KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — President Donald Trump's sudden halt to U.S.-Taliban talks looks like a gift to the beleaguered Afghan president, who has insisted on holding a key election in less than three weeks' time despite widespread expectations that a peace deal would push it aside. Now, with an agreement to end America's longest war on hold, Afghanistan suddenly faces a presidential vote amid warnings that it's not ready — and the threat of even more violence. The Taliban, who control or hold sway over roughly half the country, have told Afghans to boycott the vote and warned that rallies and polling stations would be targets.
Rocket blast at US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A rocket exploded at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan just minutes into Wednesday, the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States, but officials at the compound declared all-clear about an hour later and reported no injuries. A plume of smoke rose over central Kabul shortly after midnight and sirens could be heard. Inside the embassy, employees heard this message over the loudspeaker: "An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound." There was no immediate comment from Afghan officials. The NATO mission, which is nearby, also said no personnel had been injured. It was the first major attack in the Afghan capital since President Donald Trump abruptly called off U.S.-Taliban talks over the weekend, on the brink of an apparent deal to end America's longest war.
Kashmiris allege night terror by Indian troops in crackdown
HEFF SHIRMAL, India (AP) — The Indian soldiers descended on Bashir Ahmed Dar's house in southern Kashmir on Aug. 10, a few days after the government in New Delhi stripped the disputed Himalayan region of its statehood and launched a crackdown. Over the next 48 hours, the 50-year-old plumber said he was subjected to two separate rounds of beatings by soldiers. They demanded that he find his younger brother, who had joined rebels opposing India's presence in the Muslim majority region, and persuade him to surrender or else "face the music." In the second beating, at a military camp, Dar said he was struck with sticks by three soldiers until he was unconscious.
North Korea confirms test of large multiple rocket launcher
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says leader Kim Jong Un has observed the test-launches of a super-large multiple rocket launcher. The Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday the two rounds of weapons tests at an unidentified place on Tuesday. It likely refers to the two projectile launches that South Korea says were made from the North's South Phyongan province. The launches came hours after North Korea offered to restart nuclear diplomacy with the United States in late September. North Korea still said its dealings with the United States may end if Washington fails to come to the negotiating table without new acceptable proposals.
Mugabe's body believed to be leaving Singapore for Zimbabwe
SINGAPORE (AP) — A vehicle believed to be carrying the body of former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe left a Singapore funeral parlor Wednesday morning to be returned to his homeland for burial in the African nation he ruled for decades. Police escorting the vehicle Wednesday morning said the convoy was heading to the airport. Mugabe died Friday in a Singapore hospital at age 95. Zimbabwe's Vice President Kembo Mohadi was seen arriving at the funeral parlor Tuesday afternoon, and a Zimbabwe state newspaper said his body would return to the country on Wednesday. Mugabe was an ex-guerrilla chief who took power in 1980 when Zimbabwe shook off white minority rule.
South Korea to file WTO complaint over Japan trade curbs
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea is filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Japan's tightened export controls on key materials South Korean companies use to make computer chips and displays, accusing Tokyo of weaponizing trade to retaliate over political rows. Senior trade official Yoo Myung-hee said Seoul will request bilateral consultation with Japan over the trade curbs Wednesday as the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process. Japan in July imposed tighter export controls on three chemicals South Korean companies use to produce semiconductors and displays for smartphones and TVs. Seoul says Tokyo is retaliating over South Korean court rulings that called for Japanese companies to offer reparations to aging South Korean plaintiffs over World War II forced labor.
AP PHOTOS: Dining, laughing, living amid Hong Kong protests
HONG KONG (AP) — A couple in wedding dress and tuxedo pose for photos on Hong Kong's famed Victoria Peak. A diner at a streetside restaurant focuses on his food while protesters march by. Two people ride the up escalator as a phalanx of riot-ready police descends on the other side. Life is not quite normal after three months of steady protests in this Asian financial center — and yet normal life goes on, as it must, for the city's 7.4 million people. Residents, tourists and laughter fill the restaurants at the Temple Street night market, though declining airport arrivals and discounted hotel rooms show the tourism industry's pain.
Analysis: North Korean tests put pressure on Washington
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Another week, another North Korean weapons test. North Korea's relentless, carefully calibrated barrage of firepower — Tuesday's test was its eighth since late July — has managed to normalize a martial display of defiance that not too long ago raised fears of war in one of the most dangerous corners of the world. The tests, which have been repeatedly dismissed by President Donald Trump as routine, are just the latest bit of proof that North Korea, a small, fiercely proud, totalitarian nation surrounded by big neighboring powers that are often unfriendly, is a master at getting a lot from a little.
Hong Kong soccer fans loudly boo Chinese national anthem
HONG KONG (AP) — Thousands of Hong Kong soccer fans booed loudly and turned their backs when the Chinese national anthem was played before a World Cup qualifier match against Iran on Tuesday, taking the city's months of protests into the sports realm. The crowd broke out into "Glory to Hong Kong," a song reflecting their campaign for more democratic freedoms in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. After the match started, fans chanted "Fight for freedom" and "Revolution of our Times." One person carried a blue poster that read, "Hong Kong is not China." Hong Kong has been roiled by protests since June over an extradition bill that would have sent some residents to mainland China for trial.
China to boost Serb military with drones, other equipment
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia praised China on Tuesday for boosting the Balkan nation's military with drones and other equipment amid Western concerns that the arms buildup could threaten fragile peace in the region. A Serbian Defense Ministry statement after a visit by a high-ranking Chinese military delegation thanked Beijing for economic and military support. Serbian officials said China has agreed the sale of armed drones, marking the first export of Chinese remotely piloted aircraft to a European country. Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said the delivery expected in the coming months "will greatly strengthen the Serbian military, which will gain capabilities it has not had in the past." Serbia was at war with its neighbors in the 1990s.