President Joe Biden has said he stands “squarely” behind the US exit from Afghanistan as he faces withering criticism over the Taliban’s lightning conquest of the war-torn country. He said that despite the “messy” pull-out, “there was never a good time to withdraw US forces”. On Sunday, the Taliban declared victory after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled and his government collapsed.
New Zealand will go into lockdown for three days on Wednesday after the country recorded its first coronavirus case in six months. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the nation would be put under strict lockdown after one COVID-19 case was reported in Auckland. The whole of New Zealand will be in lockdown for three days from Wednesday.
The Taliban held its first official news conference in Kabul since the shock seizure of the city, declaring on Tuesday it wished for peaceful relations with other countries. “We don’t want any internal or external enemies,” the movement’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said. The spokesman asserted that the rights of women will be protected within the framework of Islam.
A second young woman abducted seven years ago from the town of Chibok by Boko Haram militants was freed this week, Borno state’s governor has said. The kidnappings of some 270 teenagers in the northeastern town in 2014 sparked an international outcry and a viral campaign on social media with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. The army handed over Hassana Adamu, along with her two children, to Governor Babagana Zulum on Saturday.
Haiti, a country already reeling from the devastation of a deadly earthquake, was drenched on Monday by a tropical depression that brought heavy rains and winds. Haiti’s civil protection agency said that rain was complicating the situation of people displaced by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck in the southwest part of the country, toppling buildings and killing more than 1,400 people.
Maki Kaji, the creator of the popular numbers puzzle Sudoku whose life’s work was spreading the joy of puzzles, has died. He was 69 and had bile duct cancer. Known as the “Godfather of Sudoku,” Kaji created the puzzle to be easy for children and others who didn’t want to think too hard. Its name is made up of the Japanese characters for “number” and “single”.