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Twin Bomb Attacks in Afghanistan’s Kabul Kills 25 , IS Takes Responsibility

Afghanistan has seen a spate of attacks this year. Last week, six people, including two Afghan soldiers, were killed when a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

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At least 25 people, including eight journalists, were killed in a coordinated double suicide bombing in the Afghan capital on Monday, according to government officials. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

A militant on a motorbike carried out the first explosion at 8 a.m. in the Shashdarak area in Police District 9 which houses the offices of Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the Defence Ministry, NATO and a number of foreign embassies, prompting journalists to rush to the scene, the Afghan media reported.

A second explosion took place about 20 minutes later as a second attacker, disguised as a cameraman, detonated explosives at the site of the initial blast, targeting journalists and rescue workers at the scene, said Kabul police chief Daoud Amin.

A militant on a motorbike carried out the first explosion at 8 a.m. in the Shashdarak area in Police District 9 which houses the offices of Afghanistan's intelligence service, the Defence Ministry, NATO and a number of foreign embassies, prompting journalists to rush to the scene, the Afghan media reported.
Kabul Blast, IANS

Eight journalists and four police officers were among the dead, Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish told the BBC. French news agency Agence France Presse confirmed that its photographer Shah Marai was among the dead.

Forty-nine people were injured in the two explosions and were taken to hospitals, Tolo News cited the Interior Ministry as saying.

The Islamic State claimed the bombings in a statement released through its news agency Amaq. The militant group said the intelligence services headquarters had been the target.

Afghan President Asharf Ghani condemned the twin blasts. “Attacks targeting innocent civilians, worshippers inside the mosques, national and democratic processes, reporters and freedom of speech all are war crimes,” according to a statement released by the Presidential Palace.

US Ambassador John Bass tweeted: “I condemn today’s terrible Kabul attack (and) reaffirm our commitment (to) stand with the Afghan people in their fight for peace (and) security across Afghanistan. We mourn for those murdered, including the brave journalists who stand for truth in the face of violence.”

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Afghanistan has seen a spate of attacks this year. Last week, six people, including two Afghan soldiers, were killed when a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

On April 22, an Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing 60 people.

In March, 31 people were killed during the Persian new year celebrations in an Islamic State attack near a Shia shrine in Kabul. (IANS)

 

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Air Trade Corridor Between China And Afghanistan Now Open

In the wake of its increased economic engagement in the region, China recently set up a trilateral foreign ministers' level dialogue with Pakistan and Afghanistan

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Google Maps. VOA

Landlocked Afghanistan has opened its first direct air link with China, dispatching 20 tons of pine nuts on the inaugural cargo flight.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and senior Chinese diplomats attended the special ceremony Monday in Kabul, hoping the air corridor will lead to increased Afghan exports of dry and fresh fruits to Chinese markets and address a massive trade deficit.

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A boy receives polio vaccination drops during an anti-polio campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

 

During the past year, Afghanistan has launched air corridors with India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.

A presidential statement said 20 tons of pine nuts will be exported daily to China until the end of the season this year. Beijing is one of the largest importers of Afghan pine nuts.

Afghan officials estimate the air corridor would enable them to transport 23,000 tons of pine nuts annually to China, earning up to $800 million in revenue.

Ghani described pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and cumin as “the hidden treasures” of Afghanistan, saying the trade corridors would enable the country to utilize its full potential.

Polio, afghanistan
Australia’s Defense Minister Marise Payne (L-R), China’s PLA Lieutenant-General He Lei and Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan listens to U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ address at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2018. VOA

Afghan businessmen and traders expect raw materials, including saffron and semi-precious stones, which are found in Afghanistan, will also be exported to China through the newly opened link.

The Afghan government has been searching for alternate trade routes to reduce dependence on uneasy neighbor Pakistan for international trade. Under a bilateral understanding, Islamabad allows Kabul to use Pakistani land routes and sea ports for international exports.

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But Afghan officials and businessmen say political tensions and border skirmishes often prompt Islamabad to close major border crossings for days, hampering overland Afghan shipments, mostly containing perishable goods.

In the wake of its increased economic engagement in the region, China recently set up a trilateral foreign ministers’ level dialogue with Pakistan and Afghanistan to help ease tensions between the two countries and increase mutual security cooperation to fight regional terrorism. (VOA)