Seven people were killed and seven injured when a car bomb detonated near the airport and the Afghan Interior Ministry headquarters in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul on Wednesday. Photos shared on social media showed a giant white plume of smoke rising from the area of the explosion. What we know so far: Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said the blast occured in the Qasaba area in city police district 15. Rahimi said the number of casualties could rise. The target of the attack was not immediately clear. An investigation is underway at the scene. No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Fragile peace The blast came one day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced that Kabul would release three high-ranking Taliban prisoners in an apparent prisoner swap with Western hostages who were kidnapped by the insurgents in 2016. The Taliban prisoners include Anas Haqqani, who was seized in 2014 and whose older brother is the deputy Taliban leader … [Read more...] about Afghanistan: Several dead after Kabul car bomb blast
Pge when will power be restored
Taliban founder Mullah Omar lived next to a US base in the Afghan province of Zabul for years, Dutch journalist Bette Dam claims in her new Dutch-language book "Searching for the Enemy." "The US, and almost everyone else, had it wrong," Dam, who spent eight years researching the Taliban leader, wrote in an English-language excerpt. "After 2001, Mullah Omar never stepped foot in Pakistan, instead opting to hide in this native land — and for eight years, lived just a few miles from a major US Forward Operating Base that housed thousands of soldiers." Dam said the finding was corroborated by Taliban and Afghan officials, including Mullah Omar's personal bodyguard. She described it as a "staggering US intelligence failure." "Though Mullah Omar did not venture outside for fear of being caught, according to (bodyguard) Jabbar Omari, in the four years they hid in that home they felt relatively safe," added Dam. Read more: Afghanistan: Can peace prevail? 'Delusional claim' … [Read more...] about Taliban founder lived near US military base in Afghanistan: report
More civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2018 than in any of the previous nine years of the protracted conflict, according to a United Nations report released on Sunday. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) blamed the spike in deaths on increased suicide bombings by militant groups and aerial attacks by US-led coalition forces. The UNAMA annual report said that 10,993 civilians were killed or wounded last year, the highest number since the international organization started recording figures in 2009. "In total, UNAMA documented 10,993 civilian casualties (3,804 deaths and 7,189 injured), representing a five percent increase in overall civilian casualties and an 11 percent increase in civilian deaths compared to 2017," the report said. "Key factors contributing to the significant increase in civilian casualties were a spike in suicide attacks by AGEs (Anti-Government Elements), mainly Daesh/ISKP (Islamic State Khorosan Province), as well as increased harm to … [Read more...] about Civilian deaths in Afghanistan reached 9-year peak in 2018
Saturday's suicide attack at a wedding hall in Kabul killed at least 63 people and wounded more than 200. A group affiliated with the militant organization "Islamic State" (IS) claimed responsibility for the bombing. The wedding was believed to be a Hazara-Shiite gathering. Shiite Muslims are frequently targeted in Sunni-majority Afghanistan, and neighboring Pakistan, by hardline Sunni outfits, including IS. "Nothing is safe in our country. They have been targeting our schools, our sports clubs, and now they are bombing our wedding halls also," the groom's brother-in-law, who witnessed the attack, told DW. The attack sparked widespread outrage in the war-ravaged country. On Monday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vowed to "eliminate" all IS safe havens. But security analysts say that IS is certainly gaining strength in Afghanistan and is likely to bring more Taliban fighters into its fold. A number of Taliban jihadists are reportedly unhappy with their leadership's ongoing peace … [Read more...] about Afghanistan: Is ‘Islamic State’ taking advantage of US-Taliban peace talks?
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said he did not want foreign nations to interfere in the country's affairs, as the United States and the Taliban appear near to closing a peace deal without the government's input. Ghani made the comments during the Muslim holiday Eid-al-Adha, while US and Taliban negotiators continue to work towards the peace deal in the Gulf nation of Qatar, where the insurgents have a political office. Read more: Violence spikes in Afghanistan – is peace with Taliban a good idea? In a televised speech, Ghani referenced the upcoming presidential elections and said that "without a legitimate and strong government that comes through an election, Afghans won't be able to achieve a dignified peace." "Our future cannot be decided outside, whether in the capital cities of our friends, nemeses or neighbors. The fate of Afghanistan will be decided here in this homeland," Ghani said. "We don't want anyone to intervene in our affairs." Ghani emphasied that … [Read more...] about Afghanistan’s president rejects foreign interference