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Terror Strikes Again: 61 killed in suicide Bomb Attack in Kabul

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the violence as the work of “terrorists and opportunists”, saying the government put in place measures to provide security for the protesters

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Afghans gather property, left behind by victims of a deadly explosion that struck a protest march by ethnic Hazaras, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 23, 2016. Image source: AP
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  • The attack occurred as thousands of ethnic Hazaras marched through the streets to demand a planned power line be rerouted through their poverty-stricken central province of Bamiyan
  • Spokesman Mohammad Ismail Kawasi told that 207 others were wounded in the blast
  • Authorities had blocked main roads ahead of the rally to prevent protesters from reaching the city’s centre or the presidential palace

A powerful bomb ripped through a mass protest rally on Saturday, July 23, in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and the country’s health ministry spokesman said at least 61 people were killed.

Spokesman Mohammad Ismail Kawasi told VOA that 207 others were wounded in the blast.

The attack occurred as thousands of ethnic Hazaras marched through the streets to demand a planned power line be rerouted through their poverty-stricken central province of Bamiyan.

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Witnesses and journalists reported seeing bodies of victims at the scene of the blast, which appeared to have been carried out by a suicide bomber. Afghan officials say the death toll is likely to rise.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Authorities had blocked main roads ahead of the rally to prevent protesters from reaching the city’s centre or the presidential palace. The measures severely restricted movement, forcing shops and businesses to close. It also hampered the ability of rescue workers to reach victims of the attack.

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President Ashraf Ghani condemned the violence as the work of “terrorists and opportunists”, saying the government put in place measures to provide security for the protesters.

“But terrorists entered the protests, and carried out explosions that martyred and wounded a number of citizens including members of security and defence forces,” he said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility. A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, says the Islamist insurgency has nothing to do with the attack.

The Amnesty International said “the horrific” attack on a peaceful protest demonstrated “the utter disregard that armed groups have for human life.”

In May, the Hazara community organised a similar mass demonstration against the current route of the multi-million-dollar regional electricity line involving Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The original plan was to route the so-called TUTAP line through Bamiyan, a mostly Hazara region. (VOA)

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Trump Launched A New Attack On Mueller Probe In Russia

Democrats also took note of the report

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President Donald Trump walks to an interview on the North Lawn of the White House, Friday, June 15, 2018, in Washington.
President Donald Trump walks to an interview on the North Lawn of the White House, Friday, June 15, 2018, in Washington. VOA

Outside the White House Friday, a media frenzy.

And at the center of it all, President Donald Trump.

“Can we do one question at a time? Wait! One question at a time,” the president scolded reporters.

Trump launched a new attack on the Russia probe in the wake of a critical report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Justice.

“I did nothing wrong. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction,” he said. “The IG (inspector general) report yesterday went a long way to show that, and I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.”

But the report in question only dealt with how the FBI handled the Clinton email controversy.

It was critical of the man Trump fired as FBI director, James Comey, but rejected the notion of a politically-directed effort aimed at Trump.

“This report did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations actually impacting the investigation under review,” announced current FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Democrats also took note of the report.

“Anyone who is hoping to use this report to undermine the Mueller probe or prove the existence of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy against President Trump will be sorely disappointed,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said.

During his lengthy encounter with reporters Friday, Trump also defended his recent summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Former FBI Director James Comey begins book tour in support of new memoir 'A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership', published by Flatiron Books yesterday.
Former FBI Director James Comey begins book tour in support of new memoir ‘A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership’, published by Flatiron Books yesterday. VOA

“They are doing so much for us, and now we are well on our way to get denuclearization,” he said. “And the agreement says there will be total denuclearization. Nobody wants to report that. I got along with him great. We have a great chemistry together. That is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Trump also lashed out at opposition Democrats and tried to blame them for recent administration actions to separate family members caught trying to come across the U.S. border.

“The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children,” Trump said.

A host of Democrats on Capitol Hill blasted the president’s comments, including Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.

“There are no substantive defenses, no policy defenses, to their current actions separating families and taking children away from their mothers and fathers at the border. It just is another indication that they cannot govern,” she said.

Also read: North Korean Defectors Feeling Betrayed By Trump

Trump’s relatively lengthy encounter with the media Friday was unusual for a president who tends to favor appearances on Fox News Channel and who generally takes only a few questions at news conferences. (VOA)