Taliban Blamed For Kabul Blast, Eleven Prisoners To Hang…Retribution Promised

Relatives take part in a burial ceremony of one of the victims of Wednesday’s blast in Kabul, Afghanistan June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Taliban warns against retaliation over

Kabul attack

By Sayed Hassib and Samar Zwak | KABUL

The Taliban warned the Afghan government on Thursday against harming any of their prisoners after reports that President Ashraf Ghani would order the execution of 11 militants on death row in revenge for the devastating truck bomb attack in Kabul.

Ghani’s fragile and divided government has come under increasing pressure over its failure to provide security following a series of high-profile attacks that have killed hundreds of soldiers and civilians so far this year.

ADVERTISING

Wednesday’s blast, at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ripped through a traffic-clogged street, packed with people on their way to school or work during the morning rush hour, causing hundreds of casualties in an instant and sending a tower of black smoke into the sky.

One of the worst such attacks since the U.S.-led campaign to oust the Taliban in 2001, it was only the latest in a grim series that has killed thousands of civilians over the years.

Salim Rasouli, head of hospitals in Kabul, said 80 dead and 461 wounded had been brought to the city’s hospitals but at least 10 other people were known to be missing and believed dead, with relatives still searching morgues and hospitals more than 24 hours after the blast.

“For God’s sake, what is happening to this country?,” said Ghulam Sakhi, a shoemaker whose shop is close to the site of the blast. “People leave home to fetch a loaf of bread for their children and later that evening, their dead body is sent back to the family.”

The Taliban have denied responsibility. But the National Directorate for Security, Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency, has blamed the Haqqani network, an affiliate group directly integrated into the Taliban, and said it had acted with the help of Pakistan’s intelligence service.

A spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry rejected the allegations as baseless, calling them “unhelpful towards efforts for peace”.

Relatives take part in a burial ceremony of one of the victims of Wednesday’s blast in Kabul, Afghanistan June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Otso Iho, an analyst with Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, said the Taliban have previously disavowed attacks, particularly ones with high civilian casualties and could still be behind Wednesday’s bombing.

“The Taliban has certainly conducted indiscriminate attacks before, and the targeting of the Green Zone very much fits within the group’s intention to focus on foreign occupiers in this spring offensive,” Iho said.

With growing public anger over the chronic lack of security, Afghan television station Tolo News reported that Ghani had signed execution orders in a repeat of last year’s hanging of six Taliban prisoners after an earlier suicide attack.

Two senior Afghan officials confirmed that a list had been drawn up of prisoners, all convicted members of the Taliban or the Haqqani network, but said no order had been signed.

In a statement, the Taliban, who repeated their denial of involvement, responded to the reports by threatening retaliation against the Kabul government and the justice system in particular if any prisoners were harmed.

“The administration of Kabul will be responsible for the outcome of incidents and any kind of losses.” the movement’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

SECURITY GATES

Wednesday’s explosion occurred near the German embassy at one of the entry points to Kabul’s unofficial Green Zone, a haphazard warren of concrete blast walls and sandbagged check points that has grown up around the diplomatic quarter as the insurgency has intensified.

While the sewage tanker carrying the bomb was stopped from entering the zone, it was unclear how such a large quantity of explosives could get through the ring of checkpoints set up around Kabul to protect the capital.

A high-tech set of security gates and associated scanners, financed by China and intended to protect the capital from large bomb attacks, still lies unused in a warehouse, almost a year after it was delivered.

An official from the interior ministry confirmed that the gates were still in the warehouse and said there were technical problems but installation had already been held up for months over bureaucratic wrangling.

With two dozen entry points into Kabul and thousands of vehicles entering and leaving each day, total control is impossible but there have been increasing questions over how trucks loaded with explosives manage to drive through the city.

A huge crater ripped into the ground at the site of the blast and shattered windows in houses more than a kilometer away were testament to the power of the explosion, which was set off by a bomb concealed in the tanker.

Several embassies were damaged and a number of foreigners wounded, but the majority of victims were, as ever in such attacks, Afghan civilians.

“Right now, thousands of our people are in mourning. Why and for how long do we have to suffer this situation?” said shopkeeper Enayatullah Mohammadi. “We want our leaders to ensure security in the country and if they can’t, they should resign.”

(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni, Hamid Shalizi, Kay Johnson in ISLAMABAD; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie and Stephen Powell/Jeremy Gaunt)

 

Advertisements

American principal, one Saudi killed in Riyadh private school

American principal, one Saudi killed in Riyadh private school

Source: Xinhua   Editor: huaxia

First lady Melania Trump visits American International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

 

RIYADH, May 31 (Xinhua) — Saudi security authority launched an investigation into the murder of a local and an American inside a famous private school in Riyadh on Wednesday morning, Okaz online news reported.

The report confirmed that the killer who fled the scene is an Iraqi teacher who was sacked and he entered the school with his gun and shot dead the American principal who was originally a Palestinian and Saudi teacher.

An Asian worker was injured too. Security authorities launched manhunt for the suspect.

No official confirmation was made yet about the case.

Kabul Bomb Mystery…Unknown Target…No One Claims Responsibility

[Powerful Tanker-Truck-Bomb Hits Kabul…80 confirmed dead]

Afghanistan

Attack kills 90 near diplomatic

area in Afghanistan

A huge suicide bomb ripped through a secure area of Kabul at the height of the Wednesday morning rush hour, killing at least 90 people and wounding 400, Afghan officials said.

The blast, which came a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the deadliest to hit the Afghan capital in recent years.
The bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace.
The streets were packed with commuters, women shopping and children going to school and the blast appears likely to result in a high civilian death toll.
The bomb, concealed in a water delivery truck, detonated at 8:22 a.m. (local time) outside the offices of a major local cell phone company and a popular TV station. It hit about 400 yards from the German Embassy in one of the busiest parts of town, near big supermarkets and shops.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack in a statement. No group has yet claimed it.
Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Donati, in Kabul, said the explosion happened close to western embassies, government institutions and the residences of high-ranking officials and their families.
It’s the most fortified part of the city, which can be reached only by passing through several checkpoints, she added.
The BBC has confirmed that BBC Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir, who had worked with the broadcaster for four years and had a young family, died in the blast.
Four BBC journalists were also injured, but their injuries are not thought to be life threatening, according to a BBC World Service statement.
At least 11 US citizens assigned to the US embassy as contractors were injured in the blast in Kabul, according to US officials.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the attack was in the “immediate vicinity” of its embassy.
“The attack was aimed at civilians and those who are in Afghanistan to work with the people there for a better future of the country,” Gabriel said.
He said embassy officials had been injured but that “all employees are safe.” An Afghan security officer protecting the embassy area was killed, he said.
German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said the Kabul embassy would remain closed until further notice and that local staff were receiving medical care. A flight that was supposed to leave Berlin for Kabul on Wednesday carrying deported migrants has been canceled, the German Interior Ministry said.
The Afghan presidential palace and the Indian Embassy are also near the blast site. “By God’s grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive Kabul blast,” India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
Afghanistan
The French embassy was damaged in the explosion, Marielle de Sarnez, French minister for European Affairs, told Europe 1 radio. Initial reports do not indicate that French nationals are among the dead, she said, adding that she is “extremely cautious” until that has been confirmed.
Separately, the US Embassy said it did “not appear to have been the target of the blast,” a spokesperson said.
The attack seriously damaged the offices of broadcaster 1TV Afghanistan, blowing off the windows and doors. It was left in such bad shape, “you would have thought the explosion happened inside the office,” said the station’s owner, Fahim Hashimy.
He said the station’s creative director, Sohail Sediqi, who Hashimy said was known in the office for his fear of such attacks, had gone down to the blast site to try to get footage on air right after the bomb went off, despite an injury to his forehead.
“This gave me a very big hope, to be honest. It showed me that we won’t give up,” said Hashimy.
Layma Tabibi, an Afghani-American who works at a local consulting firm, heard the blast and told CNN a lot of the casualties appeared to be from the Roshan telecommunications company.
“Afghans. It’s always Afghans,” she said, when asked who suffered in such attacks. “It’s always Afghans that are harmed and get killed rather than who the attacker wants to target.”
Many phone lines are down but people are trying to help, she added.
“The people are full of hope and love. It may not always seem like that but already there are hundreds of names and people waiting in lines and waiting to be put on a waiting list to donate blood and help anyone who is in need or stranded without help.”
Hameed Hakim, who works for a French non-profit group, was on his way to work in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood when the noise of the blast stopped him in his tracks.
“It was so crazy. The sound was very strong and the ground shook. Everyone around me was shocked. All of the buildings and offices were broken, the windows were blown out,” he said. “It was rush hour, most of the people were going to their offices or going to the shops. There were large crowds of people going about their days.”
Josh Smith, a correspondent for Reuters news agency in Kabul, headed to a major city hospital just a few blocks away from the blast site.
“I saw a steady stream of ambulances that had been carrying wounded begin arriving with bodies, many of which were burned or maimed beyond recognition,” he said.
“Frantic relatives were mobbing casualty lists and the arriving ambulances looking for news. Several of the wounded who were able to talk to me described utter destruction and chaos after the blast. All over streets blocks away people were cleaning up broken glass.”
Emergency workers were still pulling bodies from under the rubble and a number of buildings had collapsed.
“I heard a very loud bang and then I don’t remember what happened next,” said survivor Wasim Shah, 40, from a hospital bed, his head bandaged. “The waves of the explosion were so powerful that you can see a lot of people in the hospital wounded by shattered windows and collapsed walls.”
Capt. Bill Salvin, a US military spokesman in Kabul, told CNN that a checkpoint had prevented the truck getting closer into the diplomatic quarter.
Attacks of this kind “tend to be signs of weakness” because forces that are not winning on the battlefield can easily build a vehicle bomb and drive it into a city center, he said.
“Today’s attack is a very dramatic example of what terrorists can do when they are determined to cause death and suffering among innocent civilians,” he said. “But the security situation is being stabilized by the ever-growing capability of the Afghan police force and the Afghan National Army.”
Operation Resolute Support, the NATO-led international mission to support Afghan forces, is focused this year on building Afghan forces’ offensive capability on the battlefield, Salvin added.
The latest attack highlights the deteriorating security situation across Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, another attack targeted foreign troops near the US Embassy in Kabul, killing eight people. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.
The Pentagon is considering sending additional troops to the country, US military officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee this month.
Source: CNN
Images: AFP

Kabul Bombing ‘Questionable’

A wounded man lies on the ground at the site of a blast in Kabul.
REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Kabul Bombing ‘Questionable’:

MPs

 

 

A number of Afghan Parliament Members spoke out about the deadly Kabul bombing that left more than 80 people killed and called it “questionable”.

They asked intelligence and security institutions to present answers over the passing of the car bomb to its target.

Representative of Kabul, Ramazan Bashar Dost said, “explosives never transfer in ordinary vehicles. The explosives were transferred in black glass vehicles which are belong to specific people.”

MP, Nazifa Zaki said, “authorities should be accountable that how the suicide bomber passed the squares of the city?”

Representative of Badakhshan, Fawzia Koofi said, “today’s incident occurred near the Presidential Palace. It is obvious that there are some who transfer the explosives.”

The second deputy speaker of the parliament said those who do not believe in any religion carry out suicide bombings in holy month of Ramadan.

This comes as no terrorist groups have claimed responsibility behind today’s incident.

The armed Taliban group also reacted at the deadly bombing in capital Kabul, claiming that the fighters of the group have no role in today’s devastating attack.

The rush-hour suicide bomb hidden in a sewage truck killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 350 others in Kabul early Wednesday.

The powerful explosion occurred at a time when Kabul’s roads were packed with commuters.