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Blasts kill 26 in Afghanistan; IS, Taliban claim responsibility

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Kabul, June 20 : Three separate blasts claimed 26 lives including those of two suicide bombers and 14 Nepalese nationals and injured more than 50 others in Afghanistan on Monday. The killings evoked strong condemnation.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a statement released by his office blamed the enemies of Afghanistan for the attacks, saying the terrorists by conducting subversive activities in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan want to terrorise the people.

In his message, the president also expressed sympathy with the families of the Nepalese and Afghan victims.

Afghan government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah denounced the deadly bombings by saying, “I condemn the terrorist attack on those travelling to their work places in Kabul this morning. This attack is an act of terror and intimidation.”

In a suicide attack which targeted the minibus of Nepalese nationals reportedly worked as guards at the Canadian embassy at 5.40 a.m. 14 Nepalese citizens were killed and nine others including four Afghans injured.

Both the Islamic State terrorist group and the Taliban claimed responsibility for the bloodbath.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, said over 20 people were killed or wounded in the attack. It said its “fighters” carried out the operation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “strongly condemned the horrible tragedy” and offered “deep condolences” to the governments and people of Afghanistan and Nepal.

Nepal reacted with grief and shock.

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said: “I am shocked to hear that 14 Nepalis were killed… I express my heartfelt condolences to their kin.”

He wished early recovery to those injured in the horrific incident.

Nepal has no embassy in Afghanistan. Its mission in Islamabad oversees the Afghan affairs.

The Nato-led Resolute Support Mission said: “The Taliban’s actions repeatedly harm civilians in an effort to undermine the government…”

A similar bombing in a bazaar in Kasham district of the northern Badakhshan province at around 10 a.m. claimed the lives of 10 civilians and injured 40 others, according to provincial government spokesman Nawed Frotan.

A bomb blast injured five people including a member of the Kabul provincial council Attaullah Faizani on the same day.

Afghans from all walks of life have strongly condemned the three bombings in a single day as a cowardly act of terror, calling upon the militants to respect Ramadan.

Kabul resident Abdul Ghani said, “Ramadan is the month of peace and reconciliation and killing people in this month is against teaching of Islam”.

Earlier on the eve of Ramadan, ulema or religious scholars had asked the Taliban to halt hostilities or at least observe a ceasefire during Ramadan.

However, the Taliban outfit described Ramadan as the month of Jihad or holy war and victory and vowed to intensify fighting in the month of Ramadan, a statement that has been widely condemned by Afghans.

Middle East

Rouhani warns Trump against walking away from n-deal

I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments, the Iranian government will react firmly.

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Tehran, April 24 : Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday warned his US counterpart Donald Trump that abandoning a nuclear deal that the Tehran government signed with world powers in 2015 would lead to “serious consequences”.

Speaking live on television, Rouhani said his government had kept its end of the deal and warned Trump not to tear up the agreement, which had also been signed by Russia, China, Germany, the UK and France.

“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments, the Iranian government will react firmly,” Rouhani said.

“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” he added.

Trump has said that unless the US’ European allies put right what he has described as “terrible flaws” in the deal by May 12, his government would re-establish economic sanctions on Iran, dealing the pact a major blow, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rouhani stressed that Iran was complying with the deal, as has been confirmed a dozen times by the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose Director General Yukiya Amano said in March that a possible failure of the agreement would be a great loss.

French President Emmanuel Macron was in Washington in an attempt to try and persuade Trump not to walk away from the accord.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday he had agreed with his Chinese counterpart that Moscow and Beijing would try to block any US attempt to wreck the nuclear deal.

Iran has said it would ramp up its nuclear programme if the deal collapses.

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Putin warns against further actions violating UN charter

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, April 16 : Further actions violating the UN charter such as the recent US-led strikes on Syria will result in chaos in international relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over phone on Sunday.

The two leaders condemned Saturday’s airstrikes by the US and its allies on Syria and agreed that it would hinder the process of a political settlement in the war-torn country, according to a Kremlin statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

“It was stated that this illegal action seriously damages the prospects for a political settlement in Syria. Putin in particular stressed that if such actions, carried out in violation of the UN Charter, continue, it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the statement read.

The US, together with Britain and France, launched missile strikes on Syria on Saturday, saying that it was in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack by the Syrian military. The Syrian government has categorically denied the accusation.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the same day held an emergency meeting over the missile attack at Russia’s request but failed to approve a resolution condemning the bombardment.

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Middle East

Saudi Arabia supports US-led airstrikes on Syria

The Ministry expressed Saudi Arabia’s full support to the US, Britain and France’s military operations on military targets in Syria.

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Syrian Strike

Riyadh, April 14 : Saudi Arabia on Saturday extended support to the coordinated missile strikes by the US, Britain and France on military targets in Syria.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) cited a source in the Saudi Foreign Ministry as saying that “the Ministry expressed Saudi Arabia’s full support to the US, Britain and France’s military operations on military targets in Syria”.

An official from the Ministry highlighted that the operations were a response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against innocent civilians and its years of “horrible crimes”, the agency report said.

The official held the Syrian government responsible for such military attack and the international community for not taking serious steps against the regime.

The US, Britain and France launched coordinated strikes against Syria’s research, storage and military targets to “punish” the Bashar al-Assad regime for an apparent chemical attack in Douma last week that killed over 70 people. The military action was denounced by Damascus and its ally Moscow as a “failure” and “an act of aggression”.

Western allies warned Syria on Saturday that they could launch further attacks if chemical weapons were used again.

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