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Video: Man dangling from helicopter not an execution but failed Taliban flag ceremony

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By Jenny Goldsberry

A video of a man dangling from a Black Hawk in Afghanistan went viral Monday. Many suspected it was an execution. Others even claimed the man was an interpreter or American citizen. However, an Afghan journalist put all rumors to rest, saying it was a living Taliban fighter attempting to hoist the Taliban flag.

Bilal Sarwary is a respected Afghan journalist who is fortunate enough to live outside the country. “Afghan pilot flying this is someone I have known over the years,” Sarwary tweeted Tuesday. “He was trained in the US and UAE, he confirmed to me that he flew the Blackhawk helicopter. Taliban fighter seen here was trying to install Taliban flag from air but it didn’t work in the end.”

As a result, Twitter began flagging the video posted by others with the warning “this media is presented out of context.”

Yet the presence of U.S. military-grade weapons has lead to deadly consequences in other instances. Sarwary tweeted reports of these weapons being exchanged between the Taliban and fighters in Gulabahar just north of Kabul. “Reports of casualties [and] fatalities on both sides,” Sarwary tweeted. “At least 4 fighters from opposition from Gulbahar killed in one location, multiple sources in Gulbahar tells me.”

According to reports, the military left a number of machinery and weaponry. Over 64,000 machine guns, 350,000 assault rifles and 126,000 pistols fell to the hands of the Taliban. Not to mention the over 22,000 humvees, 50,000 trucks, 160 tanks and more.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’

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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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