Daesh claims responsibility for suicide bombing that killed more than 60 would-be voters in Kabul

An Afghan man runs away as dust blows in the aftermath of a blast. (AFP)
Updated 22 April 2018
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Daesh claims responsibility for suicide bombing that killed more than 60 would-be voters in Kabul

  • The attack will not deter Afghans from voting, says Afghanistan's chief executive Abdullah Abdullah
  • The attack was the deadliest against the elections process since the launch of registration more than a week ago in Afghanistan

KABUL: Daesh claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed more than 60 would-be voters in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday.

The attack may cause further concern among Afghans who already seem disinterested in registering for the crucial elections to select a new parliament and choose new members for provincial councils on Oct. 20.

It occurred in the Dashte Barchi part of Kabul, a Shia-dominated area where Daesh has conducted a number of deadly attacks against the Shia-populated areas in recent months.

Interior ministry officials said the bomber blew himself up outside offices used for voters’ registration where, according to the health ministry, 63 died and 119 other people were wounded.

Some schoolchildren were among the victims, hospital officials told Arab News.

Blood-stained National ID papers and voters’ photos are seen on the ground outside a voter registration center, after a suicide attack in Kabul, Sunday, April 22, 2018. (AP Photo)

Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s chief executive, in a tweet, said the attack will not deter Afghans from voting.

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the voters’ registration center in Kabul. I stand with those affected by this cowardly attack. Our resolve for fair and transparent elections will continue and terrorists won’t win against the will of the Afghan people.”

Sunday’s attack was the deadliest against the elections process since the launch of registration more than a week ago in Afghanistan. Other attacks were minor and happened in remote areas.

The turnout of those registering is said to be far lower — a sign of lack of interest among Afghans because of fraudulent past elections and the way many leaders and politicians failed to deliver on even minor promises given during the campaign.


Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

Updated 18 October 2018
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Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

  • Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted to set up a 5,000-strong national army
  • The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops

PRISTINA: Parliament in Kosovo, Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted on Thursday to set up a 5,000-strong national army though its Serb minority said the move was illegal.
Serb deputies, backed by Belgrade which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, have blocked any such move in the past saying creation of a national army required a change to the constitution.
But three laws promoted by the Kosovo government and passed by a parliamentary vote on Thursday simply upgraded the mandate of the lightly-armed domestic Kosovo Security Force (KSF) to become a national army — something which the government said did not require any changes to the constitution.
The vote was passed with 98 in favor in the 120-seat parliament, though it was boycotted by the legislature’s 11 Serb deputies. A second vote will be required in the next few days.
“The three laws have one task, to protect the territorial integrity of Kosovo, to protect the citizens of all communities in Kosovo,” Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said before the vote.
The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops nearly two decades after the end of the war.
NATO moved into the fledgling state in June 1999 following weeks of air strikes to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces fighting a two-year counter-insurgency after the break-up of Yugoslavia.
The United States and most of the European Union member states recognize Kosovo. But objections by permanent Security Council members Russia and China which back Serbia in not accepting Kosovo’s statehood prevent it from being a member of the United Nations.
The laws passed said the new army would have 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. The present KSF security force is a lightly armed, 2,500-strong force trained by NATO and tasked with crisis response, civil protection and ordinance disposal.
NATO says it has no plans to leave the territory just now, but it suggested that any change to the status of the KSF might lead to a reduction in its forces there.
“Any change in the structure, mandate and mission of the Kosovo Security Forces is for the Kosovo authorities to decide,” a NATO official told Reuters in an emailed answer.
“NATO supports the Kosovo Security Force under its current mandate. Should this mandate evolve, the North Atlantic Council will have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement in Kosovo. We cannot predict decisions by the North Atlantic Council.”