Tony Blair Asks Britain To ‘Rise Up’ Against Brexit

Tony Blair, Brexit, BritainFormer British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has made a battle cry against a so-called ‘Hard Brexit’.

Mr Blair called on voters, businesses and campaigners to “rise up” and back a coordinated effort to temper the terms of, or even halt Britain’s exit from the European Union.

He made the call in his first major political intervention since Britons voted 52% to 48% to leave the EU in June 2016.

Mr Blair said Prime Minister Theresa May was pursuing “Brexit at any cost”, and must be challenged.

Mrs May had earlier vowed to start the legal process of leaving the European Union in March, but it is not clear whether the process would be reversed.

She said her vision was for a clean break from the bloc, including leaving the single market and customs union.

Afghan Leader Vows To Bury ISIS

Ashraf Ghani on ISISAfghan President, Ashraf Ghani, has promised to “bury” the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), whose local offshoot has clashed with government forces and Taliban fighters.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Mr Ghani, said that ISIS was “not an Afghan phenomenon” and that its atrocities had “alienated the people”.

Mr Ghani also called for anti-ISIS action at regional and international level.

“A lot of my diplomacy has been to create the regional consensus, and a region with the inheritance of previous animosities and short-sighted behaviour is something that is going to require effort and focus,” he said.

The Pentagon authorised its troops in Afghanistan to fight ISIS last week after it was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department and a threat to the US, the BBC reports.

The Taliban movement has also declared its own war with ISIS and members of both groups have engaged in clashes in different parts of the country since ISIS was formed there in January last year.

The US State Department said last week that it had designated the ISIS offshoot in Afghanistan as a terrorist organisation.

It said the group was made up of former members of the Pakistani Taliban and Afghan Taliban.

Gunmen Attack Badaber Air Force Base In Pakistan

air-force-base-in-pakistanGunmen, dressed in Police uniforms, have stormed Badaber Air Force Base in Pakistan, killing at least 17 people.

Sixteen of the victims killed were saying their morning prayers at a mosque inside the base, the other victim killed was an Army officer.

Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Major General Asim Bajwa revealed that the militants entered the base at two points before splitting into groups.

Although the total number of gunmen involved is unclear, 13 of them have been killed by security forces, although the Taliban said just one of their fighters died.

US Drone Strike Kills At Least Nine Militants In Afghanistan

drone strikeA  United States (US) drone strike killed at least nine Pakistani militants in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province early on Tuesday.

According to official reports, the killed militants were identified as LI Commander, Fazal Amin and Wajid from the Malik Din Khel clan of the Afridi tribe.

Others include commander Shamat Khan, Commander Sahar Gul and Shakir from the Sepah tribe.

Tuesday’s drone strike was near the site of fierce fighting on the Pakistani side of the border in recent days. Fighter jets have been pounding positions in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region, and the military said it has killed scores of militants.

At least seven soldiers have also been killed.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed Tuesday’s strike in the Nazyan area of Nangarhar near Pakistan’s Khyber Agency.

They said the nine militants belonged to the Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam, which announced an alliance with the Taliban earlier this month.

No one tracks drone strikes in Afghanistan – many of them take place in remote regions and are not reported – but Taliban commanders said that fighters there were being increasingly targeted since late last year.

The strikes came amid warming relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, traditionally hostile neighbors who accuse each other of harboring insurgents to act as proxy forces.

Relations improved after Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani was elected last year. Pakistan said that  it is supporting potential peace talks between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban.

Diplomats hoped Pakistan could pressure Afghan Taliban with bases in Pakistan to negotiate.

But Pakistan has also said it wants to see action taken against Pakistani insurgents with bases in Afghanistan.

Blast At Election Rally Kills 15 In Pakistan

A blast at an election rally organized by a religious party in Pakistan killed 15 people on Monday, officials said.

The attack at a gathering of members of the Jamiat Ulema-e- Islam religious party wounded 40 people, said the officials.

Since April, the Pakistani Taliban have killed more than 70 people in attacks targeting three major political parties, preventing many of their most prominent candidates from openly campaigning.

But the militant group has targeted moderate parties in their bid to undermine the May 11 general election, not religious ones like the Jamiat Ulema-e- Islam.

One official said a suicide bomber blew himself at the gathering. There was no claim of responsibility.

The polls mark the first time that an election is being held to decide on a transition between civilian governments.

The military has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 66-year history, either through coups or from behind the scenes.

But the Taliban violence has marred the election, with some candidates afraid to campaign.

The attack in the Kurram region, an ethnic Pashtun area near the Afghan border, will raise questions about whether the Taliban have expanded their campaign beyond moderate parties.