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The young women are part of an after-school training programme called Code to Inspire in the western city of Herat, where they learn tech skills and create games and apps to educate girls across Afghanistan and beyond.

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Their highest-profile success has been this year's release of "Afghan Hero Girl", built over six months by 12 young women, a phone app in which a princess wearing a green veil leaps around a crumbling castle in a quest to defeat a wizard and rescue her family. US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi and other senior members of Congress made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Sunday, her office said.

Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the US' commitments to allies after sudden withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria. The UN released on Tuesday a special report that describes the severe toll of election-related violence on Afghanistan's civilians, mainly from the Taliban's campaign targeting its presidential election last month. The report said that attacks aiming to disrupt the electoral process killed 85 people and wounded others across the country. The Afghan Taliban have released three Indian engineers, who were held hostage for over a year, in exchange for at least 11 members of their outfit.

Taliban officials said they have released three Indian engineers they had been holding, though that has yet to be confirmed by New Delhi or the Afghan government. The Taliban officials spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity. Seven Indian engineers working for a power plant in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan Province were kidnapped in May Last month, at least six media persons, working for private and government media organisations here, were abducted by the Taliban in Zurmat district in the eastern Afghan province of Paktia.

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Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington's special peace envoy, is also in the Pakistani capital for "consultations'' wiwth the Pakistani leadership, a US official said. He spent the last year negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban, which seemed imminent until Sept. Afghans are awaiting the results of a presidential election Saturday, and waiting to see what follows the recent collapse of peace talks between the US and Taliban extremists. The negotiations were aimed at ending America's longest war.

About 9. A tally released late on Sunday by the Independent Election Commissions, showed that with data collected from 3, polling centres, just over 2. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the terrorist attacks carried out by the Taliban suicide bombers in Afghanistan in which at least 48 people were killed.

In Parwan province, a Taliban suicide bomber on Tuesday killed 26 people and wounded In a separate incident hours later, 22 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack near the US embassy. The high cost of war and lack of clear gains on the battlefield, have contributed to a growing argument that the US should cut losses and move on.

In a joint counter-terrorism operation by the Aghan-US forces, Taliban terrorists were killed or injured in the South-eastern Paktika province on Sunday. The Afghan security forces conducted the operations with the support of US airpower in Warmama district, rd. As per Afgan National Army, security forces killed at least 90 terrorists and injured 20 others.

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Taliban official: 'War in Afghanistan should end soon' - BBC News

Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist terror outfit originating in Afghanistan, waging war in the country in the form of an insurgency. Taliban emerged in the aftermath of the Afghan Civil War in and had established dominance in Afghanistan until they were ousted in after the American invasion. Taliban has been condemned internationally for brutal treatment of many Afghans especially women. The UN has accused Taliban of starving the Afghan population by denying them UN food supplies and burning vast areas of fertile land. In areas they controlled the Taliban issued edicts which forbade women from being educated and girls were forced to leave schools and colleges.

Insurgency and resilience

Taliban frees two Western prisoners in swap for top commanders. US welcomes release of hostages by Taliban in Afghanistan. Taliban free US, Australian hostage for three Taliban figures. Grenades target military center, wound five in Afghan capital. Back-to-back blasts hit Afghan capital; at least 4 wounded.

At least 7 killed in Kabul car bomb blast: Interior ministry.

More Americans will die after Trump abruptly ends Afghan talks, Taliban say - Reuters

Afghanistan to release three senior Taliban prisoners: Ghani. China to host rare meeting between Afghan govt, Taliban. Pakistan has played active and negative role in Afghan affairs for decades: US Congressional report. US report pulls up Pakistan for failing to limit Lashkar, Jaish. Afghan president, Chinese FM discuss dialogue with Taliban. Afghan official: Kabul to probe Pakistan security complaint.

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Nine children killed in Afghanistan mine blast. Pakistan's apex court recommends Parliament to redefine 'terrorism'. Taliban should call ceasefire to prove control of forces: Official. Bored of male heroes, Afghan girl coders build their own champions. Decades ago, Jews used to be an important part of society and lived in many regions of the country, especially in its western and northern parts.

Taliban Release Two Western Hostages in Exchange for Militants

Hundreds of Jewish families used to live in the city, and they built several synagogues during their era. One of these historic monuments was restored by the Aga Khan Foundation a few years ago. Unfortunately, there are no Jews left to visit it. In his own synagogue, Simentov recently renovated and painted the prayer room, as he recalled with pride. Every Shabbat, Simentov ascends the small pulpit and recites from the Torah.

He is not always alone while doing that. Top right: Writing in Hebrew on the wall of the synagogue. As a devout Jew, Simentov regularly reads the Torah but is unable to speak Hebrew. Bottom left: A Jewish calendar that Simentov uses to structure his religious life. Bottom right: Stacks of religious texts stored in the synagogue. Simentov has now held that dubious credential for nearly 15 years. They were the last Jewish community of the whole country. While many Afghans continue to have a critical stance toward Najibullah, who used to be the boss of the infamous Afghan communist intelligence service, known as KHAD, before being installed by the Soviets as president, Simentov appears to be one of his sympathizers.

We did not have problems. Najib was a good leader.

US ramped up strikes in Afghanistan following collapse of Taliban peace talks

The accusations against him are untrue. KHAD was known for abducting, torturing, and murdering tens of thousands of people during the communist reign in Kabul. The bodies of many victims are lost to this day. According to many witnesses, Najibullah himself tortured and killed countless prisoners personally.

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  4. Even Soviet archives described the torturer-turned-patriot president as one of the most brutal men among the Afghan communists. Even so, many older Afghans look back on his rule as the relative calm before the Taliban storm. Najibullah was publicly hanged by the Taliban in when they took Kabul. Unsurprisingly, Simentov laments the arrival of the Taliban and their Islamist predecessors, the mujahideen, who conquered Kabul after the collapse of the communist regime and started a bloody civil war. When the Taliban took most of Afghanistan, Simentov spent two months in Israel with his family.

    But against all advice he decided to return and traveled to Kabul through Herat. When he reached the synagogue, he was not alone. Isaac Levy, another Afghan Jew, was also there. But their shared faith was not enough to bring Simentov and Levy together. Unable to get along, the two men began a yearslong feud that confounded even the ruling Taliban regime.

    Both Jews regularly denounced each other. As neighbors recall, Levy repeatedly said that he had converted to Islam and that Simentov did not want to accept this. He also said that his fellow Jew was the owner of a secret brothel where he sold alcohol.

    Simentov in turn accused Levy of practicing black magic, which is prohibited in both Judaism and Islam. In the end, the Taliban, annoyed by their constant infighting, imprisoned both men. But when their quarrel carried on even inside the Taliban-run prison, they eventually were kicked out by the extremists. I was imprisoned a several times because of this charlatan Levy. He wanted to get rid of me to sell the synagogue.

    Isaac Levy, who was at least a quarter century older than Simentov, died in Army soldier. Khairkhwa was imprisoned by the Americans for 12 years. He said his interrogators showed a keen interest in the lost Torah that Simentov seeks, for reasons he did not know—it is believed the large Afghan Jewish emigrant population in New York had also made it an issue with Washington.

    The missing Torah, according to Simentov, is a unique scripture written in the 15th century. When Khairkhwa saw a video of Simentov, filmed by the author of this piece, demanding the Torah, he started laughing. The Taliban leader, obviously irritated when being asked about the lost Torah in the middle of the Afghan peace talks, said that he did not know anything about its whereabouts.

    They did not leave because of us [the Taliban].