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istock/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Kabul hotel siege leaves 6 civilians, 5 gunmen dead; Taliban claims responsibility

At least six civilians and five gunmen are dead following an 11-hour siege Saturday of the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, according to the country's interior ministry.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The terror group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents initially planned to attack the hotel Thursday night but postponed the assault because there was a wedding underway and they wanted to avoid civilian casualties.

Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told ABC News that six people were also injured: three police officers and three civilians.

 Following the siege, Afghan special forces searched room-by-room to ensure that all of the attackers had been accounted for.

Danish said 153 hotel guests and staff, including 8 foreigners, were rescued.

An official at the U.S. Department of State told ABC News they “are monitoring the situation and are in contact with local authorities to determine if any U.S. citizens have been affected.”

 The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a security alert Saturday, saying a "series of explosions" erupted at the Intercontinental Hotel around 9 p.m. local time.

"The attack is reported to be ongoing at this time. Afghan authorities have announced they are reacting to the incident and a heightened police presence throughout the city is expected," the embassy stated.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul had issued a previous security alert Thursday, saying it was "aware of reports that extremist groups may be planning an attack against hotels" in the capital city.



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iStock/Thinkstock(ABUJA, Nigeria) -- Two Americans and two Canadians who were kidnapped by gunmen in northern Nigeria earlier this week have been rescued, police said.

The foreigners -- three men and a woman -- were rescued early Saturday in the Jere area of the Kagarko local government area of Kaduna state after a massive police manhunt, Kaduna state police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu told ABC News.

They have been transported to Nigeria's capital, Abuja. All four were said to be in fairly good condition, Aliyu said.

Kaduna state police commissioner Agyole Abeh told ABC News that no ransom was paid for the foreigners' release. A suspect has been arrested in connection to their abduction, he added.

Police officers were escorting the four foreigners through Kaduna state on Tuesday night when they were ambushed on a roadway in Kagarko. A gun fight ensued between the police officers and the attackers. Two policemen were killed and another was wounded.

The gunmen abducted the foreigners and took off, according to Aliyu.

The foreigners had visited Kafanchan and Kaura in Kaduna state and were heading back to Abuja at the time of the ambush.

When asked for comment Saturday, an official at the U.S. Department of State told ABC News, "We are aware of reports of two U.S. citizens kidnapped and released in Nigeria. The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas are among our top priorities. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment."

Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Elizabeth Reid told ABC News the Canadian government had received confirmation that two of their nationals were freed from their captors in Nigeria.

"We are very pleased that all individuals involved have been released and are safe," Reid said. "Canadian officials worked closely with Nigerian government officials on the ground to ensure the best possible outcome."

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Photodisc/Thinkstock(RATON, N.M.) -- A key Zimbabwe opposition leader was killed Wednesday night in a helicopter crash in the United States, authorities said.

Roy Bennett, an outspoken critic of longtime Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who was forced to resign in late November, died when a helicopter crashed in a remote area of northeastern New Mexico, according to the New Mexico State Police.

Bennett, 60, had left Zimbabwe under Mugabe's rule for exile in South Africa, but continued to be a fierce opponent of the president. He was listed by New Mexico State Police as a resident of Colorado and South Africa. It's unclear why he was in New Mexico.

His wife, 55-year-old Heather Bennett, also died in the crash, along with the pilot, the co-pilot and 61-year-old Texas investor Charles Ryland Burnett, police said.

One unidentified passenger who sustained serious injuries in the crash was expected to survive, police said. The survivor called 911 to report the incident around 6 p.m. local time Wednesday, but the exact location of the crash was uncertain.

Authorities searching for the crash site spotted wreckage on a rancher's property east of Raton, where a grass fire believed to have been caused by the downed helicopter had burned approximately a 1-mile radius around the crash, according to police.

Apart from the survivor who dialed 911, first responders found two men alive but in critical condition. One of them died at the scene a short time later, and the other succumbed to injuries while being airlifted to a hospital. The three other people aboard the downed helicopter were found dead at the scene upon arrival, police said.

The limited flight data available indicated the privately owned Huey Bell UH-1 helicopter was traveling from Raton to Folsom, police said. But the nature of the flight and the cause of the crash is unknown. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Bennett, who was born in Zimbabwe, was a founding member of the Zimbabwean opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change. He had previously been a commercial farmer in the mountainous Chimanimani region, according to party spokesman Obert Chaurura Gutu.

Although he was white, Bennett was known among many black Zimbabweans as "Pachedu," which means "one of us" in Zimbabwe's Shona language. Bennett spoke the native language fluently, Gutu said.

"His work with the local farming communities in Chimanimani district is very well-documented, and he was also a renowned philanthropist who assisted hundreds of local villagers with school fees for their children and other necessary requirements to look after their families," Gutu said in a statement released to the media on Friday.

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moodboard/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer sailed within 12 miles of Scarborough Shoal, a small uninhabited reef in the South China Sea claimed by China and the Philippines, according to a U.S. official. China's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of trespassing through its territorial waters.

The USS Hopper carried out an "innocent passage" within 12 miles of Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday evening, said a U.S. official. The guided missile destroyer was shadowed during the operation by a Chinese Navy ship.

The U.S. official described the Hopper’s patrol as an "innocent passage" and not a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) under the strict legal definition, but "the message was the same."

Under international law, a nation's territorial waters extend 12 miles from its shoreline.

Barely above sea level, the chain of reefs and rocks is located 120 miles west of the Philippines and is claimed by China and the Philippines. Since 2012, Chinese government ships have turned away Philippine fishing vessels near the rich fishing grounds surrounding the shoal.

In 2016, an international court at The Hague ruled against China’s claim to Scarborough Shoal in a case filed by the Philippines.

China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Hopper had sailed within its 12-mile territorial limit "without gaining permission from the Chinese government."

"What the U.S. vessel did violated China's sovereignty and security interests, put the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel who were in the relevant waters for official duties under grave threat, and contravened the basic norms for international relations," the statement added.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with that and will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty," said the statement.

The U.S. Navy has previously conducted FONOPs in the South China Sea through other disputed island chains claimed by China, including the Spratleys and the Paracels. Pentagon officials stressed that FONOPs are conducted worldwide and are intended to demonstrate freedom of navigation through international waters.

"The United States conducts routine and regular FONOPs, as we have done in the past and will continue to do so in the future," said Lt. Commander Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.

"We have a comprehensive FONOP program under which U.S. forces challenge excessive maritime claims across the globe to demonstrate our commitment to uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law. FONOPs are not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements. FONOPS are designed to comply with international law and not threaten the lawful security interest of coastal states."

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iStock/Thinkstock(DAVOS, Switzerland) --  Next week thousands of the world’s richest and most powerful players will gather in the tiny Swiss town of Davos.

Each year the town high in the Alps hosts the World Economic Forum, attended by global political and business leaders, philanthropists, celebrities and media.

It is a gathering epitomizing and promoting the global elite that President Trump has railed against throughout his presidency so far.

So it took the world by surprise when Mr Trump announced he would be attending the summit this year.

The message for the 2018 forum is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” and strong calls for global cooperation are likely to be focused on issues such as climate change and global instability.

Who is going?

A record 70 heads of state or government are said to be participating in Davos 2018, with the higher attendance possibly sparked by curiosity over what message President Trump will bring to the conference, giving the closing speech on the 26th.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving the opening address on Tuesday, and France’s Emmanuel Macron will also deliver a speech on the same day.

Britain’s Theresa May, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu will also attend. Celebrities Cate Blanchett and Elton John are to receive awards in the Davos Arts and Culture award ceremony.

What to look out for

Many will be watching closely for signals from the U.S. president at the forum.

As well as the keynote speeches, there will be bilateral meetings and backdoor diplomacy on the sidelines between world leaders.

Trump is reportedly planning on meeting with Macron. The French leader is increasingly emerging as the stable face of Europe, over German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is struggling to form a government.

Meanwhile in the U.K., embattled Prime Minister Theresa May is suffering a humiliating snub by President Trump – for the second time in a month. After the president's recently canceling plans to visit the U.K. for the opening of the new American embassy in London, the White House has said Trump will have no time at Davos to meet with May.

Competing narratives

With the U.S. under Trump appearing to be rowing back from taking a leadership role in a globalized world and Britain's deciding to leave the European Union, the EU is increasingly stepping in to fill the void. It is championing the need for an international response to climate change and working to keep in place the Iran nuclear agreement.

Macron will likely emphasize this in his speech, extolling the virtues of global cooperation and projecting confidence in the EU as a rising financial and political power.

However, it is President Trump who is expected to be the headline act this year.

At his last address to a major gathering of world players at the UN General Assembly in September last year, he gave a vigorous defense of American sovereignty and warned that the U.S. would no longer make any more deals that were not in its own interest.

Headlines were dominated by his threat to “totally destroy North Korea,” referring to its leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man”.

Will there be a showdown?

While Macron is likely to make a strong speech promoting his competing political agenda, he has gone out of his way to forge a diplomatic working relationship with Trump, throwing a highly successful and lavish state visit at the Elysee Palace for him last year. It’s unlikely the two will directly spar.

Last year President Xi Jinping dominated at Davos – it was the first attendance of any Chinese president at the forum in its 48-year history.

He delivered a strong message for global unity and cooperation over protectionism, seemingly aimed at the U.S. president-elect who had been threatening to slap heavy tariffs on Chinese goods.

Xi will not be attending this year, perhaps averting what could have been a clash between the two competing superpowers that together account for about 40 percent of the world economy.

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ABC News(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- On the outskirts of Riyadh, at an amusement park on the edge of the desert, there it was: rap music. It’s all part of the sweeping changes being unleashed in Saudi Arabia by the 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MbS” as everyone calls him).

Since he was catapulted to power with the support of his father, the king, MbS has thrown open the gates to a new, more liberal era for this strategically crucial country, one of the most important allies of the United States.

He’s declared he wants to restore a “moderate Islam, open to the world” in Saudi Arabia. He’s pushed to (finally) allow women to drive, beginning this June. He’s cleared the way for movie theaters to reopen for the first time in 35 years.

And, once again, you can hear music in public in this country, including rap.

Not everyone approves. Saudi Arabia is still a profoundly conservative country. But it is also a country where about 70 percent of the people are younger than 30 years old.

Times change. Youth will be served. Even in Saudi Arabia.

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ABC News(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- This June, for the first time ever, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive.

In this deeply conservative country, which for decades has officially embraced and enforced a strict, all-encompassing version of Islam, the image of a woman behind the wheel, driving herself wherever she chooses, with no man accompanying her, was seen by many as scandalous, even sacrilegious.

Many other Saudis saw the restriction on women drivers as backwards and embarrassing. And now -- they can’t wait to hit the roads.

Some are already practicing, as we found out, in go-karts.

On the edge of the desert outside Riyadh, we found a go-kart track where girls and women zoom around, passing older drivers (like me), spinning out around the curves, enjoying the feeling of speed and power -- even in a little 6-horsepower go-kart.

They’re having a blast. And they are part of a revolutionary era here.

The plan to lift the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia is led by the 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MbS” as everyone calls him).

Since he was catapulted to power with the support of his father, the king, MbS has thrown open the gates to a new, more liberal era for this strategically crucial country, one of the most important allies of the United States.

So amid all the laughter and competition around that track, you could feel the change that is coming to Saudi Arabia -- fast.

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ABC News(RIO DE JANEIRO) -- A baby was killed and 15 people were injured -- including more children -- after a car crashed into pedestrians along a beach walk in Brazil, according to media reports and local authorities.

An 8-month-old baby was killed in the accident, according to Reuters and Brazilian TV network Globo, citing police.

The driver is suspected to have suffered some kind of epileptic attack, according to the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro State. The accident is not thought to be terror-related, officials said.

Video out of Rio de Janeiro shows people strewn about the sand after the accident.

First responders were seen tending to the injured, who were surrounded by a crowd of onlookers after the accident. The extent of the injuries is unknown.

A small black car was seen with its hood lifted as authorities investigated the scene.

It's the run-up to Carnival season, so beaches are more crowded than normal with tourists.



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gabriel__bostan/iStock/Thinkstock(DELHI, India) -- State-run schools in India's capital, Delhi, will soon provide a live feed of classrooms parents access on their mobile phones, on the heels of serious crimes alleged to have been committed against students.

The goal, Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal said, is to "make the whole system transparent and accountable" and ensure the children's safety.

Parents will be able to watch their children at school on a real-time basis, through a feed from closed-circuit TV cameras that will be installed in all classrooms and other spaces at government-run schools, Kejriwal said in a tweet.

The process to install CCTV cameras would start in three months, The Hindustan Times reported, and the government is still developing the mobile app that will stream the live feed.

The government said it plans to include a complaint feature in the mobile app, so if parents spot anything wrong, they can use it to report the activity.

The affected schools cater to children between the ages of 3 and 16 years old.

Many parents have expressed support of the move on social media, after a young child was found with his throat slit in a school bathroom and the alleged rape of a five-year old girl in another school.

However, critics say that having the city's children and teachers under constant surveillance may not help the situation and is unfair, and it will likely be used as a disciplinary tool.

Thousands of schools in China have already installed webcams in classrooms, from kindergarten to college. But after a critical article in the New York Times reported on them, several schools halted the broadcasts.

The Telegraph reported last year that teachers in at least two English schools had been using body cameras, similar to those worn by police, to control student’s behavior.

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TongRo Images Inc/Thinkstock(BALLINA, Australia) -- In what’s being billed as the world’s first, a drone helped to rescue two swimmers today caught in the surf off an Australian beach.

Gabe Vidler and Monty Greeslade, both 17, were body-surfing in the Pacific Ocean at Lennox Beach, north of Ballina, at about 11:30 a.m. local time when they began to struggle with strong currents and 10-foot waves, 9News of Australia reported.

Friends on the beach alerted lifeguards, who had been conducting a training exercise using the drone, according to 9News.

"We noticed we were being pulled really fast. One of our other friends called the lifeguard," Vidler told 9News. At first Vidler and Greeslade thought the drone was a shark, but when they saw the inflatable pod they grabbed on and were pulled to shore.

The struggling swimmers were located within minutes and the drone, recording every second, dropped an inflatable pod into the water, New South Wales Surf Life Saving said in a statement.

“I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes,” Jai Sheridan, the lifeguard piloting the drone, said in the statement. “On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public.”

The drone, known officially as the Little Ripper, is part of a new generation of search-and-rescue technology made by the Westpac Little Ripper group in which the Australian state of New South Wales has invested to help protect its beaches, according to Surf Life Saving.

Both teenagers reportedly suffered no injuries in the incident, apart from showing signs of fatigue.



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ABC News(SANTIAGO, Chile) -- Thursday morning Pope Francis married a couple on board his flight from the Chilean capital, Santiago, to the northern coastal town of Iquiqe, where he was headed to celebrate a large open-air mass.

It is the first time a pope has celebrated a wedding during a flight, according to the Vatican.

Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, and Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, both flight attendants, met 8 years ago. They were married in a civil ceremony in 2010, but were unable to have a Catholic wedding in their parish church because it collapsed in the 2010 earthquake. They have two children.

The couple were introduced to the Pope on the plane and asked if he would bless their marriage. Instead, he asked them if they wanted him to perform their religious marriage. They said they were surprised, but agreed immediately.

The event was "unexpected," Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters who were travelling on the plane with the Pope to his next destination.

The brief ceremony took place at the front of the plane and the official witness was an airline executive and a Chilean bishop, also on board the flight, signed the document to make it valid.

After the ceremony, the couple told the journalists on the plane, "It was very moving. We can’t believe the pope married us! Marriage works...we hope it will promote marriage."

The couple both work for Latam, the Latin American airline based in Chile.

Late Thursday the Pope is scheduled to fly to the capitol city of Peru, Lima. The pontiff's visit to Peru will last through Sunday.
 
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iStock/Thinkstock(KALYBAI, Kazakhstan) -- At least 52 people died when their moving bus caught fire in Kazakhstan Thursday in one of the region’s deadliest bus accidents in years.

All the victims are believed to be Uzbek migrant workers on their way to the city of Kazan in Russia, a Kazakh emergency ministry official told ABC News. Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic.

Five people survived the blaze, the ministry said, which was near the village of Kalybai.

Two of the survivors suffered burns to their hands, while the others had minor injuries, emergency services officials said. Three survivors were Kazakh drivers, taking turns at the wheel, and the two others were Uzbek passengers, the officials said.

The bus burst into flames before fire quickly tore through the vehicle, killing the 52 people before they could flee after the bus stopped, an emergency ministry official said, declining to give her name.

Both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan’s emergency services ministry said they have opened a hotline.

The incident occurred around 10:30 a.m. local time, the emergency ministry said in a statement.

The bus was traveling from the tiny town of Zibek in Kazakhstan’s southern Saragaiski region to Kazan, Russia, an 1,800-mile route often used by migrant workers heading for jobs on construction sites in Russia.

The bus, manufactured in 1989, was registered in Kazakhstan, most likely as a private transporter, Yerbolat Sakulov, a senior official in the Kazakh ministry of interior, said. “We are checking all our registries, to see if he had a transportation license,” Sakulov said.

But he provided no details on the cause of the fire. “It’s too early to talk about the reasons for the fire; it just happened this morning,” Sakulov told ABC News. “There is an investigation going on.”

Thursday’s fire highlights the risk of passenger transport in the region. In October of last year, for instance, a Kazakh-registered bus with Uzbek passengers was hit by a train in Russia after it broke down on the tracks, killing 19 people aboard the bus.

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images(CARDIFF, Wales) -- Meghan Markle stepped out with Prince Harry Thursday for their second official event of the New Year as an engaged couple.

Markle, 36, and Harry, 33, were greeted by large crowds of cheering fans and chants of "Meghan" and "Harry" in Wales, where they are celebrating the area's heritage and culture.

The couple's arrival was delayed around one hour due to a delay on the train they took from London to Wales.

Harry and Markle, who will wed in a castle in May, visited Cardiff Castle, an iconic building in Wales that dates back about 2,000 years.

They were presented with a Celtic love spoon, a Welsh tradition, by two children also named Megan and Harry, according to Kensington Palace.

Markle, dressed in a dark coat with her hair in a bun, and Harry will see performances from musicians and poets taking part in the Welsh Culture festival.

Harry and Markle are also scheduled to visit a local community center where an organization supported by Harry, Street Games, makes sports accessible to people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They will also hear from another charity that seeks to provide sports opportunities for women.

Harry and Meghan visited a radio station in Brixton earlier this month and made an official visit to Nottingham in December, all in an effort to introduce Markle to different parts of the U.K.

Harry's brother, Prince William, and his wife, Princess Kate, also met with well-wishers across the U.K. before their 2011 wedding.

Even though Markle is not yet officially a member of the royal family, she has already received an official gift, an apron. The apron -- a joint gift to Markle and Harry -- was received on their behalf by William while he visited Finland in November, just after Harry and Markle's engagement was announced.

The gift, made public this week in the royals' annual list of gifts received, is fitting for the couple. Harry proposed to Markle while they were making roast chicken together in their Kensington Palace cottage.

Harry and Markle’s wedding will take place May 19, 2018, at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Jason Knauf, the couple’s communications secretary, said the wedding will reflect the personal tastes of the couple. He said Harry and Meghan are excited to be holding their wedding in “the beautiful grounds of Windsor,” adding, “They will be making sure it reflects who they are as a couple."

Markle, a Los Angeles native, and Harry are expected to incorporate some U.S. traditions into their wedding while preserving traditions consistent with British royal weddings of the past.

William, 35, is expected to serve as Harry's best man despite recently joking that his brother hasn't yet asked him to be best man.

William and Kate's children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, are also expected to play roles as page boy, for George, and bridesmaid, for Charlotte, the equivalent to a flower girl in the United States.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NIGERIA) -- Two Americans and two Canadians who were traveling through northern Nigeria have been kidnapped by gunmen, police said.

Police officers were escorting the four foreigners through Kaduna state on Tuesday night when they were ambushed on a roadway in Kagarko, Kaduna state police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu told ABC News.

A gun fight ensued between the police officers and the attackers, and two policemen were killed and another was wounded. The gunmen abducted the foreigners and took off, according to Aliyu.

The foreigners had visited Kafanchan and Kaura in Kaduna state and were heading back to Nigeria's capital city, Abuja, at the time of the ambush.

Police aren't releasing the identities of the foreign nationals for security reasons.

"Our men are doing everything possible to rescue them," Aliyu told ABC News via telephone Thursday morning.

An official at the U.S. Department of State told ABC News on Wednesday that the government was aware that two citizens were reportedly kidnapped in Nigeria, but said no further information was available at this time.

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told ABC News on Wednesday it was aware that two of their nationals were reportedly abducted as well. The Canadian government wouldn't release further details due to privacy concerns.

"Consular officials in Nigeria are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information," the spokesperson said.

According to the U.S. Department of State, violent crime, including kidnapping, is common throughout Nigeria.

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Taibeh Abbasi/Amnesty International(TRONDHEIM, Norway) -- For 18-year-old Taibah Abbasi, Thursday's vote in parliament will almost certainly be another blow in a losing battle with the Norwegian government over her future.

Her message to politicians in Oslo today: "Don't take away my dreams. Don't let me lie awake at night wondering when they will take me."

She knows what that's like.

Abbasi was born in Iran after her Afghan parents fled the Taliban in Afghanistan. Six years ago, Abbasi, her two brothers and mother smuggled their way out of Iran and traveled to Norway.

"We were finally safe," she told ABC News, sitting in a burger joint in Trondheim, more than 200 miles north of Oslo.

Or so she thought.

Granted refugee status and residency permits upon arrival in 2012, the family saw their status revoked two years later by the Norwegian government. The decision put the Abbasi family in imminent danger of being deported to Afghanistan, a country to which Abbasi and her younger brother have never been.

The family is now in the country illegally. In 2015, the police arrived in the middle of the night, broke down the door, handcuffed the Abbasi children and dragged the family to a Norwegian jail.

"That's how Norwegian authorities deal with refugee children," the family's lawyer, Erik Vatne, told ABC News.

Debating safety in Afghanistan


When the residency permits were granted, Vatne said, the government's assessment was that the Abbasi family could not return to Afghanistan without being persecuted. In short, it was too dangerous.

Two years later, the situation in Afghanistan remained exactly the same for the family, Vatne said, but the Norwegian government suddenly decided Afghanistan was safe.

When Vatne appealed the first decision, "the government response was that 'Afghanistan was a safe place. Or at least there were places that were safe. Kabul was safe,' but Afghanistan and Kabul are obviously not safe."

But the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration has said Afghanistan is safe enough for asylum seekers to return, according to Norway Today. “I understand that many people can perceive Afghanistan as an unsafe country, but this is about what thresholds should apply to asylum cases,” the head of the directorate, Frode Forfang, said, the newspaper reported in November.

It also reported that the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration will "not change its practice for single youngsters who had temporary residence because they were minors. They can thus be sent out of the country when they are ... 18 years of age."

Other European countries sending immigrants back to Afghanistan

Abbasi is not alone. European countries are deporting thousands of Afghan teenage refugees, many of whom have never been to their native country.

The number of Afghans returned by European countries to Afghanistan between 2015 and 2016 nearly tripled to 9,460 from 3,290, Amnesty International reported.

Norway returned 760 people to Afghanistan in 2016, and 172 in the first half of 2017, according to Eurostat.

During that same period, the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose to a record high, according to the United Nations.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that 2016 was the deadliest year on record for civilians in Afghanistan, with 11,418 people killed or injured. More than two-thirds of the civilian victims were women and children, it said.

Oslo politicians will today debate the safety of Afghanistan, and a new proposal that would temporarily halt deportations.

"I'm not optimistic at all that Parliament will stop deportations," Vatne said of today's political vote.

While halting deportations for the moment wouldn't guarantee Abbasi’s long-term status, it's a win that would give the family a good night's sleep and give Vatne's legal team time to strategize.

"This is our last hope," Abbasi's older brother, Yassin, 20, told ABC News. "But they could take you at any time."

Norwegian politicians have the power to stop Abbasi's deportation immediately, Amnesty International says.

"European governments have the authority and the power to decide right now it is too dangerous to return anyone to Afghanistan," Anna Shea, Refugee and Migrant Rights Researcher for Amnesty International, told ABC News.

"They could stop deportations today," Shea said, "but they are choosing not to exercise that power."

Norway's immigration minister, Sylvi Listhaug, told the Norwegian Parliament in November that Norway would "become even more attractive if there’s a halt in returns,” according to Views and News from Norway.

"It's important that decisions [on asylum applications] are based on a strong foundation of facts,” Listhaug said, according to the news site. “This has nothing to do with whether you’re kind and cooperative, but whether you have need for protection. We can’t undermine the asylum system.”

Still, Listhaug said last year that she would not travel to Kabul herself, citing the security situation, according to the Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Amnesty International gets involved

Amnesty International has recently championed Abbasi’s fight, and supported the grassroots campaign started by her classmates. This week, the organization sent the Norwegian Prime Minister 100,000 signatures supporting Abbasi.

"There are a range of policy and legal and political tools at the government's disposal," Shea added, "but they are choosing to let these returns go ahead and they are choosing to put people’s lives at serious risk."

Vatne, the Norwegian immigration lawyer, says he's now out of options.

"Deporting this family would violate both Norwegian law and international law," Vatne said. "But I don't see any legal way forward. This is it."

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