US military admits murdering 10 Afghan civilians, including 7 children

News Network
September 18, 2021

The US military has admitted killing 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, in a drone strike last month. Washington has previously claimed that those who killed were terrorists.

The Pentagon had maintained the August 29 strike targeted a Daesh-K terrorist who posed an imminent threat to American troops at the Kabul airport, with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley calling it a "righteous strike.”  

But on Friday, General Frank McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, announced at the Pentagon that the military investigation has found it killed 10 civilians and the driver and that the vehicle targeted was not a threat associated with Daesh-K, a shadowy terrorist group that emerged following the last month bomb blast at the Kabul airport.  The attack killed scores of Afghans and over a dozen Americans.

McKenzie told reporters that the US military drone strike was a "mistake" and offered an apology.

"This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology," he said.

McKenzie added that he is "fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome."

Some media outlets had reported that the US drone strike apparently targeted the wrong man, killing an innocent Afghan aid worker along with members of his family, but the top US general described the attack as "righteous".

"At the time of the strike, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport," McKenzie told reporters. "Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake."

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News Network
October 28,2021

Belagavi, Oct 28: A fact-finding report on the coldblooded murder of Arbaz Aftab Mulla in Belagavi has accused the Superintendent of Police (SP) Laxman Nimbargi of trying to shift the blame from the accused Sri Ram Sene (Hindustan) to make the murder look like a contract killing.

Mulla, aged 25, was murdered on September 28 allegedly over his relationship with a Hindu girl. A seven-member team comprising persons from the All India Lawyers' Association for Justice, All India People's Forum and other associations as well as an independent researcher visited Belagavi last month.

It said the targeted violence is the result of years of "deliberate and neatly orchestrated" communal politics dividing the society. Despite the arrest of 10 people on October 8, ten days after the murder, justice remains a long shot.

"Our findings suggest that while the girl's parents might have had a role to play in the murder, the SP's allegation that the girl's parents had hired contract killers could also be a ploy to shift the bulk of the blame from the SRS(H) to the family, thereby making the murder appear to be a contract/supari killing and not a communal honour killing," the report said.

Mulla's mother Najeema Shaikh, a teacher at a local Urdu medium school, told the team that the Hindu girl's mother had threatened that "she was ready to kill or even die" in order to prevent the girl's marriage with mulla.

"While parental objections to a romantic relationship is not unusual, what struck us was the language in which it was articulated," the team said. Expressing concerns over the 'complete invisibilisation' of the voice of the woman with whom Mulla was in a relationship, it said her individual identity has been nullified.

It warned that the 'saffron sphere of influence' in north Karnataka was a grave threat to minorities all over the state and appealed to all citizens to come together to ensure justice for Mulla. It said a broad-based campaign was required to ensure justice to all minority communities and work towards rebuilding social harmony.

"Those we spoke to in Belagavi, unanimously pointed out the systemic impunity of members of organisations like SRS (H) from facing the consequences of crimes committed by them," it said citing allegations that the members of the pro-Hindutva group were given VIP treatment inside the prison.

The report further said thwarted aspirations of integration with Maharashtra have contributed to Hindu nationalism's hold over the region. "This morphing of linguistic politics into religious politics in the region holds important lessons for secular, democratic forces. It shows how the weakness of alternative political frameworks and lack of citizen alertness against Hindu nationalist groups can decisively alter the social and cultural fabric of a nation," it said.

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News Network
October 18,2021

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Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 18: As the death toll in Kerala floods and heavy rainfall reached 35, the Congress-led opposition on Monday accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of not acting on time. However, the government quickly denied the charges.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan, who on Sunday visited the worst-affected areas in Idukki and Kottayam districts, raised questions as to why, despite the IMD warning, the state government failed to act.

"Wish to know why and what happened and it has now proved that the State government failed to act on warnings. We are told it took several hours for the team of government officials to reach certain spots with men and material to do the rescue act. Something has gone wrong and we want answers," said Satheesan.

State Revenue Minister K. Rajan, however, said there has been no wrong on the part of the State government.

"We rely on the reports and act on the basis of the Centre and we have done just that. Strict action will be taken against those who misuse social media when the state is passing through tough times," said Rajan.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is chairing a meeting to discuss the floods and the strategy to be adopted to open dams in the state which are full. The one decision that was taken is that dam shutters will only be opened during the daytime.

On Wednesday, when the Assembly session resumes, the opposition is going to raise the issue in the House.

Meanwhile, around 4,000 people are now lodged at various camps that have been opened in Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts of the state.

The latest weather forecast, which has now come out predicts heavy rains to lash the state starting Wednesday.

It all started with the century's biggest floods in 2018 and since then every year, Kerala has seen heavy rains and flash floods.

This time the worst-affected have been the Kottayam and Idukki districts and though the rains have slowed down since Saturday evening and on Monday morning, authorities have issued an alert in eight of the 14 districts of the state.

However, on Monday in Pathanamthitta district in Central Kerala, things appear not very encouraging.

Meanwhile, social media has also termed the recurring natural disasters as nothing but man-made and numerous trolls have highlighted the statement of noted environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel and in 2013 warned that if Kerala does not stop tampering with the Western Ghats, a huge disaster would be round the corner. 

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News Network
October 27,2021

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Dubai, Oct 27: Matthew Hayden has been impressed by the “sporting brotherhood” on display after Pakistan beat India to break their run of 12 losses in World Cup contests between the arch-rivals.

India captain Virat Kohli embraced Mohammad Rizwan soon after Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket win in the Twenty20 World Cup game on Sunday to start their Super 12 campaign.

Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, now a mentor with the team, smiled as he spoke with Pakistan players including captain Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani soon after the game ended.

“The thing that inspired me the most out of the performance was the fantastic sporting brotherhood,” Hayden, an intensely competitive former Australia opening batsman now working with the Pakistan’s T20 squad, said in a video message from Dubai.

The political tension between the subcontinental neighbours has resulted in the countries avoiding bilateral cricket series since Pakistan visited India in 2012-13 and played a short limited-overs series. However, they compete against each other regularly in the ICC tournaments.

Hayden said the way the Pakistan and Indian players came together was a good example “of how we should treat each other as people.”

 “That’s the role of sport, so it’s beautiful to see those moments where MS Dhoni is holding court with a few of the (Pakistan) players and Virat Kohli and (Rizwan), you know, in brotherhood, joining hands after there was heated battles in the middle.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board appointed Hayden as a batting consultant and South African Vernon Philander as a bowling consultant for the T20 World Cup after head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepped down.

Hayden joined the squad in the UAE, following his stint as a commentator in the Indian Premier League which ended two days before the World Cup began on October 17

Following Pakistan’s record-breaking win, Babar reminded his teammates to stay focused on winning the World Cup instead of getting carried away with the win over India.

“Great humility from our perspective inside the change rooms, not getting carried away too much with the celebrations, but just this great humility, this great sense of spirit and great sense of purpose,” he said.

Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s burst in his opening two overs provided Pakistan with the key wickets of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and helped restrict India to 151-7. Afridi also went on to take the wicket of top-scorer Kohli in his return spell.

For Hayden, it was a prime example of what Pakistan’s pacemen are capable of producing.

“Pakistan has velocity in abundance, not just here but also back home that aren’t celebrating in this World Cup,” he said. “Shaheen really is that one leader within the bowling group ... nothing beats velocity, mixed up with some skill.”

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