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Australia earn record win over Afghanistan

David Warner struck 178. Credit: Reuters

David Warner top-scored as Australia piled up the World Cup's highest ever total en route to victory by the widest margin in tournament history, against Afghanistan in Perth.

The co-hosts' 417 for six contained three outstanding innings, Warner (178) pacing himself and his team before upping the ante in a mammoth second-wicket stand of 260 with Steven Smith (95) after the early wicket of Aaron Finch - and then Glenn Maxwell (88) taking over.

Mitchell Johnson took four for 22 to ease them to a landslide 275-run Pool A win as Afghanistan were bowled out for 142 in 37.3 overs.

New US Defence Secretary on visit to Afghanistan

Ash Carter was met at the airport in Kabul by US Army General John Campbell. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

New US Defence Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Afghanistan today on his first trip since taking over the job this week, saying he wanted to talk to Afghan and American officials to ensure a "lasting" success as US troops withdraw.

"We're looking for success in Afghanistan that is lasting, and the lasting accomplishment of our mission here," Carter told reporters shortly before landing in Kabul.

"How to do that, what the best way to do that is, is precisely what I'm here to assess."

Carter said he looked forward to an update from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and added the two would discuss Afghan government-led peace efforts with Taliban militants.

Senior Pakistani army, Afghan and diplomatic officials said this week the Afghan Taliban had signalled they were willing to open peace talks with Kabul.


Afghanistan lose first World Cup match

World Cup debutants Afghanistan avoided humiliation at the hands of Bangladesh but still fell to a comprehensive 105-run defeat in the Pool A match at Canberra.

Afghanistan slumped to three for three in the third over in chase of Bangladesh's total of 267 after Javed Ahmadi, Afsar Zazai and Asghar Stanikzai were all dismissed for just a run each.

Rubel Hossain celebrates a wicket. Credit: PA

The new boys rallied to 25 for three at the end of the 12th over as Samiullah Shenwari took a leading role alongside number three Nawroz Mangal.

The duo stayed together to see Afghanistan past the lowest ever score in World Cup history - the 36 scored by Canada against Sri Lanka in 2003 - and moved onto to 63 without further loss, steadying the innings and leaving a target of a further 205 runs from 25 overs.

However, with regular wickets tumbling, it was a bridge too far for Afghanistan, who finished on 162 from 42.5 overs.


US drone attack in Pakistan kills suspected militants

A drone attack by US forces has killed at least six suspected militants in north west Pakistan, intelligence officials have said.

The strike hit compounds in Lawara Mandi, near the border with Afghanistan, killing between six and nine suspected militants.

It comes as Pakistani officials debate plans to intensify a crackdown on Taliban insurgents behind the massacre of 132 schoolchildren last month.

Rockets kill 26 civilians at wedding party in Afghanistan

At least 20 civilians were killed and many more were wounded when mortar rounds hit a wedding party in Afghanistan's volatile southern Helmand, the scene of fighting between the army and the Taliban.

General Mahmoud, the deputy commander of the Afghan 215 corps in the province, said artillery was fired from three directions at a village in Sangin district where the wedding was held on Wednesday.

"What we know so far is that our soldiers fired mortar rounds from three outposts but we do not know whether it was intentional," Mahmoud told Reuters.

"We have launched our investigation and will punish those who did this."

Gul Pasha Bakhtiar, deputy provincial police chief, said 26 civilians, including women and children, were killed and 41 wounded by mortar shells fired from the army side.

International force officially ends Afghan mission

The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan formally ended its combat mission on Sunday. Credit: Subel Bhandari/DPA

The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan also known as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), formally ended its combat mission on Sunday with a ceremony held in secret due to the threat from the Taliban.

About 13,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, will remain in the country under a new, two-year mission named "Resolute Support" that will continue the coalition's training of Afghan security forces.

In a statement US President Barack Obama said: "Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion."

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