New Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada on Saturday called on the US to end its "occupation" of Afghanistan in his first message since being appointed the militant group's chief in May. "Admit the realities instead of useless use of force and muscle... and put an end to the occupation," Akhundzada said in a speech on the eve of Eid-al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The message is the first by Akhundzada since his predecessor Akhtar Mansour was killed during a US drone strike in neighbouring Pakistan in May.
Bangladesh commandos ended a hostage siege Saturday by storming a cafe where dozens of diners had been held captive by Islamist extremists and shot dead six of the heavily armed gunmen. Officials said 13 hostages had been rescued after members of an elite force took control of the cafe in the capital Dhaka's upmarket Gulshan quarter but there was also an unknown number of civilian casualties. As the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack at the start of the Eid holiday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she was determined to eradicate militancy in the mainly Muslim nation.