Two men set off bomb in restaurant in Canada, 15 wounded

Peel Regional Police posted a photograph on Twitter showing two people with dark zip-up hoodies walking into an establishment with one of them appearing to be carrying an object.
Updated 25 May 2018
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Two men set off bomb in restaurant in Canada, 15 wounded

  • The blast went off in the Bombay Bhel restaurant where 15 people were taken to hospital, three of them with critical injuries
  • The two male suspects went into the restaurant and detonated their improvised explosive device, Peel Regional Police said

TORONTO: Two unidentified men walked into a restaurant on Thursday in the Canadian city of Mississauga and set off a bomb, wounding more than a dozen people, and then fleeing, local police said. The blast went off in the Bombay Bhel restaurant at about 10:30 p.m local time. Fifteen people were taken to hospital, three of them with critical injuries, the Peel Regional Paramedic Service said in a Tweet. The two male suspects fled after detonating their improvised explosive device, Peel Regional Police said in a Tweet. No one has claimed responsibility, and the motive for the attack was not known.


Police posted a photograph on Twitter showing two people with dark zip-up hoodies walking into an establishment. One appeared to be carrying an object. Peel Police said one suspect was in his mid-20s, stocky, and wore dark blue jeans and a dark zip-up hoody pulled over his head, with black cloth covering his face. The second was thin, and wore faded blue jeans, a grey t-shirt and a dark zip-up hoody over his head, also with his face covered. Roads in the area were closed and a large police presence was at the scene, with heavily armed tactical officers arriving as part of the large emergency response, local media reported.

The attack in Mississauga comes a month after a driver plowed his white Ryder rental van into a lunch-hour crowd in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 15. Mississauga is Canada’s sixth-largest city, with a population of 700,000 people, situated on Lake Ontario about 20 miles (32 km) west of Toronto. Bombay Bhel is an Indian restaurant chain in the metro area of Mississauga. India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a tweet that the she was in constant touch with the Consul General in Toronto and the Indian High Commissioner in Canada and that the missions would work round the clock. 


Germany in push to resurrect talks with Taliban

Updated 26 May 2019
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Germany in push to resurrect talks with Taliban

  • Only the Afghans ‘can decide upon the future of their country’

KABUL, BERLIN: Germany, a leading donor and member of the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, has been talking with the Taliban and the Afghan government in an effort to restart peace talks to end 18 years of conflict, officials said.

While the Taliban have been talking with US officials since October about withdrawal of international troops, they have so far refused formal talks with the Western-backed government, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.

Berlin’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Markus Potzel, has visited Kabul for talks with the Afghan government and met Taliban officials in Doha at least twice this month.

“The current chance for a process toward a more peaceful Afghanistan should not be missed. If the friends of Afghanistan — and Germany is one of them — together can help in this effort, then we should do it,” Potzel said.

“In the end, only the Afghans themselves, including the Taliban, can decide upon the future of their country.”

The chief US negotiator in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in March said that a draft agreement had been reached on a withdrawal of US forces in exchange for a commitment by the Taliban to cut ties with militant groups such as Al-Qaeda.

But there has been no agreement yet on a cease-fire or a start to talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, both seen as key conditions for a settlement.

An Afghan delegation had been due to meet Taliban officials in the Qatari capital Doha last month to build the basis for possible negotiations, but the meeting was canceled at the last minute after a dispute over the number of participants.

FASTFACT

 

● At least 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed in the war last year. ● 14,000 US troops are still stationed in Afghanistan.

“We realize that US-Taliban talks will gain momentum only if the insurgent leaders start engaging with the Afghan representatives,” a senior German official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sohail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, said that Germany was one among several countries to have offered help to seek a peaceful resolution. 

The EU and Indonesia are among those to have offered help, another Taliban official said, declining to be named.

Discussions were held with Germany about an Afghan-Taliban meeting in Germany but no decision has been made, Shaheen told Reuters.

 

Captives subjected to abuse

Afghan captives held by the Taliban have been subjected to abuse, ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture, the UN said on Sunday.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it interviewed 13 detainees from a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban, mainly members of Afghan forces but also civilians and government officials captured by the insurgents.

The group was freed on April 25 when Afghan troops raided a Taliban-run detention facility in the Khas Uruzgan district in southern Uruzgan province.

Most of the captives were held since 2018, with three since 2016, the UNAMA statement said, adding they were kept in poor conditions and subjected to forced labor. It cites the detainees as saying that the Taliban killed some of their captives.

“I am gravely concerned about these serious allegations of ill-treatment, torture and unlawful killing of civilians and security personnel, as well as the deplorable conditions of detention,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of UNAMA.

The detainees were shackled while in captivity and almost all said they were beaten. The Taliban told them it was punishment for supporting the government, working with the Americans or fighting the insurgents.