An upcoming international peace conference that was meant to move Afghanistan’s warring sides to a power-sharing deal and ensure an orderly U.S. exit from the country has been postponed, its sponsors announced. They cited a lack of prospects for meaningful progress. As peace efforts stalled, Germany’s Defence Ministry suggested NATO military planners were contemplating a possible withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan as early as July 4. That’s more than two months ahead of the planned Sept. 11 pullout date.
“The Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul are currently considering whether to shorten the withdrawal period,” said German Defence Ministry spokesman David Helmbold. “The 4th of July is now being considered as a pullout date. The ministry informed the (German parliament’s) defence committee about this today.” The latest delay in getting Afghanistan’s warring sides to hammer out a peace deal underscored the difficulties the Biden administration and NATO are facing in orchestrating an orderly exit from conflict-scarred Afghanistan.
Chad’s president of three decades died of wounds suffered during a visit to front-line troops battling a shadowy rebel group, the military announced, as the insurgents vowed to take the capital in what could become a violent battle for control of the oil-rich Central African nation. The military quickly named President Idriss Deby Itno’s son as the country’s interim leader, capping a series of stunning announcements that came just hours after the 68-year-old Deby had been declared winner of an election that would have given him another six years in power.
The circumstances of Deby’s death remained murky and some observers immediately questioned the events leading up to Tuesday’s announcement, raising the question of whether the military handing over power to Deby’s son instead of following the constitutional provisions in place amounted to a coup. Others raised fears of violence in the days to come.
Twenty-two COVID-19 patients on ventilators died in a hospital in western India when their oxygen supply was interrupted by a leak in a supply line, officials said. Fire officer Sanjay Bairagi said the leak was halted by the fire service within 15 minutes, but there was supply disruption in the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, a city in Maharashtra state that is the worst hit by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in the country. Television images showed white fumes spreading in the hospital area, causing panic.
Surinder Sonone, a police officer, said the leak occurred in a pipe connecting the oxygen supply to the main tank in the hospital complex. Five of the 140 COVID-19 patients were shifted to another hospital, he said. The state government ordered an investigation of the leak, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said. It happened the same day as India reported a record 295,041 coronavirus cases, as the daily death toll crossed 2,000 for the first time.
An Indonesian navy submarine has gone missing with 53 people on board, military officials say. The submarine was conducting a drill north of the island of Bali, but it failed to report back and contact was lost. Indonesia's military chief said warships had been dispatched to find the KRI Nanggala-402 vessel. Officials have called on Australia and Singapore to help in the search. The countries have not publicly commented.
The German-made submarine is thought to have disappeared in waters about 60 miles (100km) off the coast of Bali early on Wednesday morning. Some reports say contact was lost after the submarine had been given clearance to dive into deeper waters. It was made in the late 1970s, and underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012, according to Reuters news agency. It is the first time Indonesia has lost one of its submarines, a Navy spokesman told the BBC.