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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Powerful Bomb in Northwest Pakistan Kills 22, Wounds Dozens

ISLAMABAD � Officials in Pakistan say a powerful bomb Friday ripped through a busy market in a northwestern tribal town on the Afghan border, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 50 others.

Witnesses and local politicians say the blast in Parachinar, the administrative center of the semi-autonomous Kurram tribal district, occurred near an entrance to a Shi'ite mosque dedicated for female worshipers.

It is not clear if the car bomb was set off by remote control, or a suicide bomber carried out the attack.

Jamaatul Ahrar, a militant group fighting along side the anti-state Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing. The group has taken credit for most of militant attacks across the country this year in which scores of people have died.

Death toll could rise

Many people have been seriously wounded and residents fear the death toll will rise.

Military helicopters have been sent to the remote tribal area for speedy evacuation of victims, said an army statement.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and reiterated Pakistan's unflinching resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country.

''The network of terrorists has already been broken and it is our national duty to continue this war until the complete annihilation of the scourge of terrorism from our soil, an official statement quoted Sharif as saying.

U.S. ambassador to Pakistan David Hale also denounced the bombing. The United States will continue to work in partnership with Pakistan to dismantle and destroy terrorist networks, Hale vowed.

Deadly January attack

A suicide blast in Parachinar in January killed at least 23 people and wounded more than 50 others.

Kurram is one of Pakistan's seven federally administered tribal districts, mostly lining the porous border with Afghanistan.

The tribal belt is traditionally notorious for harboring militants engaged in violent attacks in both countries.

Notorious tribal districts

One of the tribal districts � North Waziristan � was until recently condemned by American military commanders as the epicenter of international terrorism.

The region has for years served as a training ground for Taliban and militants linked to the Haqqani network waging insurgency in Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities, however, say recent sustained counterterrorism military operations have secured most of the border region.

Islamabad alleges that militants linked to the anti-state Pakistani Taliban have fled and taken shelter in Afghan border areas and are plotting attacks in the country from there.

Pakistan has lately stepped up efforts to strengthen security along the nearly 2,600-kilometer largely porous Afghan border, including building a fence in areas vulnerable to militant infiltration.

Friday's bombing happened on a day when President Mamnoon Hussain signed a bill into law reinstating controversial military courts in the country for two years, after a lapse of two months.

A wave of suicide bombings last month killed scores of Pakistanis and prompted the government earlier this week to move the parliament to approve revival of the courts.

Officials insist the courts are required to speedily try and punish suspects in terrorism-related cases to deter militancy in Pakistan. The special tribunals were first introduced for two years in January 2015.

Human rights groups have opposed the military courts from the outset and condemned their reinstatement, saying they fail to provide transparent justice and violate the suspects' legal rights, unlike civilian courts.

Source: Voice of America

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Afghan Official: Taliban Reportedly Seeking Russian Aid to Take on IS

WASHINGTON � The Taliban in northern Afghanistan is seeking Russian assistance to build up its fight against Islamic State-backed militants along the country's border with the former Soviet Union, an Afghan official told VOA.

The governor of the strategic northeastern Kunduz province said Thursday the Taliban is asking Moscow for weapons and training to counter the expanding influence of IS groups in various parts of the country.

They [Taliban] are now opposing the Islamic State group and are attempting to convince Russia into extending a helping hand to them, Kunduz Governor Assadullah Omarkhail told VOA's Afghan service on Thursday.

Several militant groups are active in the restive Kunduz province, which borders Tajikistan, a breeding ground for IS sympathizers who have by the thousands gone to fight with IS in Syria and Iraq. Recently, a Tajik militia pledged allegiance to IS, spurring fears IS influence may expand into northern Afghanistan.

Kunduz remains a hot spot

Kunduz, the capital city of the province, briefly fell to the Taliban two years ago. Last year, Taliban militants came close to capturing the city again before Afghan forces pushed them back.

The Taliban reportedly has recently amassed fighters in Kunduz's Imam Saheb district, bordering Tajikistan.

The Taliban has about 650 fighters, most of whom are local residents, in the district and they have been deployed in 45 groups, district governor Imamuddin Quraishi told VOA.

According to Quraishi, Taliban fighters are equipped with heavy weapons, and they train in areas along the border with Tajikistan.

They [Taliban] control the Zangla area near the Tajikistan border where they train terrorists, said Quraishi.

Local Taliban leaders in Kunduz reportedly have met with Russian advisors across the Amu River in Tajikistan, according to Afghan media reports.

Taliban's connections with Russia came under the spotlight last year as Moscow sought to increase its influence in the nation it once occupied, and to counter IS expansion from Afghanistan to neighboring Central Asian countries.

Russia has acknowledged ties with the Taliban as it views Taliban help as essential in fighting the spillover effects of the IS insurgency in Afghanistan.

Russian officials say Moscow is not supplying Taliban militants with arms and training, though, asserting their contacts with the Taliban are aimed at diplomatically facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan.

Troubling talks

Afghan and American officials are increasingly wary, however, of the deepening ties between Russia and the Taliban that is fighting to topple the government in Kabul. Such an involvement on Russia's part, they say, could complicate an already precarious security situation in the country.

I believe what Russia is attempting to do is they are attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world, U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel told House lawmakers on Wednesday.

I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban], in terms of weapons or other things that may be there, Votel said.

According to Wahid Muzhda, a Kabul-based Taliban expert, Moscow has provided the Taliban with a well-equipped mobile clinic, along with a large supply of medicine to treat injured Taliban fighters in the southern Helmand province, where Afghan forces are engaged in heavy battles with Taliban.

A Taliban delegation from its political office in Qatar recently told officials in Moscow the Taliban wanted anti-aircraft missiles, according to Muzhda.

As Moscow's concerns grow that IS is expanding to Central Asia, Taliban is a willing ally, Muzhda said.

Taliban have been fighting IS in Afghanistan and that has brought the group closer to Russia, said Muzhda. The Taliban have killed several IS-linked, anti-Russia Uzbek fighters in Afghanistan.

While opposed to Taliban insurgency � Taliban controls some 33 of the country's 407 districts � Kabul and the U.S. reject notions that Taliban are fighting IS in Afghanistan.

This idea that Taliban and Daesh [IS] are opposed to each other is wrong, Afghanistan national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar told Indian media this month. It's actually the morphing and mutating of Taliban into Daesh. They are the same people, but there is a lot of re-branding here.

Taliban claims discounted

U.S. military officials say Afghan forces � and not Taliban � are battling IS.

The Taliban is not fighting ISIS-K, U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, spokesperson for Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, told VOA last week. It is the Afghan security forces that are taking the fight to ISIS-K and we are working with our Afghan partners in order to make sure that we continue to keep the pressure on these terrorists groups.

IS's self-styled Khorasan Province branch (ISIS-K) has taken root in mountainous areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, increasing its recruiting efforts and terror attacks nationwide. Its name refers to a centuries-old description of Afghanistan and surrounding areas of Central Asia and Persia.

IS has been active in eastern Afghanistan for the past two years. It recently has expanded to northern Jouzjan province. Its activities in Kunduz, however, are harder to detect, experts say.

Source: Voice of America

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‫چین کے شمال مشرقی قدیم صنعتی مرکز کی حیات نو کو مستحکم کرنے کے لیے چانگچن کی معیشت میں رواں سال عمدہ آغاز کا مظاہرہ

چانگچن، چین، 28 مارچ 2017 / سن ہوا – ایشیانیٹ/– چین کے شمال مشرقی قدیم صنعتی مقامات میں سے ایک اور چین کے آٹو سٹی کے طور پر مشہور جیلن چانگچن نے رواں سال اپنی متنوع اقتصادی ترقی کے ذریعے ایک اچھا آغاز ملاحظہ کیا ہے۔ جنوری سے فروری تک شہر کے مقرر اثاثہ جات […]

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Changchun’s economy this year witnessed a good start to consolidate the revitalization of China’s Northeast old industrial base

CHANGCHUN, China, Mar. 28, 2017/Xinhua-AsiaNet/– Well-known as the Auto City of China and one of China’s Northeast old industrial bases, Jilin Changchun witnessed a good start supported by its diversified economic development this year. From January to February, the city’s fixed asset investment grew by 30.3%, the total industrial output value above scale increased by […]

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