Afghan official: Gunmen attack vehicle, kill 6 civilians

An Afghan soldier covers a member of his team during a patrol in Chaghcharan, the capital of mountainous Ghor province in this 2004 photo. (AFP)
Updated 17 April 2018
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Afghan official: Gunmen attack vehicle, kill 6 civilians

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says at least six civilians were shot and killed by gunmen in western Ghor province.
Iqbal Nezami, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said that four other civilians were wounded after their vehicle was attacked near Faroz Koh, the provincial capital, on Tuesday morning.
The victims were all ethnic Hazaras, a Shiite minority in Afghanistan that is frequently targeted by Sunni extremists in different parts of the country.
Nezami says the Hazaras were on traveling from Herat, another western province, to Ghor when they came under attack.
No one immediately claimed responsibility forthe attack.
Both the Taliban and militants from the rival Daesh group are active in Ghor and have previously claimed attacks in the province.


Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

Updated 23 October 2018
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Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

  • Man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial
  • Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: A man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial Tuesday in a process closed to the public.
Tajikistan’s Supreme Court spokesperson told AFP Tuesday the trial for the “brutal murder of four foreign cyclists” had begun in the suspect’s high-security detention center.
Hussein Abdusamadov, 33, already confessed to killing American cycling tourists Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, Dutch citizen Rene Wokke and Swiss citizen Markus Hummel in July.
The victims were struck by a car as they cycled along the remote Pamir Highway, a popular route among adventure tourists, before being set upon with knives and firearms.
Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt.
A video of the five men pledging allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was released by an official Daesh media channel.
Tajik authorities have so far ignored the video evidence, instead blaming a former opposition party — the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan — that was banned by the government in 2015.
The fact the trial is closed has raised concerns about due process in a country with a poor record on political freedoms and human rights.
Abdusamadov implicated the IRPT as the ultimate organizer of the attack in a televised confession, but critics say the government is using the case to tar the opposition.
A dozen senior members of the IRPT are serving long sentences up to life on charges government critics say are trumped up.
In addition to Abdusamadov, 16 other people stand accused of not offering information to the authorities that could have prevented the attack, a source in the police told AFP.