8am: The Taliban Ministry of Information and Culture has said that it has signed contracts worth $42 million with foreign tourists that allow them to hunt rare birds. Bakhtar news agency, the official Taliban-owned news website, reported on Tuesday (December 13th) that the million-dollar contracts with foreign tourists, especially Arabs, facilitate the legal hunting of some birds. The birds are called houbara bustard whose meat is prized by Arab shaikhs as an aphrodisiac. Falcons, hawks, and geese are also believed to be among their favorites. Farah, Herat, Nimruz and Helmand provinces were every year visited by foreign tourists to illegally hunt rare birds. Click here to read more (external link).