Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 12:45 am
The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.
"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.
An immense, powerful cyclone that lashed the Indian coast, forcing 500,000 people to evacuate and causing widespread damage, weakened Sunday after making landfall.
Five people died in the rains that fell ahead of the storm, most killed by falling branches, Indian media reported, but the situation on the ground in many areas was still unclear after Cyclone Phailin slammed into the coast Saturday evening in Orissa state, where power and communications lines were down along much of the coastline.
Strong winds and heavy rains pounded India's eastern coastline Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of people took shelter from a massive, powerful cyclone that was expected to reach land in a few hours.
The skies were dark — almost black — at midmorning in Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state and about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the coast. Roaring winds made palm trees sway wildly, and to the south, seawater was pushing inland.