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Trump Offers To Mediate in India-China Border Dispute

U.S. President Donald Trump has offered to mediate in what he termed "a now-raging border dispute" between China and India.  Experts say the offer is likely to be ignored or met with low interest in both Beijing and New Delhi. VOA’s Cindy Saine reports.

Afghan Man Who Lost Wife in Maternity Ward Attack Grateful Daughter's Life Was Spared

Rafiullah Noori, 35, is not participating in this year’s Eid al-Fitr festivities, a three-day thanksgiving festival celebrated by Muslims around the word to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Noori, a resident of Kabul, lost his 27-year-old wife, Nazia, in the May 12 attack on a maternity ward in western Kabul. The assault shocked the country and risked a new wave of violence between the Afghan army and Taliban militants.  “Believe me, it is painful when I enter the room and look at her clothes and other belongings,” said Noori of the attack at Dasht-e-Barchi hospital shortly after the birth of their daughter. “It is a terrible scene for me.” Afghan officials say mothers and newborns were among 26 people killed and 20 injured. Noori told VOA that his daughter Amina — Arabic for "peace" — was shot in the leg. While the baby remains in the hospital, Noori said he was grateful she is in stable condition, with no need to amputate her leg. The father of three now must divide his time between home and the hospital, while working to support his family.   He said he struggles on what to say to his two other children, 4-year-old daughter Adina and 2-year-old son Mohammad, when they ask for their mother. Adina said she believes her mother "is in heaven." Her father consented to a VOA interview with her. Attackers unknownNo group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban, Afghanistan’s main militant group, denied any involvement. Islamic State took responsibility for an attack the same day at a funeral in eastern Nangarhar province that killed over 50 people but has remained silent on the maternity ward assault. U.S. officials have blamed IS, but the Afghan government said earlier this month that its intelligence showed the attack was jointly carried out by IS and the Haqqani Network, a faction of the Taliban and a designated terror group by the U.S. The 55-bed maternity ward was opened in 2014 and is supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).Atiqullah Qaati, head of the hospital, told VOA that infants who survived the shooting were first sent to nearby medical facilities before being returned to their families.International organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have strongly condemned the attack, calling it a “war crime.” They have demanded the perpetrators be brought to justice.  

Into the Unknown: Afghan Journalists Face Historic Uncertainty Ahead of Intra-Afghan Dialogue

Nearly three months after a U.S.-Taliban exit deal was finalized in Doha, journalists and press freedom advocates on the ground in Afghanistan say they've largely been frozen out of a planned series of reconciliation talks between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and representatives of Afghan society. Analysts say their absence could imperil recent achievements for press freedoms after 19 years of war. Rahim Gul Sarwan has more from Kabul in this report narrated by Bezhan Hamdard.

Recent Surge in Violence Blow to Afghan Peace, Experts Warn

A string of violence against civilian targets in Afghanistan this month has set off a debate over the fate of the U.S.-brokered peace deal, with some experts warning that brutal onslaughts such as the Kabul maternity ward attack put the fragile peace process at risk.The May 12 gunman assault on Dasht-e-Barchi maternity ward in Kabul has left at least 24 people dead, including 16 mothers. Appalled by the unprecedented attack, the Afghan government vowed to avenge the deaths by changing its posture from defensive into offensive against the Taliban.Scott Worden, the director of Afghanistan and Central Asia programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, told VOA that the maternity ward attack means the Afghan government will have a difficult time to make “some sort of concessions to an insurgent group while such atrocities are happening.”The maternity hospital incident, charged Worden, fits the patterns of an IS attack. However, “it is true that the Taliban insurgency creates opportunities and space for groups like IS to operate.”Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline. Embed" />He said that the Taliban should provide assurance that it would reduce violence in order to create “an atmosphere that is conductive to talks.”The Taliban has denied involvement in the maternity ward raid, and the U.S. has blamed the Islamic State for it. IS remained silent on the attack but claimed responsibility for the Nangahar funeral assault on the same day that left more than 50 people dead.Regardless of the U.S. position, Afghan officials insist that the Taliban were implicated in some way.Haqqani networkAhmed Zia Saraj, chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, said Monday in a news conference that his government has intelligence information showing that the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban, was also involved in the attack.It was soon clear after the attack that subsequent events could lead to more escalation. President Ashraf Ghani ordered Afghan forces to resume their offensive against the Taliban. The group, in response, stepped up attacks on government forces across the country.According to Sher Jan Ahmadzai, director of Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, even if IS group is found to be behind the Kabul hospital attack, most Afghans consider the Taliban to be mainly behind unrest in the country.“If more attacks like this take place, Taliban’s leadership would be held ...

Rohingya Refugees Strive to Rebuild Lives After Devastating Fire

Hundreds of Rohingya refugee families who lost their homes in a devastating fire last week are struggling to rebuild their lives. The fire in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar burned through more than 600 makeshift shanties that included homes and shops.  VOA’s Muazzem Hossain Shakil has more in this report narrated by Bezhan Hamdard.Producer: Muazzem Hossain Shakil. Videographer: Muazzem Hossain Shakil.

Could Seoul be the model for other democracies confronting COVID-19?

South Korea is one of very few countries to so far contain the coronavirus without resorting to mass lockdowns. Instead, it is taking a targeted approach: using cellphone data to locate and isolate those exposed to the virus. The digital tracing places public safety above personal privacy, but has been highly effective, as VOA’s Bill Gallo reports from Seoul.

US: Islamic State Behind Attacks on Mothers, Newborns in Afghanistan

The United States says an Islamic State terrorist group is behind deadly attacks against a hospital and funeral service in Afghanistan earlier this week. The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation says the Islamic State is trying to pit the Taliban and Afghan government against each other.  VOA's Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more.

Deadly Attack on Afghan Mothers, Babies Threatens Peace Prospects

Amid a spate of recent deadly attacks across Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani has ordered his national forces into "offensive" mode against the Taliban.  Experts say the surge in violence does not bode well for the U.S.-Taliban peace deal, signed in February, which was meant to serve as a first step toward inter-Afghan reconciliation.  VOA Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has the story.

Deaf Indonesian Woman Makes Clear Face Masks to Enable Lip Reading

Along with people in many parts of the world, Indonesians have been wearing face masks outdoors to stem the spread of COVID-19. This has proven difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing -- and that includes an estimated 20,000 Indonesians. To help, one resident in Jogjakarta on the island of Java has created a transparent mask using a sheet of plastic. VOA's Nova Poerwadi narrates this report from Nurhadi Sucahyo in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. 

Activists Concerned About Safety of Hindus, Sikhs in Afghanistan

Sikh activists are worried about the safety of Hindu and Sikh communities in Afghanistan. The Afghan government has promised further security measures but activists are calling on the international community to act and protect the persecuted minorities in Afghanistan. VOA’s Roshan Noorzai reports.

Amid Pandemic, India Family Awaits 4th Generation

The coronavirus pandemic poses challenges to people across the world especially in countries under stringent lockdown. Anjana Pasricha in New Delhi spoke to a family of three generations that lives together to see how their lives have been affected as they wait for the arrival of a fourth generation.

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