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More than 100 killed, wounded in Kunduz mosque blast

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(Last Updated On: October 9, 2021)

An explosion ripped through a mosque in Kunduz province on Friday afternoon, killing at least 50 people and wounding 90 others, local officials said. 

The blast took place inside the Sayyidabad mosque in the Khanabad Dandar area Kunduz’s Khanabad district while dozens of people were attending Friday prayer.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said that the explosion targeted a mosque where the Shiite religious minority worship.

“This afternoon, an explosion took place in a mosque of our Shiite compatriots in the Khanabad Dandar area in the center of Kunduz province, as a result, a number of our compatriots were martyred and wounded,” Mujahid said. 

He added that a special unit of the IEA have been deployed to the attack site.

Mujahid noted that the incident is being investigated.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), meanwhile, said that it was deeply concerned by reports of very high casualties in the attack.

“Today’s incident is part of a disturbing pattern of violence: 3rd deadly attack this week apparently targeting a religious institution. Islamic State (KP) claimed responsibility for Sunday’s incident next to a Kabul mosque. Wednesday’s attack on a madrassa in Khost unclaimed,” UNAMA tweeted.

ISKP, locally known as Daesh, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Turkish, US foreign ministers hold bilaterals on NATO summit sidelines

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Antony Blinken met on the sidelines of NATO summit in Latvian capital Riga on Wednesday Two foreign ministers held bilateral talks at the Atta Center, where the NATO Foreign Ministers summit was underway.

Before the meeting, Cavusoglu said Turkey is in contact with Ukraine and Russia to ease tensions, adding that sanctions on Moscow will not solve the crisis.

Ukrainian and Western officials say Moscow has massed forces on the border with Ukraine, which is battling Russia-backed separatists who control part of its territory to the east, and Kyiv on Wednesday urged NATO to prepare sanctions on Russia.

Cavusoglu and Blinken were expected to discuss latest developments in the region, including Ukraine, Libya and Afghanistan.

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Three Russian aircraft with humanitarian aid arrive in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Three Russian aircraft landed in Kabul on Wednesday carrying 36 tonnes of humanitarian aid, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

All three Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, involved in delivering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan would also evacuate Russian citizens, as well as citizens of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states, Russia’s Defense Ministry, said in a statement.

“Some three Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters of the Russian Defense Ministry have delivered humanitarian aid to the Kabul airport and are boarding evacuees for departure from Afghanistan,” the statement read.

A total of over 380 Russians, citizens of the CSTO member states (mainly Kyrgyzstan), and Afghan students from Russian universities will fly out on the departing planes, the ministry said.

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India considers re-opening mission in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

As countries slowly start reopening their embassies in Kabul, India is also reportedly considering the possibility of re-staffing its mission in Afghanistan.

So far, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan all have a diplomatic presence in the country.

Japan and the EU have also discussed the possibility of returning to Afghanistan.

One senior Indian official told The Hindu on Wednesday that “establishing a presence in Afghanistan has nothing to do with recognition [of the IEA government]. It simply means that you would like to have people on the ground dealing with the new regime, to continue engagement with the people.”

He said the Modi government is not convinced about the need to re-open its mission, but that discussions are continuing on what India’s strategy should be, The Hindu reported.

At present, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which was evacuated within two days of the IEA talking control, is intact and being guarded by IEA forces.

While calls from within the country to reopen grow, officials told The Hindu that much depends on what India’s other partners and friendly countries choose to do.

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