In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

All Asia Pacific


Saudi to set up $10 billion oil refinery in Pakistan

By: RFE/RL Source: RFE/RL Saudi Arabia says it plans to set up a $10 billion oil refinery in Pakistan’s deepwater port of Gwadar, which is being developed with the help of China. “Saudi Arabia wants to make Pakistan’s economic development stable through establishing an oil refinery and partnership with Pakistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters in Gwadar on January 12. Falih made the comments as he visited the site for the proposed oil refinery, along with Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan’s minister for petroleum and natural resources. Falih said Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman would visit...

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Tajikistan’s war on beards

By: Mirzonabi Holikzod, Amriddin Olimov, Pete Baumgartner Source: RFE/RL DUSHANBE — Authorities in Tajikistan are being accused of stepping up a yearslong campaign against full beards by denying international passports to men who turn up bearded for their photos. President Emomali Rahmon has publicly discouraged beards, which are regarded by many officials in this impoverished Central Asian state as a foreign intrusion on local culture or a telltale sign of religious or other extremism. During one recent week, more than a dozen Tajik men told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service that passport officials had demanded that they return without beards if they want those essential international...

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Taliban pulls out of US peace talks in Qatar

By: RFE/RL Source: RFE/RL KABUL — Afghan Taliban representatives say they have called off two days of peace talks with U.S. officials in Qatar, just hours after they had announced the talks would take place without any delegates from Afghanistan’s government. A Taliban representative in Afghanistan had told Reuters early on January 8 that the talks would begin in Qatar’s capital, Doha, on January 9. That Taliban figure also had said the group was refusing to allow what he called “puppet” Afghan officials to take part in the Doha meetings. But a Taliban representative in Doha told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan later on January 8 that the militant...

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