Afghan official: Death toll in suicide bombing rises to 68

Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said 165 others were wounded in the attack a day earlier. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Afghan official: Death toll in suicide bombing rises to 68

  • Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said 165 others were wounded in the attack a day earlier
  • Both Taliban insurgents and Daesh are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar province

KABUL, Afghanistan: The death toll in a suicide bombing among a group of people protesting a local police commander in eastern Afghanistan has risen to 68, up from 32, provincial officials Wednesday.
Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said 165 others were wounded in the attack a day earlier.
The bombing happened when a group from the district of Achin came to Momandara district to block the main highway between the capital Jalalabad and the Torkham border with Pakistan.
The Taliban denied any involvement. No any other group immediately claimed responsibility, but both Taliban insurgents and Daesh are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar province.
A local affiliate of Daesh has emerged in recent years and carried out brazen and increasingly deadly attacks, most often targeting civilians and the country's minority Shiite Muslims, who it views as apostates. The Taliban and the Islamic State affiliate are enemies and have attacked each other's forces.
Both the Taliban and Daeshcarry out near-daily attacks in Afghanistan targeting security forces and government officials.
Tuesday's attack was marked by one of the highest death tolls in attacks in Afghanistan this year. In January, a Taliban-claimed suicide bombing in the capital Kabul killed at least 103.
Afghan president Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the suicide attack against the demonstrators in Nangarhar. In a statement he said that "attacks on civilian facilities, mosques, women, children, are all crimes against humanity."


Macron honors Algerians who fought for colonial France

Updated 21 September 2018
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Macron honors Algerians who fought for colonial France

  • Macron is to grant national awards to more than 20 former fighters and people who have battled for recognition of the Algerians who fought for Paris in the country’s brutal eight-year liberation war.
  • Another 19 people are to be granted an Order of Merit, ahead of France’s National Harki Day on September 25.

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron announced honors on Friday for Algerians who fought alongside French troops in Algeria’s war of independence, part of fresh moves to confront France’s painful legacy in north Africa.
Macron is to grant national awards to more than 20 former fighters and people who have battled for recognition of the Algerians who fought for Paris in the country’s brutal eight-year liberation war.
After a peace accord granted Algerian independence on March 18, 1962, only around 60,000 Algerian loyalists known as “harkis” were allowed into France. There, they suffered rampant discrimination and, in many cases, poverty.
The rest — between 55,000 and 75,000, according to historians — remained in Algeria, where many were massacred after being accused of being traitors.
Notifications published in the official journal on Friday showed that Macron would grant the Legion d’Honneur, the country’s top honor, to six former fighters and the co-founder of an association which has fought for their rights.
Another 19 people are to be granted an Order of Merit, ahead of France’s National Harki Day on September 25.
The fate of the harkis in France and their descendants, who number hundreds of thousands, remains a highly sensitive issue in France, acting as a reminder of its colonial history.
Previous presidents of the left and right had taken cautious steps to acknowledge and face up to French wrongdoing in Algeria and after the war.
Rightwing leader Nicolas Sarkozy admitted in 2012 that France failed in its duty toward the Algerians who fought for France, saying the country “should have protected the harkis from history, it did not do so.”
Macron has gone further than his predecessors in addressing France’s past in Algeria.
Last year he sparked controversy on the campaign trail by declaring that France’s colonization of Algeria was a “crime against humanity,” leading to protests from some harki groups.
And last week he acknowledged that the French military instituted a “system” that facilitated torture as it sought to cling on to its 130-year rule in the country.
He made the announcement while admitting that the French state was responsible for the torture and death of mathematician Maurice Audin, a French Communist pro-independence activist who disappeared in Algiers in 1957.
The 1954-1962 Algerian war of independence sparked fears of a coup in France, with mutinous generals reluctant to relinquish the colony.
The conflict left at least 400,000 people dead.