Scores of Afghans hurt in Taliban attack on Kabul base

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an explosion in Kabul on Monday. (AP)
Updated 02 July 2019

Scores of Afghans hurt in Taliban attack on Kabul base

  • Assault comes as talks between group and US diplomats enters third day

KABUL: Scores of Afghans were wounded in an attack by Taliban insurgents on a security facility in Kabul on Monday. 

The powerful bomb in downtown Kabul killed at least six people and wounded more than a hundred, sending a cloud of smoke billowing over the Afghan capital. 

At least 26 children were among the wounded, many of whom were cut by shards of glass when the bomb shattered nearby windows, government spokesman Feroz Bashari said as quoted by The Associated Press. He said a total of 105 people were hurt.

The attack comes as talks between Taliban delegates and US diplomats enter a third day in Qatar, and follows weeks of air and ground offensives against the militants in various parts of the country.

The explosion carried out by a suicide bomber occurred outside a compound belonging to the Afghan Defense Ministry, less than a mile from the presidential palace.

A group of militants, consisting of suicide bombers and others armed with rocket propelled grenades, then entered the facility, sparking a gunbattle with police and security forces. Explosions could be heard as helicopters hovered above the area.

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said 100 people, nine of them children, were hurt in the blast and subsequent clash. One person was confirmed dead.

“It (the explosion) was very powerful and was heard throughout the city,” Ahmad Shah, a resident living nearby, told Arab News.

“This clearly shows an intelligence failure,” said Mohammad Gul Mujahid, a security analyst.

The country’s chief executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said the attack showcased the Taliban’s “inherent criminal nature.” He added the government would not be deterred “to pursue and punish the miscreants.” The incident coincides with the seventh round of talks between Taliban representatives and US officials in Doha.

Both the Taliban and Afghan forces, backed by US troops, have intensified fighting in recent months as part of an effort to gain an advantage in the negotiations.

The Taliban staged four suicide attacks on government buildings in southern Kandahar on Sunday, killing dozens of security forces and eight civilians.

In a statement, the US Embassy in Kabul condemned the Taliban’s latest “brutal attacks against fellow Afghans.”

Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

Updated 10 December 2019

Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

  • International Court of Justice seeks to address atrocities committed by Myanmar

DHAKA: Several members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar expressed optimism on Monday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would rule in their favor once it began its three-day hearing against Myanmar on Tuesday.

The case was filed by Gambia on behalf of all Muslim nations from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) with the ICJ over the alleged persecution of the Rohingya by the Myanmar military.

On Nov. 18, the court decided to hold the hearings from Dec.10 to 12. Gambia’s justice minister will lead his country during the hearings.

Both Canada and Bangladesh have been supporting Gambia by providing different data and information regarding the atrocities against the Rohingya.

Myanmar’s state councillor and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has already reached  the Netherlands to lead the defense lawyers on behalf of her country at the ICJ.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque will remain present at the courtroom to witness the process.

He will lead a 20-member team, comprising government officials and civil society representatives.

Rohingya at Cox’s Bazar are highly optimistic of securing justice at the ICJ.

“We think justice will be ensured because all international human rights groups, different UN organizations and the international community have got evidence of the persecution on the Rohingya. All of them have visited the refugee camps many times and listened to the plight of the Rohingya,” Sawyed Ullah, a community leader from Jamtoli, told Arab News.

“Also, we have strong evidences of atrocities committed by the Myanmar government to root out the Rohingya from their birth place, Rakhine,” Ullah added.

“Without ensuring accountability, there will not be any safety and justice in Rakhine. Once the accountability is restored,  all of us will be able to go back home.”

Ramjan Ali, another refugee from the Kutupalang camp, said: “Myanmar’s government has forcibly displaced the Rohingya from their own land and that compelled us to shelter here at the refugee camps. Isn’t it enough evidence to justify our allegations against the Myanmar government?”

Ramjan Ali added: “Still the situation in Rakhine is very bad as we receive information from our relatives over there. We need protection from the international forces before any repatriation, and the ICJ’s decision will be helpful for us in this regard.”

Rohingya human rights activist Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the German-based Free Rohingya Coalition described the ICJ’s move as historic.

“It is first ever since we are persecuted. We have been seeking for justice since very long time,” Lwin told Arab News, adding that “finally the case is now at the world court and although it will take several years we are now excited for provisional measures from the court.”

Lwin, along with some 200 Rohingya rights activists from around the world, is set to hold a protest rally at the Hague from Dec. 11 during the ICJ’s hearing.

“We are expecting very much from the ICJ. Regardless whether Myanmar follows the decisions of the court this will have a huge impact. There won’t be any other justice mechanisms if this international court of justice can’t ensure the justice for us,” added Lwin.

Expressing his frustration on the repatriation process, Lwin said that the Myanmar government still had a “genocidal policy” on the Rohingya.

“I don’t think repatriation of the Rohingya will take place soon unless the government is considering to fulfill our demands,” he said.

The ICJ’s final decision will hold strong significance as any decisions taken by the ICJ are binding on member states.

Both Gambia and Myanmar are signatories of the Genocide Convention.