Several killed as Taliban mortars hit Afghan market

Wounded men receive treatment in a hospital after a Taliban attack in the Nahrin district of Baghlan province north of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AFP file photo)
Updated 06 July 2019

Several killed as Taliban mortars hit Afghan market

  • Several Taliban shells hit the market Friday morning in the Khwaja Sabz Posh district of Faryab province
  • The deadly incident comes as the war between the Taliban and Afghan security forces rages on

At least 14 people were killed and dozens more wounded when a busy market in northern Afghanistan was hit by mortar fire, officials said Saturday.

Several Taliban shells hit the market Friday morning in the Khwaja Sabz Posh district of Faryab province, according to Hanif Rezaee, an Afghan army spokesman.

“Fourteen civilians were killed and 40 — including women and children — were wounded,” Rezaee said.

He said the Taliban had been trying to hit an army checkpoint near the market. The insurgent group did not immediately comment.

Naem Musamim, Faryab’s public health director, said 14 bodies and 39 wounded people including four children had been taken to local hospitals. Some victims with critical injuries were airlifted to hospitals in Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province.

Also Friday, a bomb detonated inside a Shia mosque in Ghazni city in central Afghanistan, killing two worshippers and wounding 20 more, according to Ghazni governor spokesman Aref Noori.

Baz Mohammad Hemat, the director of Ghazni hospital, said that one of those killed and 14 of the wounded were children.

Friday is Afghanistan’s day off and many children attend mosque for prayers on the day of worship.

On Twitter, the Taliban denied involvement in the attack.

The Daesh group’s Afghan affiliate, which has a growing footprint, has conducted frequent prior attacks on Shia targets. While Afghanistan is a mainly Sunni country, it has a sizeable Shia minority, mainly represented by the Hazara community.

The deadly incidents come as the war between the Taliban and Afghan security forces rages on, even as Taliban officials are meeting with US negotiators in Doha in a bid to bring about an end to the conflict.

An agreement with the Taliban is expected to have two main points — a US withdrawal from Afghanistan and a commitment by the militants not to provide a base for terrorists, the main reason for the US invasion nearly 18 years ago.

On Sunday, the insurgents will meet in the Qatari capital with various representatives from Afghan society as part of a potential peace process.


Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

Updated 25 August 2019

Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

  • A woman in her 50s accused Ramadan of raping her along with a member of his staff
  • He has been charged in France with raping two women previously

PARIS: Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, has also been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a journalist, French judicial sources said Sunday.
The sources confirmed reports on Europe 1 radio and in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that a woman in her 50s had accused Ramadan, 56, of raping her along with a member of his staff when she went to interview the academic at a hotel in Lyon in May 2014.
The woman, who filed a criminal complaint in May 2019, also accused Ramadan of issuing “threats or acts of intimidation” aimed at dissuading her from reporting the alleged attack to the police, the judicial sources added.
Ramadan, a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when rape allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement in late 2017.
He has denied charges he raped a disabled woman in 2009 and a feminist activist in 2012.
He was taken into custody in February 2018 and held for nine months before being granted bail.
Authorities in Switzerland are also investigating him after receiving a rape complaint in that country.
His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, refused to comment Sunday on the latest allegations against him in France.
The woman behind the latest complaint told police that Ramadan and a male assistant repeatedly raped her in Ramadan’s room at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon.
She described the alleged attack as being of “untold violence” and claimed that when she threatened to report them to the police Ramadan replied: “You don’t know how powerful I am.”
She also claimed that Ramadan had contacted her via the Messenger app in January, two months after his release from jail, saying that he wanted to make her an “offer” of a “professional nature,” without giving details.