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Security chiefs face wrath of parliament, despite VP and NSA’s absence

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(Last Updated On: November 7, 2020)

During a special sitting of Parliament on Saturday, members of the Wolesi Jirga lashed out at the government and accused security sectors of failing to manage the system and defend the country and the lives of the people.

MP’s claimed Afghanistan had become a “slaughter-house” with innocent civilians falling victim to attacks.

Heads of the different security ministries were summoned to appear before the special parliamentary session on Saturday in order to answer questions around the deteriorating security situation in the country and about recent large-scale attacks on Kabul city.

MPs were however angry about the no show of First Vice President Amrullah Saleh and National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib.

Saleh was appointed last month to take control of the deteriorating security situation in Kabul. Ghani ordered him to ensure attacks, assassinations and crime-related incidents were stamped out.

However, since his appointment dozens of IED explosions have happened in the city and two major attacks were carried out on two separate educational facilities – resulting in the deaths of at least 50 civilians – most of whom were students.

MPs meanwhile accused Saleh and Mohib of having adjusted the authority of officials at some security institutions and claim this “has weakened the functioning of the security sectors”.

The two senior government officials meanwhile said in a letter to parliament that they would only attend a hearing, not an interrogation.

MPs this week summoned Saleh and Mohib along with the acting ministers of defense and interior and the acting head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

“We have nothing to do with these ministers because Hamdullah Mohib grabs all the competencies and he should come and respond to the people and he has been busy making appointments, now who is responsible for this unfortunate situation?” asked Ziauddin Zia, a member of the Internal Security Commission of the House of Representatives.

“We have no security, no job, no hope for life, no government, and the president is hiding in the palace and releasing false statements. He made the country a slaughterhouse for the people. Ghani shame on you,” said Habibur Rahman Pedram, a parliament member.

“The absence of Saleh and Mohib is an insult to the people of Afghanistan and Mohib who considers himself the secretary of the president, why is he making appointments? There is a serious need for reforms in the security council,” said Abdul Satar Hussaini, another member of Parliament.

Meanwhile, acting defense minister Assadullah Khalid called the ineligibility of security officials by members of parliament an insult and called for a session of parliament to be held behind closed doors.

“Insulting is not right and the session should be secret so that we can share our words with you [MPS],” said Khalid.

Eventually, the House of Representatives decided by a majority of votes to hold a closed-door session, but a number of members of parliament said that even during this session, security officials had nothing concrete to say about the recent attacks, especially those in capital Kabul.

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US ready to lift many sanctions but Iran says it wants more

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(Last Updated On: May 8, 2021)

The United States has expressed its readiness to lift many of its sanctions on Iran at the Vienna nuclear talks but Tehran is demanding more, top Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state media on Friday.

“The information transferred to us from the U.S. side is that they are also serious on returning to the nuclear deal and they have so far declared their readiness to lift a great part of their sanctions,” Araqchi told state TV.

“But this is not adequate from our point of view and therefore the discussions will continue until we get to all our demands,” Araqchi said as indirect talks were scheduled to resume on Friday in the Austrian capital.

In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden said he believed Iran was seriously engaging in the talks but it was unclear what Tehran was actually prepared to do for both sides to resume compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Asked at the White House if he thought Tehran was serious about talks, Biden replied: “Yes, but how serious, and what they are prepared to do is a different story. But we’re still talking.”

U.S. officials have returned to Vienna for a fourth round of indirect talks with Iran on how to resume compliance with the deal, which former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its terms about a year later.

The crux of the agreement was that Iran committed to rein in its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain the fissile material for a nuclear weapon in return for relief from U.S., EU and U.N. sanctions.

Tehran denies having nuclear weapons ambitions.

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30 killed in three back-to-back explosions at Kabul school

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(Last Updated On: May 8, 2021)

Three consecutive explosions targeted students at a public school in PD13, in Dasht-e-Barchi, in Kabul city on Saturday evening killing at least 30 people.

According to the sources, an explosive-loaded vehicle detonated in front of the Sayeed-ul-Shuhada High School at around 4:30 pm. This explosion was followed by two suicide bombings while frantic students were running from the school compound immediately after the first explosion.

The Interior Ministry stated that at least 30 people – including students – were killed and 52 others wounded in the explosions.

Sources, meanwhile, stated that as many as 40 people have been killed and around 100 others injured in the incident.

So far no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Taliban issued a statement soon after the explosion and denied any involvement in the attack.

The group said: “We condemn blasts in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul that were carried out against civilians; unfortunately, the blasts left too many casualties.”

The Taliban blamed the terrorist group Daesh (IS-K) for the attack.

Meanwhile, the attack has been widely condemned by the Afghan leaders and the international community.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed “its deep revulsion at today’s blasts in Dasht-i-Barchi Kabul. An atrocity. Many civilians were killed and injured. Our heartfelt condolences are with the victim’s families and we wish a speedy recovery to those hurt.”

The European Union in Afghanistan also condemned today’s explosion stating “the horrendous attack in Dasht-i Barchi area in Kabul, is a despicable act of terrorism. Targeting primarily students in a girls’ school makes this an attack on the future of Afghanistan.”

President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the bombing in Kabul, said it was a “barbaric act”. He said the Taliban have shown they are not only reluctant to resolve the current crisis peacefully and fundamentally. He said: “They sabotage peace.”

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13 killed, 35 wounded in Kabul blast

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(Last Updated On: May 8, 2021)

A heavy explosion rattled the Dasht-e-Barchi area in Kabul city on Saturday afternoon, sources said.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) stated that a blast happened close to Sayeed-ul-Shuhada School in PD13 of Kabul city at around 4:27 pm Saturday.

At least 13 people were killed and 35 others wounded in the blast, sources said.

Sources, however, stated that three blasts happened in the area. The cause of the blasts yet to be determined.

Pictures published on social media show that a number of civilians have been killed in the blasts.

Meanwhile, Ariana News correspondent stated people with private vehicles are rushing victims to the hospitals instead of waiting for an ambulance.

According to the sources, most of the victims and wounded people are students.

Immediately no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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