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Air strikes at Kabul hospital claim 22 lives

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Kabul:  Air strikes on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) run hospital on Sunday in Afghanistan’s Kunduz city left 22 dead besides injuring several people.

“The hospital was full of MSF staff, patients and their care-takers. It is 12 MSF staff members and 10 patients, including three children, who were killed in the attack,” said a MSF statement.

The air raid struck the hospital early Saturday. The US forces in Afghanistan which support Afghan forces in the war on Taliban militants and terrorists, said an investigation has been initiated into the case, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body. Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient,” the statement said.

Following the air strikes, the aid agency has stopped functioning and evacuated all its international staff.

In a surprise attack, Taliban militants captured major parts of Kunduz city last Monday. Government forces have launched a counter-offensive and so far, according to Kunduz police, hundreds of Taliban militants have been killed.

(With inputs from 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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afghanistan and china
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.

Polio, afghanistan
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.

Also Read: Knowledge To Restrict Internet Worldwide Exported By China: Report

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)