all told, they pack a powerful punch at a time when Saudi Arabia and its key partners, including the United States, are showing ever greater resolve to confront their arch rival, Iran.

Read full article Riyadh's night of long knives and long-range missiles