Suicide bomber kills over 30 Afghan civilians during a protest

Nangarhar province has been one of the main strongholds of Daesh fighters since early 2015. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018

Suicide bomber kills over 30 Afghan civilians during a protest

  • Suicide bomber targets civilians attending rally
  • No one has claimed responsibility for the attack

KABUL: At least 32 Afghan civilians were killed and scores wounded on Tuesday when they were holding a rally against a local commander in the eastern province of Nangarhar, officials said.

The main insurgency group, the Taliban who are fighting to drive out the U.S.-led troops and topple the government, immediately distance itself from the attack which came hours after three small blasts took place in the provincial capital, Jalalabad.

Those explosions caused few casualties and apparently happened near schools in the city which has been a key target of bloody attacks for affiliates of Daesh in recent months.

Public health ministry’s spokesman Waheed Majroh in a message said that 128 people were wounded in the suicide attack.

“I feel profound indignation at this wave of attacks deliberately targeting civilians. Our deepest sympathy is with the victims…” the United Nations Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto said in a statement.

President Ghani also slammed the attacks, adding they can not deter Afghans from having a “bright future”.

Tuesday’s blasts come following three separate attacks by Daesh network in Kabul since last week, that have resulted in the loss of lives of some 30 civilians and have become cause of serious alarm for Afghans about the expansion and escalation of attacks by the group.

The rise of strikes by the group coincides with a series of gains by the Taliban in the northern areas where they have killed scores of government forces since Sunday.

The escalation of violence, compounded by deepening rift within the government leaders, has seriously impacted the reputation of the administration and raised further doubt about the prospect of next month’s parliamentary polls as well as the presidential one set for April.

Cambodia will not allow any foreign military base

Updated 11 min 59 sec ago

Cambodia will not allow any foreign military base

  • ‘Does Cambodia need to violate its Constitution to allow a foreign military base on Cambodian territory?’
  • ‘With whom does Cambodia need foreign troops to fight with?’

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday there would never be a foreign military base in his country, following a news report that China was lobbying for a naval base in southwest Koh Kong province.
The Asia Times, citing unidentified diplomatic sources and analysts, reported on Thursday that Beijing had been lobbying Cambodia since 2017 for the naval base, which could host frigates, destroyers and other vessels of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
“Does Cambodia need to violate its Constitution to allow a foreign military base on Cambodian territory?” Information Minister Khieu Kanharith quoted Hun Sen as saying on Facebook during a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
“With whom does Cambodia need foreign troops to fight with?” Hun Sen said, according to Khieu Kanharith. “And I do not need foreigners to fight in Cambodian territory like in the past, nor does Cambodia allow her to be a place for ideology or weapon experiment,” he said.
The possible naval base is thought to be part of a project by China’s Tianjin Union Development Group (UDG), which began work in 2008 on 45,000 hectares of land in a national park for 99 years.
There has been little information about the $3.8 billion project or its progress.
UDG was also to spend $45 million on the port, which The Asia Times report described as a naval base.
Cambodia-based Sawac Consultants for Development, commissioned by Cambodia’s environment ministry, said the port would be able to handle up to four 20,000-ton container ships.
The port was guarded by Cambodian military and appeared unfinished when Reuters visited in June.
China, Hun Sen’s strongest regional ally, has poured billions of dollars in development assistance and loans into Cambodia through bilateral frameworks and China’s Belt and Road initiative.
The initiative, unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to bolster a sprawling network of land and sea links with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
It has attracted a flood of Chinese commercial ventures in Cambodia, including casinos and special economic zones.