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Deadly bombing near Kabul girls school sparks international outcry

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(Last Updated On: May 9, 2021)

Saturday’s bombing near a girls school in Kabul city has sparked outrage among the international community, including the US, the UK, Germany and the United Nations, who have all condemned the incident in the strongest terms.

In a statement issued by the US State Department, Washington called the attack “barbarous” and called for the immediate end to violence.

Early Sunday, reports indicated that the death toll had risen to 58 with over 150 people wounded.

The incident happened on Saturday evening when a car bomb was detonated close to the school. Among the victims are many students, including girls.

In their statement, the US said: “The United States condemns the barbarous attack near a girls’ school in Kabul, Afghanistan.”

The State Department also said that the US will continue to support and partner with people of Afghanistan.

“We will continue to support and partner with the people of Afghanistan, who are determined to see to it that the gains of the past two decades aren’t erased.”

According to the Afghan Ministry of Interior, three explosions took place close to the school. The first was a car bomb followed by two IEDs.

No group or individual have so far claimed responsibility for the explosions but the Taliban denied involvement in the attack in a tweet posted shortly after the incident.

However, President Ashraf Ghani has blamed the Taliban for the attack.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also strongly condemned the “horrific attack”.

He said those responsible for “this heinous crime” must be held accountable.

Guterres also underlined the urgency of ending the violence in Afghanistan and achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Alison Blake, the UK’s Ambassador to Kabul also condemned the attack and said: “Children must never be the target of violence.”

“Our sympathies and deepest condolences to the families and all affected by this atrocious attack on schoolchildren in Kabul.

“Words are not enough. Those responsible must be brought to justice and held to account,” she said.

The German Embassy in Kabul also issued a statement and said: “We condemn yesterday’s horrific attack on Sayed-ul-Shuhada girls high school. Killing children is an assault on the future of Afghanistan.

“Our thoughts are with victims of this despicable act and their families. Our deepest condolences to families and friends of the murdered students.”

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore also issued a statement and said violence around schools is not acceptable.

“Schools should be a place of peace and a place where children can play, learn and socialize with a sense of security and safety,” she said.

“Children should never and under no circumstances be the target of violence.

“UNICEF urges the warring parties to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law and to ensure the safety and security of all children,” Fore said.

A senior security official meanwhile told Reuters on Sunday on condition of anonymity that most of the casualties were students coming out of the Sayed ul Shuhada school, and many were badly wounded in hospital.

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NATO to provide provisional funding to help run Kabul airport

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

NATO has not yet decided on who would run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once foreign troops have withdrawn, the organization’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Monday night. 

Stoltenberg said however that Turkey would play a “key role” in running the airport and that NATO is committed to providing transitional funding for the key facility. 

This comes after Turkey offered to run and guard the airport after the withdrawal of troops. 

However, the Taliban issued a warning and said such a move would be a “mistake” and that any country doing so would be considered invaders. 

“The presence of foreign forces under whatever name or by whichever country in our homeland is unacceptable for the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate (Taliban),” the group cautioned in a statement.

The Taliban insisted that the security of airports, foreign embassies, and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of Afghans, saying that “no one should hold out hope of keeping military or security presence” in Afghanistan.   

In a communique issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the NATO Summit, it was stated that NATO will retain a Senior Civilian Representative’s Office in Kabul to continue diplomatic engagement and enhance its partnership with Afghanistan.

“Recognising its importance to an enduring diplomatic and international presence, as well as to Afghanistan’s connectivity with the world, NATO will provide transitional funding to ensure the continued functioning of Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the communique read.  

“We will also step up dialogue on Afghanistan with relevant international and regional partners. We continue to support the ongoing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, and call on all stakeholders to help Afghanistan foster a lasting inclusive political settlement that puts an end to violence; safeguards the human rights of Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; upholds the rule of law; and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.”

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Khalilzad in Kazakhstan to discuss Afghanistan peace process

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan on Sunday to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan media reports stated the two discussed prospects for the development of the Kazakh-US relations in the context of ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan especially once foreign troops have withdrawn.

Reports stated Khalilzad and Tokayev also discussed the coordination of bilateral and multilateral efforts for the stabilization and socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Tokayev said: “This year we are marking the 30th anniversary of our Independence. During this period, we managed to build relations of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

“The United States is a strong partner of Kazakhstan. We are good partners in so many areas, including trade and economic cooperation,” he said.

Tokayev also said the Afghan issue was always a focal point in his talks with the leaders of Afghanistan, Russia, China, Central Asian states and international organizations.

Kazakh media reported that during the meeting, Khalilzad shared his assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan, and the vision of American diplomacy regarding the further development of the intra-Afghan peace process.

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Taliban ‘paths’ into districts will become mass graveyards: Saleh

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said Monday the Taliban have advanced in a number of areas but warned that the narrow paths into the districts will be turned into a mass graveyard for the militants.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saleh said: “Those who know how to fight with the Taliban, know that this narrow line will become the mass graveyard of this group of terror and ignorance.”

The statement comes as the Taliban militants have captured at least 30 districts since May 1.

In the most recent incidents, the Sayad district in Sar-e-Pul province; the Awba district in Herat province; and the Khanabad district in Kunduz province fell to the insurgents in the past 24 hours.

Provincial sources have told Ariana News that through government’s neglect, at least 18 more districts are on the verge of collapse.

Saleh, meanwhile, stated that the Taliban militants have not changed the way they treat the people of Afghanistan.

“Do not be deceived by [Taliban’s] propaganda. Resisting the Taliban is defending human values and dignity. Taliban has no message for the people of this country other than demanding obedience as a slave life,” Saleh said.

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