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03 Nov 2018 description

Russia says the Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed to take part in international talks in Moscow next week on the Afghan peace process.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on November 3 that delegations from Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and from the Taliban’s Qatar-based political office will attend the talks scheduled for November 9.

"It will be the first time that a delegation from the Taliban's political office in Doha will attend such a high-level international meeting," the Foreign Ministry said.

08 Oct 2018 description

The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan is meeting with Afghan leaders in Kabul as part of efforts to reach a peace deal to end the 17-year war with the Taliban.

Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born former U.S. ambassador to Kabul and Iraq, was appointed in September to the U.S. State Department team that is leading the reconciliation effort and peace talks with the Taliban.

A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Khalilzad met with Ghani upon his arrival and was also set to hold talks with senior ministers and top diplomats in Kabul on October 8.

30 Sep 2018 description

Three schoolboys have been reported killed and another injured by a land mine in a separatist-controlled town in eastern Ukraine.

The separatist leaders in the Donetsk region said the explosion occurred on September 30 in the industrial frontline town of Horlivka, 30 kilometers north of the city of Donetsk.

The area has seen heavy fighting between the Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces.

Horlivka Mayor Ivan Prikhodko wrote in a social-media post that the dead, aged between 13 and 15, were all schoolboys.

24 Sep 2018 description

Pakistan has launched a week-long polio vaccination drive aimed at eradicating the crippling disease.

Safdar Rana, who leads Pakistan’s fight against polio, said on September 24 that the drive would target 38.6 million children under the age of five, including the children of Afghan refugees who frequently travel between the two countries.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are among only a few countries in the world where polio still exists as an epidemic.

"Pakistan is closest ever to its goal [of polio eradication]," Rana said.

08 Sep 2018 description

Russian and Syrian government aircraft have carried out intense attacks on opposition-held towns in Syria's Idlib Province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on September 8 that the attacks were the "most violent" raids since the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad threatened to attack the area a month ago.

The group said nearly 60 Russian air raids hit the province over the course of three hours early in the day.

07 Aug 2018 description

PRISTINA -- Senior government officials in Kosovo and Serbia have indicated a willingness to consider border changes as part of a peace process aimed at ending a dispute over Kosovo’s independence that has hampered both country's accession to the European Union.

But critics on August 7 warned that the entire Balkan region could be destabilized by the idea of swapping a predominantly ethnic Albanian part of southern Serbia for mostly ethnic Serb populated parts of northern Kosovo.

01 Jul 2018 description

The Pakistani government says it has granted another extension to a deadline for the forced repatriation of some 2 million Afghan refugees.

The prime minister’s office on June 30 said the federal cabinet decided "to grant an interim extension of three months to the registered refugees present in the country."

It added that the issue would be next dealt with by the incoming government following elections scheduled for July 25.

24 Jun 2018 description

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The leaders of 16 EU countries spoke of a unified effort to solve the migrant crisis on the Continent, but their “mini-summit” failed to yield any concrete decisions.

"We will continue to work on resolving these issues," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on June 24 after the Brussels gathering.

"There was a lot of good will to do this today, and apart from a few differences, there was a great deal of unity," she added.

18 Jun 2018 description

RFE/RL's Balkan Service

Bosnian border guards have stopped dozens of migrants seeking to cross into European Union member Croatia.

The June 18 incident in northwestern Bosnia came amid a sharp increase in migrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia seeking refuge in Western Europe.

About 100 migrants had moved toward from the town of Velika Kladusa, where hundreds have been staying in makeshift camps, to the Maljevac border crossing, but police blocked them from proceeding.

10 Jun 2018 description

The Afghan Taliban has announced a three-day cease-fire over the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, their first offer of its kind, following an earlier unilateral cessation of hostilities announced by the government.

But the militant group warned that the suspension of fighting for the first three days of Eid-al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, did not extend to foreign forces, who would continue to be targeted.

18 May 2018 description

Several buses carrying 270 refugees and migrants from Sarajevo to an asylum center in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina were stopped and turned back by police in a Bosnian Croat-dominated canton on May 18, officials say.

More than 4,000 migrants have entered Bosnia this year after traffickers opened a route through Greece to Western Europe via Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia.

10 Apr 2018 description

Pakistan has launched a nationwide polio-vaccination drive to try to reach 38.7 million children and eradicate the paralyzing and potentially deadly virus in one of the last countries on Earth where it is found.

Nearly 260,000 volunteers and workers fanned out across Pakistan in an effort to vaccinate every child below the age of 5 in a weeklong campaign, Pakistan's national coordinator on polio, Mohammad Safdar, said on April 9.

He said the authorities hoped a similar campaign will soon be launched in Pakistan's tribal regions.

09 Apr 2018 description

April 09, 2018 08:44 GMT

Turkey says it is deporting hundreds of Afghans back to Afghanistan, in a major operation after thousands of them allegedly illegally entered the country in recent weeks.

On April 8, 227 Afghan migrants boarded a charter flight from the northeastern city of Erzurum to Kabul, Turkish news agencies reported.

They said an additional more than 400 Afghans were set for deportation in the coming days.

07 Apr 2018 description

April 06, 2018 07:31 GMT

The Taliban has closed at least 30 schools in an area under its control south of Kabul after a local militant commander was killed by government forces, Afghan officials say.

Salim Saleh, a spokesman for Logar Province's governor, said on April 6 that the Taliban closed the schools in the province's Charkh district after several militants and one of their commanders were killed in a night raid by government forces earlier this week.

29 Mar 2018 description

Three people have been killed in an explosion after a vehicle belonging to the international demining group HALO Trust hit a mine in Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, officials said.

A spokeswoman for the de facto health ministry in Nagorno-Karabakh, Maya Azatian, told RFE/RL that two other people who were in the car were injured in the March 29 blast.

Representatives of HALO Trust told RFE/RL that the three people who were killed and the two who were injured were all local residents.

28 Mar 2018 description

Two men have died in Altai Krai after the Siberian region was hit by severe flooding triggered by melting snow.

Russia's Investigative Committee said on March 28 that one of the men drowned after high waters swept him away into a river. The other victim, who had been evacuated days ago, apparently returned home and was found dead by rescue workers in his flooded house.

Meanwhile, Aleksandr Karlin, the region's governor, announced a state of emergency on March 27 as thousands of houses were affected by the floods.

27 Mar 2018 description

BIISK, Russia -- More than 1,000 people have been evacuated in the Siberian region of Altai Krai after melting snow caused severe flooding.

The Emergency Situations Ministry's regional department told RFE/RL on March 27 that 3,035 yards and 1,255 houses were flooded in 13 towns and four cities.

The department's spokeswoman, Alyona Seleznyova, said that more than 1,000 people had been evacuated.

Altai Krai borders Kazakhstan to the south.

12 Mar 2018 description

OSKEMEN, Kazakhstan -- Heavy rains and melting snow have converged to cause massive flooding in eastern Kazakhstan.

Zhadyra Amanghaliqyzy, a spokeswoman for the East Kazakhstan regional Emergency Situations Department, told RFE/RL on March 12 that 110 kindergartens, 150 homes, and about 70 other buildings were damaged by high waters in the regional capital, Oskemen, and in the districts of Ayagoz, Glubokoye, Kurshim, Zaisan, and Urzhar.


27 Feb 2018 description

The first day of a Russian-called "humanitarian pause" in Syria's rebel-held eastern Ghouta region has been marred by violence and complaints that the cessation of hostilities is too short to move in aid and remove injured civilians.

Shortly after the five-hour truce called by Russia took effect on February 27, there were reports of air strikes, rocket fire, and mortar shelling in the besieged enclave, which is near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

19 Jan 2018 description

Ukraine's top health official says eight people have died of complications from measles amid a recent outbreak in the country, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked last in terms of measles-vaccination coverage in Europe.

Acting Health Minister Ulyana Suprun told lawmakers on January 19 that a child who had not been vaccinated against measles died the previous day.