Sunday, January 15, 2017

Roadside Bomb Kills at Least 7 Civilians in Eastern Afghanistan 

Officials in Afghanistan say that at least seven civilians were killed and two wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in an eastern troubled border region.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said Sunday the early morning blast took place in the Bargholi village of the Nangarhar province, which shares a border with Pakistan.

The ministry condemned the deadly violence as an “unforgivable and shameful” act of “enemies of peace and stability” in Afghanistan, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

No group claims responsibility

It was not immediately clear who planted the bomb in an Afghan region where the anti-government Taliban actively conducts insurgent activities.

Extremists linked to Islamic State, locally known as Daesh, have also established bases in several remote districts of Nangarhar and have regularly carried out atrocities against civilians, according to Afghan and American military officials.

They say many former members of the anti-state Pakistani Taliban militants filled IS ranks in Afghanistan after fleeing military operations in the neighboring country.

Peace negotiator dismissed

Meanwhile, the Afghan government has dismissed one of its senior peace negotiators for making controversial remarks in favor of the Taliban, which sparked nationwide condemnation and calls for the official’s immediate removal.

Abdul Haim Mujahid of the Afghan High Peace Council, which is tasked with promoting peace and reconciliation with anti-government armed groups, in a recent statement referred to the Taliban as “angels of peace.”

An official statement, while condemning the remarks and ordering Mujahid’s removal from the Council, vowed not to allow anyone to praise those “who are killing innocent Afghan men, women and children, and destroying property.”

Mujahid served as ambassador to the United Nations when the Taliban was in control of Afghanistan before the U.S.-led military invasion removed the Islamist group from power in late 2001. He later abandoned the Taliban and joined the Afghan mainstream politics.

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