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US House impeaches Trump for a second time; 10 Republicans vote yes

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(Last Updated On: January 14, 2021)

Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first president in US history to be impeached twice, as 10 of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him with inciting an insurrection in last week’s violent rampage in the Capitol.

The vote in the Democratic-controlled House was 232-197 following the deadly assault on American democracy, although it appeared unlikely the swift impeachment would lead to Trump’s ouster before his four-year term ends and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20.

The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, rejected Democratic calls for a quick impeachment trial, saying there was no way to conclude it before Trump leaves office. But even if he has left the White House, a Senate conviction of Trump could lead to a vote on banning him from running for office again, Reuters reported.

Biden said it was important that a Senate impeachment trial in the early days of his term not delay work on his legislative priorities, including Cabinet confirmations, and urged Senate leaders to find a way to do both at the same time.

The House passed a single article of impeachment – a formal charge – accusing Trump of “incitement of insurrection,” focused on an incendiary speech he delivered a week earlier to thousands of supporters shortly before the pro-Trump mob rampaged through the Capitol.

The mob disrupted the formal certification of Biden’s victory over Trump in the November 3 election, sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead, including a police officer.

During his speech, Trump repeated false claims that the election was fraudulent and exhorted supporters to march on the Capitol, telling them to “stop the steal,” “show strength,” “fight much harder” and use “very different rules.”

In a video statement released after the House’s action on Wednesday, Trump did not mention the impeachment vote and took no responsibility for his remarks to supporters last week, but condemned the violence, Retuers reported.

“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law and order,” Trump said.

“The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on the House floor before the vote. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

At a later ceremony, Pelosi signed the article of impeachment before it is sent to the Senate, saying she did it “sadly, with a heart broken over what this means to our country.”

Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro called Trump “the most dangerous man to ever occupy the Oval Office.” 

Congresswoman Maxine Waters accused Trump of wanting civil war and fellow Democrat Jim McGovern said the president “instigated an attempted coup.”

Under the US Constitution, impeachment in the House triggers a trial in the Senate. A two-thirds majority would be needed to convict and remove Trump, meaning at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to join the Democrats.

McConnell has said no trial could begin until the Senate was scheduled to be back in regular session next Tuesday, one day before Biden’s inauguration. The trial would proceed in the Senate even after Trump leaves office, Reuters reported.

McConnell, who is reported to be furious with Trump, said in a memo to his fellow Republicans that he had not made a final decision on how he will vote on impeachment in the Senate.

The Capitol siege raised concerns about political violence in the United States once considered all but unthinkable. The FBI has warned of armed protests planned for Washington and all 50 US state capitals ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

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Kabul residents come out en mass in support of security forces

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

Thousands of Kabul residents took to the streets of the city at 9pm on Tuesday night chanting slogans, including Allahu Akbar (God is Great), in support of the Afghan security forces who are battling the Taliban on multiple fronts across Afghanistan. 

In addition to chanting slogans, residents waved the country’s flag, showing support for the republic system and the government forces. 

Thousands more stood on the roofs of their houses and collectively raised their voices while others shouted out the windows of apartment blocks. 

Just one hour earlier, however, the city was rocked by a car bomb that exploded outside the acting defense minister, Bismillah Mohammadi’s house in Sherpur in the center of Kabul. 

But the explosion spurred people on to come out in their droves to show their support for the country’s troops – some of whom were still fighting militants who had stormed Mohammadi’s residence after the explosion. 

Nangarhar residents also joined in and took to the streets in Jalalabad on Tuesday night, while Herat residents started the movement on Monday night. 

The show of support comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani addressed a joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament, the Meshrano Jirga and the Wolesi Jirga, on Monday and called on MPs and Senators to use their influence to mobilize the country to stand by the security forces. 

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Car bomb detonated outside acting defense minister’s home in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

Militants targeted the acting minister of defense, Bismillah Mohammadi’s house in the center of Kabul on Tuesday evening after detonating an explosives-laden car. 

The explosion in Sherpur area, in PD10, ripped through the city at about 8pm.

According to officials, after the explosion, assailants stormed Mohammadi’s house. They said Mohammadi was safe but there were casualties among his bodyguards. 

However, details have not yet been released. 

Meanwhile, sources told Ariana News that at least ten people were wounded in the explosion and had been taken to hospital. 

Security forces have been deployed in the area and are reportedly still engaged in a gun battle with the assailants.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Former vice-president Younus Qanuni meanwhile said in a voice message that Mohammadi was not at home at the time of the attack and “his family members were evacuated from the attack scene.”

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Govt rolls out curfew in 31 provinces to curb Taliban activities

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(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

The Afghan government announced Saturday it has imposed a curfew in 31 provinces around the country in a bid to curb Taliban activity.

According to the Ministry of Interior’s deputy spokesman Ahmad Zia Zia, the curfew will come into effect immediately and will be enforced from 10pm to 4am. 

Kabul, Nangarhar and Panjshir provinces are the only three that have been exempt. 

“Based on the security [situation] officials announced a curfew in 31 provinces; the decision was taken to prevent Taliban activities,” said Zia.

Meanwhile, residents of Kapisa province said that a number of families have been displaced due to clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts.

“Due to the war between ANDSF and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts, many of the residents of the districts have been displaced. We want to know what government intends to do about this,” said Shamila Mashal, a civil society activist.

In addition to these districts, heavy clashes have been ongoing between ANDSF and Taliban in Ghazni, Wardak, Takhar, Kunduz, Kunar, Laghman, Herat, Helmand and Nimruz provinces.

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