Taliban fighters are reported to be “recruiting” young boys in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, which fell to the militants on Monday.
The Taliban are going door to door and “taking young boys from every family as a form of forced recruitment”, according to Al Jazeera’s reporter Qais Azimy.
“They are also using mosque loudspeakers to ask the people to set up Sharia law and are asking people to go about their business,” Azimy reported from the city of Baghlan, south of Kunduz.
Kunduz airport is now the only building left under government control, though the Afghan military is mobilising to retake the city.
Death sentences for Mumbai bombers
Five men have been sentenced to death and another seven will be jailed for life for their roles in the Mumbai bombings, which killed 189 people and injured more than 800 in the western Indian city in 2006.
The July 11 attacks hit seven points in the Mumbai public transport system with a series of coordinated pressure-cooker bombs that detonated within 15 minutes of each other.
Indian prosecutors blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI for the bombings, an allegation which Pakistan denies.
China bombings kill seven
A series of mail bombings in the Chinese city of Liuzhou have killed at least seven people and injured more than 50 others. Fifteen explosions tore through public buildings in the southern city on Wednesday, including a hospital, a shopping centre, and several government facilities. Chinese officials are treating the blasts as a criminal, rather than a terrorist act.
Pope met with Kim Davis: Vatican
The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis secretly met with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who had previously been jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, during his visit to Washington last week. According to Ms Davis, the Pope told her to “stay strong”, which she said “kind of validated everything”. Gay activists were dismayed by news of the meeting.
Georgia woman executed despite Pope’s plea
Death-row inmate Kelly Gissendaner has been executed in the US state of Georgia, despite last-minute appeals and a plea from Pope Francis for clemency. Ms Gissendaner became the first woman executed in Georgia in 70 years on Wednesday for soliciting the 1997 murder of her husband. The Pope had sent the parole board a letter pleading for her sentence to be commuted; it is unknown whether the letter was read. – Jake Nelson
Top image of Taliban fighters raising their flag in Kunduz from Al-Jazeera’s TV coverage.