At least 100 killed, wounded in terror attack on mosque in Afghanistan

News Network
October 8, 2021

terror.jpg

Kabul, Oct 8: An explosion went off Friday among Shiite Muslim worshippers at a mosque in northern Afghanistan, killing or wounding at least 100 people, a Taliban police official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which took place in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province, but militants from the Islamic State group have a long history of attacking Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim minority.

Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said that the “majority of them have been killed.” He said the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber who mingled among the worshippers.

“I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” Obaida said, adding that an investigation was underway.

If confirmed, a death toll of dozens would be the highest since U.S. and NATO forces left Afghanistan at the end of August and the Taliban took control of the country. The Taliban have been targeted in a series of deadly IS attacks, including shooting ambushes and an explosion at a mosque in the capital of Kabul.

The explosion went off during the weekly Friday prayer service at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque. The Friday noon prayer is the highlight of the Muslim religious week, and mosques are typically crowded. Witness Ali Reza said he was praying at the time of the explosion and reported seeing many casualties.

Photos and video from the scene showed rescuers carrying a body wrapped in a blanket from the mosque to an ambulance. The stairs at the entrance of the mosque were covered in blood.

Earlier Friday, the chief Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Shiite mosque was the target and that a “large number” of worshippers were killed and wounded. He said Taliban special forces had arrived to the scene and were investigating the incident.

The Taliban leadership has been grappling with a growing threat from the local Islamic State affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan. IS militants have ramped up attacks to target their rivals, including two deadly bombings in Kabul.

IS has also targeted Afghanistan's religious minorities in attacks.

The local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for the horrific Aug. 26 bombing that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. military personnel outside the Kabul airport in the final days of the chaotic American pullout from Afghanistan.

Since the U.S. pullout, IS attacks have been mostly in eastern Afghanistan — the regional base for the IS affiliate — and in Kabul.

Ethnic Hazaras, who are mostly minority Shiite Muslims, make up about 6% of Kunduz's population of nearly 1 million people. The province also has a large ethnic Uzbek population that has been targeted for recruitment by the IS, which is closely aligned with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Friday's attack, if claimed by IS, will also be worrying for Afghanistan's northern Central Asian neighbours and Russia, which has been courting the Taliban for years as an ally against the creeping IS in the area. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
October 14,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 14: The Congress' Karnataka unit president D K Shivakumar said he will not blame anyone for the viral video in which former Lok Sabha member V S Ugrappa and media coordinator M A Saleem attributed him to an alleged scam when he was a Minister.

"People have already spoken whatever they wanted. I will not blame the BJP or the media. We only gave others a chance to use us," Shivakumar told reporters here.

He was responding to the queries on the embarrassing video of the purported conversation between Saleem and Ugrappa on Tuesday ahead of a press meet at the party's meeting hall. In the video, Saleem is purportedly heard calling Shivakumar a 'Collection Giraaki' (extortionist), who allegedly increased the 'commission' in irrigation contracts from eight per cent to 12 per cent.

The party suspended Saleem from the party for six years and served a show-cause notice to Ugrappa, who is Congress spokesperson, seeking an explanation in three days. The Congress state chief said the issue related to the viral video was not personal but pertained to a party, which was built by the lakhs of party workers.

Hitting back at the BJP for targeting him following the viral video, Shivakumar said let the BJP take note of what their leaders have spoken against their leader such as MLC A H Vishwanath, C P Yogeshwar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Basanagouda Patil Yatnal.

"Why the BJP has not yet answered to the charges levelled by Vishwanath, Yogeeshwar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Yatnal (against former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his family)? Why are they not speaking about collection during the BJP's tenure," the Congress state chief said.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
October 25,2021

bjp.jpg

New Delhi, Oct 25: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been promoting the slogan of 'Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas' since 2014 but getting the support of the Muslims has been an elusive goal even now, as it was for the BJP's predecessor, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, earlier.

Keeping this in mind, the BJP is trying to dispel its "hardline right wing" image to woo all sections of society.

There was a time when the BJP used to think that it would not get Muslim votes but now the party has started gaining the minority community's confidence, say party leaders.

Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is one of the party's top Muslim leaders, said that the BJP makes constant efforts to win the trust of minority community and working for them to get their votes, but the party does not believe in making deals for votes.

Citing several welfare schemes, including Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Saubhagya Yojana, toilets, Ujjwala Yojana, food grains, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently told the Legislative Council that though Muslim population in the state is 17 to 19 per cent, it is bagging benefits of 30 to 35 per cent from these schemes.

On the BJP's image and development works of the government, Naqvi said that some people take secularism as a "political facility", but for the saffron party, it has been a constitutional commitment.

In seven and a half years of the Modi government and even during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, one cannot cry discrimination in the matter of development, he said, adding that "we are on the path of universal empowerment and the party and government follows it too".

On the BJP's challenges in attracting support of Muslims, Naqvi said that the party is also well aware of this, so instead of running a big campaign to woo the community, it is making contact at personal level.

BJP Minority Morcha national President Jamal Siddiqui said that the Morcha has prepared a list of booths, where more than 70 per cent of voters are Muslims, in all the states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur, and Goa — going to polls.

In these booths, party's Muslim activists will go and spread awareness about welfare schemes run by the state and Central government and their achievements.

Siddiqui claimed that parties like the Congress, the SP, and the BSP "sell lies" to Muslims, but now the saffron party would reach out to the minority community and expose their lies.

For the upcoming Assembly polls, Siddiqui said the party is aiming to add 100 such people to each constituency who are either not very active now or are not directly associated with the party.

On the BJP being blamed for not giving ticket to Muslim candidates, Siddiqui said under a campaign, the Morcha has asked people to come forward to contest polls.

"If you can bloom a lotus on a Muslim majority seat, then you are also welcome to contest elections," Siddiqui said, adding that Morcha is also instructing its Muslim workers and leaders to prepare for contesting elections.

It will be too early to say whether the BJP will succeed in winning Muslim votes or not, but it is determined not leave the field open for the opposition.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
October 23,2021

Washington, Oct 23: Indian-American policy expert Neera Tanden, a close confidant of US President Joe Biden, has been named White House staff secretary, eight months after Republican lawmakers scuttled her nomination to another key post.

Tanden, 51, a senior adviser to President Biden was named White House staff secretary on a morning staff call on Friday, the CNN reported.

The White House staff secretary is a behind-the-scenes but critical role in the West Wing, responsible for managing paper flow to the President from other areas of the administration and federal government. The person filling the job has been viewed as one of the most powerful in the building, it said.

In addition to her new duties, Tanden will keep her senior adviser title "and will continue to provide leadership on particular projects and initiatives," Politico reported, quoting a White House official.

She will report to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, it said.

The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

"The Staff Secretary role is the central nervous system of the White House and moves the decision-making process and manages a wide variety of issues for the President," the White House official said.

Tanden has "over two decades of experience in policy and management which are critical elements of the role. Her experience across domestic, economic and national security policy will be a key asset in this new role," the official said.

Tanden's appointment as White House staff secretary came eight months after she withdrew her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget due to stiff opposition from Republican senators.

In March, she faced a tough time for the confirmation of her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over her past social media outbursts against several lawmakers, including those from her own Democratic Party.

While accepting Tanden's request to withdraw her name from nomination in March, President Biden had said, "I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work."

White House announced in May that Tanden had been appointed as a senior adviser to Biden.

Tanden previously served as a senior adviser for health reforms at the US Department of Health and Human Services. She worked with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of former President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

Before that, Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals.

Tanden also served as policy director for Hillary Clinton's first presidential campaign.

Before the 2008 presidential campaign, Tanden served as legislative director in Clinton's office, and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign.

She began her career as an associate director for domestic policy in former President Bill Clinton's White House, and senior policy adviser to the First Lady.

Tanden holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a law degree from the Yale Law School. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.