The Taliban said Americans have the most to lose from cancelling peace negations that sought to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan, after US President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets calling off a secret meeting at his Camp David presidential retreat this week. Trump said his decision came after the Taliban admitted being behind a recent attack that killed a US soldier.
Trump had arranged to meet with senior Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Maryland retreat. The meetings were likely to have been kept separate, as the Taliban refuses to talk directly with the Afghan government, insisting they are American puppets. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the intention to host the Taliban on US soil, days ahead of the 9/11 attacks’ anniversary.
Iran said it now uses arrays of advanced centrifuges prohibited by its 2015 nuclear deal and can enrich uranium “much more beyond” current levels to weapons-grade material, taking a third step away from the accord while warning Europe has little time to offer it new terms. While insisting Iran doesn’t seek a nuclear weapon, the comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran threatened pushing uranium enrichment far beyond levels ever reached in the country.
Prior to the atomic deal, Iran only reached up to 20%, which itself is only a short technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Iran separately acknowledged it had seized another ship and detained 12 Filipino crewmembers, while satellite images suggested an Iranian oil tanker once held by Gibraltar was now off the coast of Syria.
In Britain, Boris Johnson’s premiership looked to be falling apart following a string of heavy defeats for the government in both houses of parliament. The prime minister was thwarted three times in the House of Commons: an attempt by opposition parties and Tory rebels to block a no-deal Brexit easily cleared its second and third readings, and Johnson later failed in his attempt to force a snap general election.
But an early poll seemed increasingly likely after the Labour leader signalled that he would back Johnson’s call for a snap poll, but only once the bill opposing a no-deal Brexit bill has passed. As we went to press this week, it was all set to gain Royal Assent. Johnson’s motion calling for a general election was held 24 hours after he failed to prevent backbench MPs led by former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin seizing control of the parliamentary timetable.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said it has managed to locate Vikram, the Chandrayaan-2 lander, on the Moon's surface a day after losing contact with the craft. However, Isro was yet to establish contact with Vikram, having lost communications with the lander minutes before it was to land near the south pole of the Moon.
The lander was located with the help of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which remains safe and is revolving around the Moon. The orbiter managed to shoot a thermal image of the Vikram lander, but its condition was yet to be ascertained.The soft-landing of Chandrayaan-2's landing module, Vikram, did not go according to plan as all ground communication was lost with it just moments before the scheduled landing late on September 7.