The Hill Talk’s Glance at the Globe

Taliban, ISIS call truce, unify against the U.S.:  Despite often being engaged in battle with one another, American military intelligence officials are reporting some elements of Taliban forces in eastern Afghanistan have negotiated a truce with Islamic State (ISIS) forces.

According to U.S. military estimates, no formal peace has been negotiated between the two groups, but rather what appears to be an entente with certain groups’ forces in both the Afghani provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar, which would allow ISIS to strengthen its position in both regions and focus on its battle against the U.S. and U.S.-backed Afghani forces.

Aleppo target of second gas attack:  Chlorine gas bombs dropped along with barrel bombs into a residential area of Aleppo killed four and injured 55.

London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the explosive devices and chlorine bombs were dropped from Syrian helicopters.

This is the second use of chlorine gas used in Aleppo in the past week.  A UN report in 2013 concluded nerve gas (sarin) was used against civilians, killing over 1,000. The 2013 report was followed by a 2015 allegation mustard gas was used in the civil war, but the group which reported the charge, The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, declined to name which side had used the gas.

Viet-Nam places missiles on Spratly Islands:  Although the source of heated dispute among several Asian nations, Viet-Nam has placed several batteries of mobile missile delivery systems on islands it controls in the Spratly Island chain amid growing tension with China.

The missiles are believed to be capable of becoming operational within two days if authorized.

China has claimed territorial rights to the entire group of islands and has recently conducted combat air exercises around the islands.

Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Japan have overlapping claims on the islands.

Ukraine military on high alert:  Following the charge leveled by Moscow Ukrainian insurgents had engaged in terror activities in Crimea, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has rushed Ukrainian troops to the Crimean border.

The decision to place troops at the frontier with Russian-Crimea arrives at the same moment the armistice to the 28-month-old conflict appears to be unraveling.  Fighting in the eastern Donbas region recently erupted, sending civilians fleeing for safety and banned weapons, mortars, artillery and armored vehicles, engaged in battle.

Zambia polls close amid charges of fraud:  Despite an election surrounded by charges of fraud, the first returns in Zambia’s nationwide elections reveal Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu clutching a slight lead over opposition candidate, United Party for National Development’s Hichilema Hakainde.

Results were delayed when the Electoral Commission of Zambia was presented with charges of fraud.

Hichilema has alleged an election commission official had granted access to an unnamed man to commission computers and the man had meddled with election results.


[RT News] [Reuters] [BBC] [Bloomberg]