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Britain’s Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, dies aged 99

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(Last Updated On: April 9, 2021)

Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth and a leading figure in the British royal family for almost seven decades, has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.

The Duke of Edinburgh, as he was officially known, had been by his wife’s side throughout her 69-year reign, the longest in British history. During that time he earned a reputation for a tough, no-nonsense attitude and a propensity for occasional gaffes.

“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the palace said in a statement.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

A Greek prince, Philip married Elizabeth in 1947. He went on to play a key role in modernising the monarchy in the post-World War Two period, and behind the walls of Buckingham Palace was the one key figure the queen could turn to and trust.

“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years,” Elizabeth said in a rare personal tribute to Philip, made in a speech marking their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.

Philip spent four weeks in hospital earlier this year for treatment for an infection to have a heart procedure, but returned to Windsor in early March.

His charm and disinclination to tolerate those he regarded as foolish or sycophantic earned him a position of respect among some Britons. But to others, his sometimes brusque demeanor made appear him rude and aloof. He was a delight to newspaper editors keen to pick up on any stray remark at official events.

The former naval officer admitted he found it hard to give up the military career he loved and to take on the job as the monarch’s consort for which there was no clear-cut constitutional role.

“Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

HEAD OF THE FAMILY

In private, the prince was regarded as the unquestioned head of his family, but protocol obliged the man dubbed “the second handshake” to spend his public life literally one step behind his wife.

“There was no precedent. If I asked somebody ‘what do you expect me to do?’, they all looked blank – they had no idea, nobody had much idea,” he said in an interview to mark his 90th birthday.

After completing more than 22,000 solo appearances, Philip retired from public life in August 2017, although after that he occasionally appeared at official engagements.

His last appearance was last July at a military ceremony at Windsor Castle, the royal palace to the west of London where he and the monarch have resided during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The queen, who is 94, came to the throne in 1952, and the couple, who were third cousins, married at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947.

They had four children, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward.

They celebrated their 72nd anniversary on the same day that Andrew stepped down from public duties over the controversy surrounding his association with the disgraced late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, one of a number of recent crises the family have faced.

The death of the queen’s husband and closest confidant will raise questions over whether she might consider abdication, but royal commentators say there is little or no chance than this will happen.

In recent years, the queen has cut the number of official engagements she carries out and has passed many royal duties and patronages onto Prince Charles, his son William and other senior royals. But she still carries out the most symbolic of the monarchy’s state duties, such as the opening of parliament.

While he officially played second fiddle to his wife, Prince Philip regarded as the private head of the family.

Some royal watchers have said that his absence from this role in recent years with declining health has played a role in some of the monarchy’s recent travails, such as the crisis of Charles’ younger son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, and the decision that saw them give up their royal roles.

“The main lesson that we have learned is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage,” Philip said in a speech in 1997.

“It may not be quite so important when things are going well, but it is absolutely vital when things get difficult. You can take it from me that the queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”

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Reflections of a year in power, since take over by IEA

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2022)

Exactly one year ago today, August 15, 2021, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) regained control of the country after a 20 year war. In this time they have had enormous challenges to deal with.

The past year has been full of political ups and downs, with many calls being made for a more inclusive government.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan took control of the country last year while a puppet system collapsed and the Islamic Emirate took control of affairs suddenly and immediately. IEA moved the affairs of the country forward. Alhamdulillah, despite all the sanctions and problems, we have achieved a lot,” said Inamullah Samangani, the head of GMIC.

With the establishment of the Islamic Emirate in the country, many political leaders, leading officials of the previous government, parliament members, human rights defenders, journalists and some civil rights activists left the country and sought refuge outside of Afghanistan. But the leader of the Islamic Emirate issued a general amnesty order to control the situation.

Four months into the rule of the Islamic Emirate in the country, the new government was still in political and economic isolation, and with each passing day, international pressure and sanctions against the Islamic Emirate increased.

After four months, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi traveled to Iran for the first time to meet with Iranian officials. He met with Mohammad Ismail Khan, a former jihadi leader, and Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the so-called National Resistance Front.

Muttaqi wanted them to return to the country.

Nine months after taking power, a commission was formed to entice Afghan refugees abroad to return home.

This commission was based on an order issued by the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate, Haibatullah Akhundzada.
Since it’s inception, a number of prominent figures have returned home.

In the past year, the failure to form an inclusive government, the imposition of restrictions on women and girls, and the violation of human rights has however led to strong criticism by the foreign community against the Islamic Emirate.

Some refugees have said these issues are preventing them from returning home.

After ten months of being in power, the IEA held a mass gathering of Ulema. There were about 3,000 scholars in attendance.

In a rare trip to Kabul, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada delivered a speech.

He emphasized that the IEA is ready to interact with the world, but Islamic laws are a red line for them.

In the past year, the Islamic Emirate repeatedly criticized foreign interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and asked the countries of the region and the world to stop meddling in the country’s internal affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan also says that the new government of Afghanistan is now independent and other governments should not interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs.

However, one year later, the new government of Afghanistan has still not been recognized and so far it has not been able to take up its official position at the United Nations.

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On eve of takeover anniversary, Ghani defends decision to flee Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2022)

On the eve of the anniversary of the Islamic Emirate’s takeover of Kabul, Afghanistan’s former president on Sunday defended what he said was a split-second decision to flee, saying he wanted to avoid the humiliation of surrender to the insurgents.

Ashraf Ghani also told CNN that on the morning of August 15, 2021, with the IEA at the gates of the Afghan capital, he was the last one at the presidential palace after his guards had disappeared. He said the defense minister told him earlier that day that Kabul could not be defended, Associated Press reported.

Ghani had previously sought to justify his actions on the day Kabul fell but offered more details Sunday. He alleged that one of the cooks in the palace had been offered $100,000 to poison him and that he felt his immediate environment was no longer safe.

“The reason I left was because I did not want to give the Taliban (IEA) and their supporters the pleasure of yet again humiliating an Afghan president and making him sign over the legitimacy of the government,” he said. “I have never been afraid.”

Critics say Ghani’s sudden and secret departure August 15 left the city rudderless as U.S. and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years.

Ghani also denied persistent allegations that he took tens of millions of dollars in cash with him as he and other officials fled in helicopters.

In a report issued last week, a congressional watchdog said it’s unlikely Ghani and his senior advisers transported that much cash on the escape helicopters, AP reported.

“The hurried nature of their departure, the emphasis on passengers over cargo, the payload and performance limitations of the helicopters, and the consistent alignment in detailed accounts from witnesses on the ground and in the air all suggest that there was little more than $500,000 in cash on board the helicopters,” wrote the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which has tried to monitor the massive U.S. spending in the country over the years.

The agency added, “It remains a strong possibility that significant amounts of U.S. currency disappeared from Afghan government property in the chaos of the Taliban (IEA) takeover, including millions from the presidential palace” and the vault of the National Directorate of Security. The report, however, said the watchdog was unable to determine how much money was stolen and by whom.

In the end, the IEA seized the capital without significant fighting last August, capping a weekslong military blitz in which they rapidly captured provincial capitals without much resistance from the increasingly demoralized Afghan security forces.

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Dozens dead and missing in Parwan floods

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2022)

At least 32 people died and 20 others were injured in flash floods on Sunday in Shinwari and Siagard districts of Parwan province, local sources said Monday.

According to sources, at least 100 people are missing and 17 died in Ghorband valley in Parwan.

This comes after several provinces witnessed heavy rain on Sunday, which damaged dozens of houses.

Jalalabad, in Nangarhar province, was also hit hard overnight. Many houses collapsed in the rain, leaving at least nine people dead, officials said.

The ministry of defense confirmed that the air force had been sent in to help save people in Parwan province and to deliver humanitarian aid.

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