Daesh claims deadly suicide attack at entrance of Kabul ministry

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Relatives stand over a victim at a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul on June 11, 2018. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)
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Relatives stand over a victim at a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul on June 11, 2018. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)
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Relatives of the victims mourn at a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul on June 11, 2018. (REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail)
Updated 11 June 2018
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Daesh claims deadly suicide attack at entrance of Kabul ministry

  • The Public Health Ministry said that 13 employees of the Ministry of Rural Development were killed and 25 wounded when the bomber let off explosives as officials left for home at the end of a fasting day.
  • The strike came hours after four assailants, one of them a suicide bomber, tried to storm the Department of Education in the eastern city of Jalalabad. 

KABUL: Daesh claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed more than a dozen Afghans at an entrance to a government ministry in Kabul on Monday, less than a day before the beginning of a truce by Kabul with the Taliban insurgents.

Women were among the casualties, Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai told reporters. The Public Health Ministry said that 13 employees of the Ministry of Rural Development were killed and 25 wounded when the bomber let off explosives as officials left for home at the end of a fasting day. The toll could go higher, one official said.

“Some had just received their salaries and were heading home to purchase goods for Eid,” Ahmad Saleem, a ministry official, told Arab News. “This attack turned their happiness into mourning.”

The strike came hours after four assailants, one of them a suicide bomber, tried to storm the Department of Education in the eastern city of Jalalabad. 

A group of civilians were wounded in that attack, which was foiled by security forces, government officials said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the Jalalabad attack, but Daesh on its Amaq website said that it was behind the Kabul one, which occurred less than a day before the enforcement of a week-long truce, starting on Tuesday, by the government with the Taliban insurgents.

President Ashraf Ghani traveled on Monday to the southern city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, where he is expected to declare the beginning of the cease-fire tomorrow, officials said.The truce does not cover Daesh and other foreign militant networks.

The Taliban, the main insurgent group, also pledged to observe a truce during the three days of the key Muslim religious festival, Eid Al-Fitr, likely to fall on Friday, but has vowed to continue its attacks against US-led troops.The desire of both sides to observe a truce is the first of its kind since the current conflict started in late 2001 with the ousting of the Taliban in a US-led attack. The US, which leads the war against the insurgents, has pledged to observe the government’s terms of truce with the Taliban only.

But the two parties have been locked in heavy clashes in various parts of the country ahead of the enforcement of the planned cease-fire. Over a dozen Afghan security forces were killed in Taliban attacks overnight in northern Kunduz province, where days back nearly 20 other government combatants, in addition to several dozen others, lost their lives elsewhere in the country.

 


UK warns dual nationals over travel to Iran, as France holds on envoy nomination

Updated 19 September 2018
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UK warns dual nationals over travel to Iran, as France holds on envoy nomination

  • Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016
  • France will not name a new ambassador to Tehran before getting information from Iran following a foiled plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris in June

LONDON: Britain on Wednesday advised British-Iranian dual nationals against all but essential travel to Iran, tightening up its existing travel advice and warning it has only limited powers to support them if detained.

The advisory came in tandem with France’s decision to hold off on appointing a new ambassador to Iran, as it seeks clarification over an attempt to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris in June

“The Foreign Secretary (Jeremy Hunt) has taken the decision to advise against all but essential travel by UK-Iranian dual nationals to Iran,” a foreign office spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
“British citizens who also hold Iranian nationality face risks if they travel to Iran, as we have seen all too sadly in a number of cases. The Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality, so if a dual national is detained our ability to provide support is extremely limited.”
Earlier this month Britain’s Middle East minister Alistair Burt used a visit to Iran to discuss cases of detained dual nationals, alongside other diplomatic issues.
Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter, now aged four, after a family visit.
She was convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, a charge denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.
Meanwhile, France will not name a new ambassador to Tehran before getting information from Iran following a foiled plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris last June, French officials said on Wednesday.
An Iranian diplomat based in Austria and three other people were arrested on suspicion of plotting the attack on a meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Iran has said it had nothing to do with the plot, which it called a “false flag” operation staged by figures within the opposition group itself.
The incident has hit relations just as France and its European partners are seeking to salvage a 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.
France’s ambassador to Iran departed in the summer. Iran has also yet to replace its departed ambassador to Paris.
“We have a charge d’affaires today in Tehran and there is a high-level dialogue between French and Iranian authorities,” said a French presidential source.
“We are working together to bring to light what happened around this event ... I wouldn’t say there is a direct link (in not appointing an ambassador), but Iran has promised to give us objective facts in the coming weeks that would allow us to pursue our diplomatic relationship as it is today.”
A French diplomatic source said the nomination had indeed been suspended as a result of the alleged plot.
France’s Foreign Ministry in August told its diplomats and officials to postpone non-essential travel to Iran indefinitely, citing the plot and a hardening of Tehran’s attitude toward France, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
President Emmanuel Macron is likely to discuss the issue with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when they meet on Sept. 25 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the source said.
Along with Britain and Germany, France is trying save a 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which was thrown into disarray when US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord in May and re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran.
Even so, tensions between Paris and Tehran have grown in recent months as Macron and his government have become increasingly frustrated with Iran’s activities in the Middle East region, in particular its ballistic missile program.