Fifty Dead in Heavy Rain, Floods in Central Afghanistan

An Afghan boy walks along a flooded street in Sheikh Jalal, Baghlan province, Afghanistan May 12, 2024. (Reuters)
An Afghan boy walks along a flooded street in Sheikh Jalal, Baghlan province, Afghanistan May 12, 2024. (Reuters)
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Fifty Dead in Heavy Rain, Floods in Central Afghanistan

An Afghan boy walks along a flooded street in Sheikh Jalal, Baghlan province, Afghanistan May 12, 2024. (Reuters)
An Afghan boy walks along a flooded street in Sheikh Jalal, Baghlan province, Afghanistan May 12, 2024. (Reuters)

At least 50 people are dead following a fresh bout of heavy rain and flooding in central Afghanistan, an official said on Saturday.
Mawlawi Abdul Hai Zaeem, the head of the information department for the central Ghor province, told Reuters that there was no information about how many people were injured in the rain spell that began on Friday, which had also cut off many key roads to the area.
Zaeem added that 2,000 houses were completely destroyed, 4,000 partially damaged, and more than 2,000 shops were under water in the province's capital, Feroz-Koh.
Last week, flash floods caused by heavy rains devastated villages in northern Afghanistan, killing 315 people and injuring more than 1,600, authorities said on Sunday.
On Wednesday, a helicopter used by the Afghan air force crashed due to "technical issues" during attempts to recover the bodies of people who had fallen into a river in Ghor province, killing one and injuring 12 people, the country's defense ministry said.
Afghanistan is prone to natural disasters and the United Nations considers it one of countries most vulnerable to climate change.
It has battled a shortfall in aid after the Taliban took over as foreign forces withdrew from the country in 2021, since development aid that formed the backbone of government finances was slashed.
The shortfall has worsened in subsequent years as foreign governments grapple with competing global crises and growing condemnation of the Taliban's curbs on Afghan women.



UK’s Nigel Farage Says the West Provoked Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

 Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
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UK’s Nigel Farage Says the West Provoked Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

 Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a hotel in Blackpool, northwestern England, on June 20, 2024, in the build-up to the UK general election on July 4. (AFP)

Nigel Farage, the leader of Britain's right-wing Reform UK party, said the eastward of expansion of the European Union and NATO had provoked Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The remarks, made in an interview with the BBC aired late on Friday, drew strong criticism across the British political spectrum ahead of a July 4 election in which Farage's party is predicted to win millions of votes.

Farage said he stood by comments made shortly after Moscow's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, when he posted on social media that the move was a "consequence of EU and NATO expansion". He said he had been predicting a war in Ukraine as early as 2014.

"It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, 'They're coming for us again' and to go to war," Farage said in Friday's BBC interview.

"We provoked this war ... of course it's his (Putin's) fault - he's used what we've done as an excuse."

Russia casts its special military operation in Ukraine as part of a broader struggle with the West, which it says wants to bring Russia to its knees. Kyiv and the West reject this and accuse Russia of waging an illegal war of conquest.

Farage's decades of campaigning against Britain's membership of the EU and mass immigration has made him one of the country's most recognizable and divisive politicians.

His surprise entry into the election race has further hit Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's hopes of closing the center-left Labour Party's opinion poll lead.

Even though Reform is unlikely to win many seats in parliament, it could split the right-of-center vote across the country. The party held only one seat in the last parliament, which it gained when a Conservative lawmaker defected.

Farage's remarks on Ukraine drew immediate condemnation.

Sunak said Farage was "completely wrong", accusing him of appeasement that put Britain and its allies' security at risk. Labour's defense spokesman John Healey called Farage's comments disgraceful and labelled him a "Putin apologist".

Farage later posted on X: "Putin was wrong to invade a sovereign nation, and the EU was wrong to expand eastward. The sooner we realize this, the closer we will be to ending the war and delivering peace."