Friday, August 28, 2009

Security Council, Secretary-General deplore brutal bombing in southern Afghanistan

26 August 2009 - The Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the senior United Nations official in Afghanistan have all condemned Tuesday’s suicide bomb attack in the southern city of Kandahar, which has killed more than 40 civilians and wounded at least 80 others. The truck bomb exploded on Tuesday evening in a residential area of Kandahar near a Japanese construction company, a guest house used by foreigners and Government offices, according to media reports. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was “shocked and dismayed” when he learned of the attack, his spokesperson said in a statement released today. “He condemns in the strongest possible terms this brutal and senseless act of violence.” The Security Council issued a press statement later today deploring the bombing and stressing that “no terrorist act can reverse the path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan, which is supported by the people and the Government of Afghanistan and the international community.” Council members underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of such acts to justice and urged all States to cooperate with Afghan authorities to this end, according to the press statement, read out by Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated their serious concern at the threats posed by the Taliban, al-Qaida and other extremist groups to the local population, national security forces, international military and international assistance efforts in Afghanistan,” Mr. Sawers said. Kai Eide, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, offered his deep condolences to all those who have suffered as a result of the attack, which occurred just days after the country held presidential and provincial council elections. “The disregard for civilian lives shown by the perpetrators of this attack is staggering,” Mr. Eide said in a statement issued in Kabul.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Taliban killed Afghan Journalist in Pakistan

Gunmen shot dead an AfText Colorghan journalist known as an outspoken critic of the Taliban as he travelled by bus through Pakistan's Khyber Pass on Monday, a Pakistani government official said.
Janullah Hashimzada was bureau chief in Pakistan for Afghanistan's Shamshad television channel and was travelling from Afghanistan when he was attacked.
"The attackers in a Toyota Corolla car intercepted the bus and made it stop and then they went inside and shot him dead," Rehan Khattak, a government official in Jamrud, the main town in the Khyber region, told Reuters.
One passenger was wounded, he said.
Khattak declined to say who might have been behind the attack.
Journalists in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province where Hashimzada was based, said he had been a vocal critic of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
"This was purely a targeted killing," Shamim Shahid, president of the Peshawar Press Club, told the vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI). "(He) was very critical of the Taliban, and some of his reporting was unacceptable both to Pakistani and Afghan governments and intelligence agencies.
"He had too much information regarding the militants, the Taliban and the intelligence agencies."
Violence has increased in Khyber over the past year with Pakistani Taliban launching attacks in an attempt to cut off supplies bound for Western forces in Afghanistan.
Kidnap and smuggling gangs also operate in the region, some of whose members also pose as Islamist militants. (Reporting by Ibrahim Shinwari; Writing by Kamran Haider; Editing by Robert Birsel and Ralph Boulton)