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Afghanistan mosque blasts: Dozens dead in suicide bomb attacks

افغان دارالحکومت کابل کی ایک شیعہ مسجد پر آج جمعہ بیس اکتوبر کو حملہ کیا گیا۔ حملے کے وقت شیعہ مسلمان شام کی نماز کے ادائیگی کے لیے جمع تھے۔ افغان دارالحکومت کےایک سینیئر سکیورٹی اہلکار نے بتایا ہے کہ کم از کم تیس نعشیں مسجد سے باہر لائی جا چکی ہیں۔ افغان وزارت داخلہ کے ایک اہلکار نے بھی ان ہلاکتوں کی تصدیق کر دی ہے۔ یہ حملہ کابل پولیس کے تیرہویں ڈسٹکرکٹ دشتی برچ میں واقع امام زمانہ مسجد پر کیا گیا۔ کابل میں مسجد کے باہر خودکش حملے میں چھ ہلاکتیں کابل، شیعہ مسجد پر خودکش حملہ، ایک درجن سے زائد ہلاکتیں اشتعال انگیز لیف لیٹ کی اشاعت پر امریکی جنرل کی معذرت ’افغانستان میں امریکی فوجیوں کی حقیقی تعداد گیارہ ہزار‘ کابل کے سکیورٹی ادارے سے منسلک ایک سینیئر اہلکار میجر جنرل علی مست مومند نے حملہ آور کے بارے میں بتایا گیا کہ وہ پیدل چلتے ہوئے امام زمانہ مسجد میں داخل ہوا تھا۔ اس خود کش حملہ آور نے نمازیوں کے درمیان پہنچ کر اپنی بارودی جیکٹ کو اڑا دیا۔ کابل شہر کی پولیس کی کرائم برانچ کے سربراہ جنرل محمد سلیم الماس نے نیوز ایجنسی اے ایف پی کو بتایا کہ حملے میں بارودی جیکٹ اڑانے سے قبل دہشت گرد نے مسجد کے اندر موجود افراد پر فائرنگ بھی کی۔ پینتالیس دیگر نمازیوں کے زخمی ہونے کا بھی بتایا گیا ہے۔ ان زخمیوں میں کئی کی حالت تشویشناک ہے۔ ہلاکتوں میں اضافے کا خدشہ ظاہر کیا گیا ہے۔ زخمیوں کو شہر کے استقلال ہسپتال کے علاوہ دوسرے طبی مراکز میں پہنچایا جا رہا ہے۔ کابل کے محکمہٴ صحت نے دس ہلاکتوں کی فی الحال تصدیق کی ہے۔ ہلاک شدگان اور زخمیوں کی حتمی تعداد کا تعین نہیں ہو سکا ہے۔ اس مناسبت سے متضاد رپورٹس سامنے آئی ہیں۔ امدادی کارروائیاں شروع کر دی گئی ہیں۔ ابھی تک کسی گروپ یا تنظیم نے اس حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول نہیں کی ہے۔

At least 39 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack at a Shiite mosque in Afghan capital Kabul. A separate bombing at a mosque in Afghanistan’s central province of Ghor left 20 dead. A suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a Shiite mosque on Friday in Kabul as worshippers gathered for evening prayers. An Afghan official at the Interior Ministry ... Read More »

Bowe Bergdahl pleads guilty in desertion case

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in Afghanistan. He is accused of endangering fellow soldiers who searched for him after he walked off his post. US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl , 31, who spent five years in captivity in Afghanistan after being taken by the Islamist Taliban, on Monday admitted leaving his post in Afghanistan's Paktika province in June 2009, but said he never wanted to put anyone at risk. "I was captured by the enemy against my will," he told the court in Fort Bragg in the US state of North Carolina. "At the time I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations. ... It's very inexcusable." He said he got lost 20 minutes after leaving the combat outpost, and was captured by the Taliban two or three hours later. In a podcast in 2015, he had said that he left his post to draw attention to "leadership failure" in his unit. He has, however, also previously rejected any notion that he sympathized with his captors, and said he was kept in a small cage for most of the time he was in captivity. Life sentence possible After Bergdahl entered his guilty pleas to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, which the judge accepted, the prosecutor, Major Justin Oshana, told the judge that there was no pretrial agreement between the two sides. The charge of misbehavior before the enemy carries a possible life sentence. Bergdahl was freed from Taliban captivity in 2014 after a prisoner swap arranged by the Obama administration — an exchange that was vehemently criticized by Republicans. Current US President Donald Trump also derided Bergdahl himself while on the campaign trail last year, calling him "a no-good traitor who should have been executed." Bergdahl's lawyers have argued that such comments make it impossible for him to have a fair trial. The judge decided in June to allow evidence of serious wounds to fellow soldiers who searched for Bergdahl at the sentencing phase, something that could weigh heavily against the accused. The official search for him lasted for 45 days, with two soldiers wounded in firefights that the judge said they would not have become involved in if they hadn't been looking for Bergdahl.

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in Afghanistan. He is accused of endangering fellow soldiers who searched for him after he walked off his post. US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl , 31, who spent five years in captivity in Afghanistan after being taken by the Islamist Taliban, on Monday admitted leaving ... Read More »

Red Cross ‘dramatically’ scales back mission in Afghanistan

Since February seven workers for the humanitarian group have been killed in escalating violence. The charity says it has no choice but to scale backs its programs in the country's north. The Red Cross will dramatically scale back its operations in Afghanistan amid security concerns, it announced on Monday. The International Committee of the Red Cross will close two offices in northern Faryab and Kunduz provinces and reduce activities in northern Balkh province after several deadly attacks on its workers, it said. Since December, six local employees and one foreign worker have been killed in attacks in the country's north, where Taliban and "Islamic State" militants have intensified their assaults on police and troops. Three other workers were abducted and later released. "We have no choice but to drastically reduce our presence and activities in Afghanistan," Monica Zanarelli, the ICRC head in Afghanistan, told reporters. "Exposure to risk has become our greater challenge in Afghanistan, and we know that zero risk doesn't exist and we are not aiming at that, but our security has to be guaranteed by every party," she said. Three decades of work The humanitarian group has been working in Afghanistan for more than three decades, employing 1,800 staff including 120 international aid workers. The charity helps wounded and disabled people, supports hospitals, visits prisons and helps prisoners maintain contact with their families. In the country's tumultuous north they were often the only organization providing such services. "We understand the consequences of stopping our activities in the north, but we have no choice," Zanarelli added. Nine other ICRC offices in Afghanistan will remain open. The US military estimates the Afghan government controls no more than 60 percent of the country, with the balance in the control of the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Since February seven workers for the humanitarian group have been killed in escalating violence. The charity says it has no choice but to scale backs its programs in the country’s north. The Red Cross will dramatically scale back its operations in Afghanistan amid security concerns, it announced on Monday. The International Committee of the Red Cross will close two offices ... Read More »

German high court stops one Afghan deportation, dozens more go ahead

Germany's Constitutional Court has postponed the deportation of an Afghan man until he can complete an application for asylum. The court did not, however, stop the deportation of some 34 other Afghans. The German Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday in favor of a 29-year-old asylum-seeker and issued a stay of his deportation order. The court did not, however, stop the deportations of some 34 other Afghans who were deported on Wednesday, according to German media. In its ruling, the court left open the question of whether deportations to Afghanistan are constitutionally justifiable and instead addressed only the case of the 29-year-old. The man had filed an asylum application 30 months ago and more recently filed a follow-up application, citing the poor security situation in Afghanistan as the reason why he could not return. The Constitutional Court said he could not be deported until that application had been processed. The court denied an application from a second Afghan who requested an injunction against his deportation. Protests at airport A spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Refugees said authorities were expecting a plane with 50 returnees from Germany to arrive on Thursday in Kabul. Several hundred people gathered at Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday to protest against the planned deportations, chanting: "Deportation is torture; deportation is murder; the right to remain for all, immediately." A charter flight carrying a group of rejected Afghan asylum seekers back to their home country left Germany on Wednesday evening, according to Reuters news agency and Germany's ARD public broadcaster. "Spiegel Online" reported earlier Wednesday that 50 Afghans would be on board the flight from Frankfurt to Kabul, which is to be just the first in a series of such deportations, with the next one planned for January. A spokeswoman for the German Interior Ministry would not confirm details about the flight. Ahead of the deportations, she said the time and place were being kept confidential so as not to endanger the measure, which was agreed as part of a deal with the Afghan government in October. Lawmakers and rights groups react to deportations The chairman of the Green Party parliamentary group in Berlin decried the deportations, accusing German Justice Minister Thomas de Maiziere of playing a "ruthless game" with the well-being of the asylum seekers. The human rights organization Pro Asyl called on local Green Party lawmakers to fight future mass deportations of Afghan migrants denied asylum status. Pro Asyl's head, Günther Burkhardt, told German news agency DPA: "We are appealing to Green Party members in Hessen, Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg to do all they can to stop these people from being deported." However, leading figures from the Christian Social Union (CSU) party, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative allies in Bavaria, welcomed the deportations. CSU leader Horst Seehofer told German broadcaster ARD that he hoped Wednesday's deportations would "not be a one-time event." Returning rejected asylum seekers would also disparage radicalized forces within Germany, he added. Eight of the deported Afghans were living in Bavaria. Bavaria's interior minister, Joachim Herrman (CSU) also refuted claims that the deportations were a violation of human rights. With German soldiers and police forces supporting local security forces in Afghanistan to stabilize the region, "this warrants the return of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan's secure provinces," he said. Afghans caught in the middle According to "Spiegel," the Afghan returnees will first be handed over to local authorities before returning to their home regions, if these are considered to be "halfway safe." More than a million migrants, mainly fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, have entered Germany since 2015. In 2016, Afghans were the second biggest group of asylum-seekers in Germany after Syrians, according to data from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Germany has sought to speed up the processing of applications for people most likely to receive asylum, such as those fleeing the conflict in Syria. But that also means the government has sped up the process of expelling certain groups, with Afghans falling somewhere in between. While some areas aren't considered safe enough to send asylum seekers back, others are. The German and Afghan governments signed an agreement on deportations several weeks ago.

Germany’s Constitutional Court has postponed the deportation of an Afghan man until he can complete an application for asylum. The court did not, however, stop the deportation of some 34 other Afghans. The German Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday in favor of a 29-year-old asylum-seeker and issued a stay of his deportation order. The court did not, however, stop the ... Read More »

German military relying on Russia, Ukraine firms to transport tanks

The German military has a contract with Russian and Ukrainian firms to transport its tanks and large helicopters. Now the contract is up, MPs are asking why Germany is dependent on these companies. Germany will be forced to continue handing lucrative contracts to Russian and Ukrainian firms to transport its military hardware, according to Bundestag MPs. A joint contract with the Russian firm Volga Dnepr and the Ukrainian firm Antonov Design Bureau is due to run out at the end of the year, and will have to be renewed because Germany does not have its own large-scale military transport planes. But the contract, leaked to public broadcaster ARD, will also have to be split in two because Ukraine is now engaged in a war with pro-Russian separatists in its eastern region. Since 2004, the two companies had been working together under the name "Strategic Airlift Interim Solution" (SALIS) to supply logistics to a number of NATO countries through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). SALIS used the huge Soviet-era Antonov 124-100 transport planes, which can deliver 120 tons of freight over 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles). Under the new contracts - agreed with ten partners, including Germany, France, Poland and Norway - Antonov planes will be contracted to fly some 1,600 flight hours in 2017, of which 1,080 will be for the German military. This number will sink slightly in 2018, leaving the German state a total bill of 101 million euros ($107 million) over two years. But the rift between Russia and Ukraine has caused a new problem: the Ukrainian company is demanding a lot more money than the Russian counterpart, and according to some MPs on the Bundestag defense committee, the Defense Ministry cannot explain the discrepancy. While the Antonov Design Bureau is to bill the German taxpayer 37,509 euros ($39,872) per flight hour, Volga Dnepr only wants 23,341 euros per flight hour, ARD reported. Different prices "It's a little surprising that the price structure of the two companies for using the same airplane is so different," complained Green party MP and defense committee member Tobias Lindner to ARD. "The ministry couldn't explain why." But Rainer Arnold, Social Democrat representative on the same committee, said some circumstances make the discrepancy understandable. "Of course, you have to see that these are two different partners, with different maneuvering spaces in their negotiations," he told DW. "And they have different foundations: the Ukrainians only operate seven planes, and so obviously they calculate differently from someone who has considerably more planes in their fleet." A spokesman for the Defense Ministry told DW that both prices offered were "completely normal" in comparison to others on the world market. Nor, he added, was it politically problematic to be doing business with a Russian firm at a time of heightened tension with the Kremlin. "There haven't been any problems with making this equipment available, even during the Ukraine crisis," he said. "And we haven't seen Russia trying to influence this commercial transporter at all. It's completely unproblematic." He also pointed out that both the Russian and the Ukrainian companies are subject to German law and have an international presence across the world. Military deals with civilian business It's not unusual for armies to turn to the civilian market for large-scale logistics when it does not require a military element, unless equipment needs to be transported into a war zone. In Germany's case, most military transports will be to and from Afghanistan, where the Bundeswehr is involved in the ongoing war, but according to Sebastian Schulte, Germany correspondent for military magazine "Jane's Defence Weekly," civilian logistics would only be used for the first leg of the journey to Uzbekistan. Germany has been buying in these air lift capabilities ever since NATO's Afghanistan mission began in 2001, because "the required freight and supplies were simply too bulky and numerous for Germany's existing fleet of military transport aircraft at the time," said Schulte. Moreover, Arnold argued, it would be "completely uneconomical" for Germany to buy its own military transport planes of that size - though it might be thinkable for Europe to acquire such planes "in the long term." "But the firms from Russia and Ukraine were always reliable, even in difficult times," he added. The Bundeswehr's own military transport plane, the A400M, "isn't available in the numbers and capabilities that are needed," added Schulte, and he pointed out that this plane had also been hampered by production delays.

The German military has a contract with Russian and Ukrainian firms to transport its tanks and large helicopters. Now the contract is up, MPs are asking why Germany is dependent on these companies. Germany will be forced to continue handing lucrative contracts to Russian and Ukrainian firms to transport its military hardware, according to Bundestag MPs. A joint contract with ... Read More »

Attack on German consulate in Afghanistan planned for months: report

A bomb attack on the German consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif had been planned six months in advance in Pakistan, according to a media report. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast which killed six and wounded 128. The deadly attack on the German consulate in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif earlier this month was planned further in advance than previously believed, according to a German newspaper report on Sunday. At least six people died and another 128 people were wounded when attackers drove an explosives-laden truck into the German consulate compound on November 10. One attacker died while another was taken into police custody. The blast was claimed by the Taliban who said they carried out the attack as retaliation for Germany's support of a US airstrike in Kunduz in early November that killed 30 Afghan civilians. However, a report from the German "Bild am Sonntag" newspaper provides a different timeline than the one suggested by the Taliban. The sole surviving attacker admitted in police questioning that the Taliban recruited him along with a group of other men in Pakistan around six months prior to the bomb attack, "Bild am Sonntag" reported, citing diplomatic sources. The Taliban gave the group firearms and bomb-making training in preparation for the consulate attack, the man said as cited by the paper. "Bild am Sonntag" also said that more German soldiers took part in the rescue operation than had previously been reported. Shortly after the truck blast, German air force and members of the German army's Special Forces Command (KSK) rushed to the consulate. The KSK troops "cleared" the building while others secured the diplomats, the newspaper reported. Later, the whole group moved outside, supported by US combat helicopters and Bundeswehr surveillance drones. According to eye witnesses, the consulate was later searched by German specialists who destroyed sensitive documents, the newspaper reported, adding that such a practice is usual in such cases.

A bomb attack on the German consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif had been planned six months in advance in Pakistan, according to a media report. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast which killed six and wounded 128. The deadly attack on the German consulate in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif earlier this month was planned further in advance than previously believed, ... Read More »

ICC claims US may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has suggested the US may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan. An investigation would expose US forces to ICC scrutiny for the first time. Delivering her annual report to members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Monday, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would decide "imminently" whether to ask judges for permission to launch a full-blown investigation as to whether US military forces and CIA operatives may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan through the "cruel or violent" interrogation of detainees. Bensouda said the Taliban, Afghan government forces and US troops as well as the CIA all appeared to have carried out war crimes. "At least 61 detainees" were subjected to "torture (and) cruel treatment" by US armed forces in Afghanistan between May 1, 2003 and December 31, 2014, according to ICC initial findings. The judge said there had been allegations of "war crimes of torture and related ill-treatment, by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency." The alleged crimes were "not the abuses of a few isolated individuals" but were committed as part of "a policy or policies aimed at eliciting information through the use of interrogation techniques involving cruel or violent methods" the ICC reported, suggesting aim was to "support US objectives in the conflict in Afghanistan." Bensouda said there was a "reasonable basis to believe that" during the interrogation of detainees "members of the US armed forces and the US Central Intelligence Agency resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture" as well as cruel treatment and rape. The US has not ratified the ICC's founding Rome Statute while Afghanistan recognised the court's jurisdiction in February 2003 and gave the ICC authority to investigate atrocities on its territory. US citizens could face prosecution if they are found to have committed crimes in a country that is an ICC member, such as Afghanistan. Gambia withdraws In a separate move, Gambia has become the third country after South Africa and Burundi to leave the ICC. The West African nation notified the UN on Monday that its withdrawal would take effect from November next year. Last month, Gambia's Information Minister Sheriff Bojang described the ICC as "an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans." The ICC's Bensouda is Gambian and was an adviser to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh after he seized power in a coup in 1994. She later served as justice minister. Last week Bensouda thanked retiring UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his "firm and principled support" of the ICC and the international rule of law: Ban Ki-moon has expressed regret that South Africa, Burundi and Gambia were leaving the ICC. He said it could "send a wrong message on these countries' commitment to justice."

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor has suggested the US may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan. An investigation would expose US forces to ICC scrutiny for the first time. Delivering her annual report to members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Monday, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would decide “imminently” whether to ask judges ... Read More »

Global donors pledge billions to support Afghan government

A group of international donors have agreed on more than 15 billion dollars in aid for Afghanistan. While leaders praised an Afghan commitment to tackle corruption, not all were convinced. International donors who gathered in Brussels on Wednesday pledged 15.2 billion dollars (13.6 billion euros) in aid for Afghanistan over the next four years. Although there had been fears of donor fatigue - particularly in light of the Syrian war - the amount that was pledged fell only slightly below the four billion dollars per year that donors pledged at the last conference, in Tokyo in 2012. "Some were skeptical that we are going to face donor fatigue after 15 years," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a press conference. EU development commissioner Neven Mimica said the pledges "surpassed some of our best case scenarios." 'Work begins tomorrow' Afghan President Ashraf Ghani hailed it as a "truly remarkable day," but acknowledged that work was needed to meet attached conditions, which include tackling the corruption that is rife in the country. "The work from the Afghan side begins in earnest tomorrow, Ghani said. "A credit line has been extended," he said. "If we do not muster the political will in the practical ways of dealing with corruption, these pledges will remain pledges." UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Afghanistan's leaders "have been making impressive reforms and development plans to change the lives of people that have been suffering too long." Dismay over promises However, some participants at the conference complained that there was insufficient pressure on the government to tackle the problem of graft. Ikram Afzali, from the anti-corruption civil society group Integrity Watch Afghanistan, told The Associated Press that the Afghan government's promises amounted to no more than "window dressing." "The commitments to fighting corruption are very weak and we are disappointed," Afzali said. Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini denied reports the EU was making aid conditional on Afghanistan taking back migrants who have fled to Europe. Mogherini said there was "never a link between our development aid and what we do on migration." Afghanistan has relied on Western aid and military support over the past 15 years, since a US-led coalition ousted the Taliban for harboring al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2001.

A group of international donors have agreed on more than 15 billion dollars in aid for Afghanistan. While leaders praised an Afghan commitment to tackle corruption, not all were convinced. International donors who gathered in Brussels on Wednesday pledged 15.2 billion dollars (13.6 billion euros) in aid for Afghanistan over the next four years. Although there had been fears of ... Read More »

Huge truck bomb rocks foreign compound in Afghan capital of Kabul

A massive truck bomb has exploded outside a guesthouse popular with foreigners in Kabul. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack that left at least four people dead. A powerful truck bomb exploded near the Northgate Hotel in Kabul in the early hours of Monday morning, security officials said. A police officer was killed and the three attackers were dead after a seven-hour gunbattle. "The operation is over now," Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told reporters. "One policeman lost his life and three others were wounded but none of the hotel staff or guests were hurt." The Taliban gunmen had stormed the upscale hotel, which is located close to the US-run Bagram airbase and houses international contractors. The Northgate is a heavily-guarded facility with blast walls and watchtowers. The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying it targeted the hotel because it was a place of "debauchery and obscenity for foreign invaders." NATO special forces oversaw the operation near the scene of the attack, as heavy gunfire and blasts echoed throughout the district Monday morning. Previous attacks Foreign guesthouses have been a frequent target of Taliban attacks in the past. The Northgate has been attacked by insurgents at least once before, in July 2013. The blast comes a week after a suicide attack on a demonstration by members of Afghanistan's Hazara community killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 230. The self-styled "Islamic State" group claimed responsibility for that attack.

A massive truck bomb has exploded outside a guesthouse popular with foreigners in Kabul. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack that left at least four people dead. A powerful truck bomb exploded near the Northgate Hotel in Kabul in the early hours of Monday morning, security officials said. A police officer was killed and the three attackers were ... Read More »

Afghanistan in mourning after deadly Kabul protest attack

Afghanistan has commenced a national day of mourning after 80 died in a suicide bombing during a peaceful Hazara protest. Hazara protesters have occupied the site of the attack despite a ban on public gatherings. Grieving family members prepared funerals, searched for missing relatives and picked through an assortment of bloody belongings on Sunday, one day after two explosions tore through crowds of Shiite Hazara protesters in Kabul. The attack killed at least 80 people and wounded around 230, making it the deadliest single attack in the capital since the Taliban were toppled from power in 2001, said the interior ministry. The militant "Islamic State" (IS) group claimed the attack. Officials said there were two suicide bombers wearing explosive-laden clothing. One managed to detonate, while the other was shot by police before triggering the bomb. "I promise you that I will avenge the blood of our loved ones on the perpetrators of this crime, wherever they are," Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said, declaring Sunday a national day of mourning. At the request of the Hazara, Ghani also renamed the attack site as "Martyr's Square" in honor of the victims. The area remained littered with metal, charred body parts, personal items and protest banners with slogans such as: "Don't eliminate us." Hazara occupy bomb site Members of Afghanistan's Hazara minority continued to occupy Demazang Square on Sunday, which was bombed as the demonstrator's peaceful protest was winding down. They recited verses from the Koran and held candlelight vigils, despite a 10-day government ban on public gatherings for security reasons. Leaders of the protest movement have said they will not leave until three conditions had been met by the government. He said the Enlighten Movement, which organized the protests, wants to have its own representatives and members of international human rights organizations take part in the commission Ghani set up to investigate the attack. The protesters also want a multi-million-dollar power line to be rerouted to their impoverished and electricity-starved province of Bamiyan. The third condition, renaming Demazang for the victims, has already been fulfilled. On Saturday, thousands of the Shiite minority marched on the capital in a peaceful protest for the power line project. IS, a predominantly Sunni militant group, is opposed to Shiites and, like the Taliban, does not recognize them as Muslims. The killings sparked a wave of condemnation, with the United Nations calling the direct assault on civilians a "war crime." The attack also raised concerns about IS possibly trying to regain a foothold in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has commenced a national day of mourning after 80 died in a suicide bombing during a peaceful Hazara protest. Hazara protesters have occupied the site of the attack despite a ban on public gatherings. Grieving family members prepared funerals, searched for missing relatives and picked through an assortment of bloody belongings on Sunday, one day after two explosions tore ... Read More »

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