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China successfully launches its first independent “Tianwen-1“ mission to Red Planet 

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(Last Updated On: October 25, 2022)

China has successfully launched its first independent Mars mission, Tianwen-1, on a Long March 5 rocket from Hainan Island’s Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Thursday.

The Space.com reported that the Tianwen-1 consists of an orbiter and a lander/rover duo, a combination of craft that had never before launched together toward the Red Planet.

The ambition of Tianwen-1 is especially striking given that it’s China’s first stab at a full-on Mars mission. (The nation did launch a Red Planet orbiter called Yinghuo-1 in November 2011, but that launch failed, leaving the probes trapped in Earth orbit.

The probe is expected to reach the Red Planet in February 2021. 

If it succeeds, Tianwen-1 (Questions to Heaven) will be the first-ever Mars expedition to complete orbiting, landing, and roving in a single mission.

“The lander/rover pair will touch down on the Martian surface two to three months later somewhere within Utopia Planitia, a large plain in the planet’s Northern Hemisphere that also welcomed NASA’s Viking 2 Lander in 1976,” the Space.com said.

According to the report, the solar-powered rover will then spend about 90 Martian days, or sols, studying its surroundings in detail.

It comes as a week ago, the UAE launched its Mars Mission called Hope – the first attempt to go interplanetary by any Arab country. 

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IEA defense minister leaves Kabul for UAE

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Ministry of Defense says Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob left Kabul for United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, MoD said the defense minister left Kabul as head of delegation for the United Arab Emirates.

The defense ministry stated that the purpose of the trip is to meet with the leaders of the UAE and Afghans based in the country and to strengthen the relations of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with the Gulf countries.

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IEA lays foundation stone for complex marking Khost prisoner-swap site

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is set to build a complex in the area where US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released in 2014 in exchange for five IEA members held in Guantanamo prison.

Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who laid the foundation stone of the complex in Khost province, said that the complex will include a religious seminary, a school, a clinic and a freedom monument.

“Today is a very happy day for us. God has liberated our country… it is very fortunate that we are laying the foundation for a freedom monument here… release of the five prisoners was a source of happiness for Afghanistan,” Haqqani said.

Abdulhaq Wasiq, current head of intelligence, Mohammad Fazil Mazloom, deputy defense minister, Noorullah Noori, minister of frontiers and tribal affairs, Khairullah Khairkhwa, minister of information and culture, and Mohammad Nabi Omari, deputy minister of interior were released in a 2014 deal between the Obama administration and the IEA to free US soldier Bergdahl.

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US envoy stresses importance of Japan’s contributions to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has held talks with Japanese officials on humanitarian needs, human rights and political dialogue during his two-day visit to the country.

“Japan has been a friend of the Afghan people and our partner there for over 20 yrs, and we deeply appreciate Japan’s active diplomacy and continued generosity today,” West said on Twitter on Saturday.

“We are always stronger, on every challenge, when we act together with allies. True in Afghanistan – we’ll continue to need Japan’s expertise and diverse contributions,” West said.

The envoy also said that he got “sage advice” from Tadamichi Yamamoto, a Japanese who served as UN envoy for Afghanistan during 2016-2020.

He also discussed the economic strategy with Japan International Cooperation Agency.

West’s Japan visit was part of his tour to the region that includes India and the United Arab Emirates.

West is expected to consult with partners and Afghans regarding the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, protection of Afghans’ rights, and shared security concerns, according to a statement from the US State Department.

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