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Death toll rises in Afghanistan classroom attack

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  • Suicide bombers attacked Afghan education centre last week
  • United Nations assistance mission in Afghanistan raises death toll to 53.
  • No group has so far claimed responsibility for attack.

KABUL: Forty-six girls and young women were among those killed in a suicide bombing on an Afghan education centre last week, the UN said Monday as it announced the total death toll had risen to 53.

A suicide bomber blew himself up on Friday next to women at a gender-segregated study hall packed with hundreds of students sitting a practice test for university admissions.

The attack happened in a Kabul neighbourhood home to the Shiite Muslim Hazara community, which has been subjected to some of the worst violence in the country’s recent history.

“Our human rights team continues documenting the crime: verifying facts & establishing reliable data to counter denial & revisionism,” the United Nations assistance mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) tweeted.

It raised the death toll from 43 to 53, adding that a further 110 had been wounded.

Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities, which have often tried to play down attacks challenging their regime, have said 25 people were killed and 33 others wounded.

No group has so far claimed responsibility, but the Daesh group has carried out several deadly attacks in the same area targeting girls, schools and mosques.

Education is a flashpoint issue in Afghanistan, with the Taliban blocking many girls from returning to secondary education, while Daesh also stands against the education of women and girls.

The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan last year brought an end to a two-decade war against a Western-backed government, leading to a significant reduction in violence, but security has begun to deteriorate in recent months.

Friday’s attack has triggered sporadic women-led protests in Kabul and some other cities.

Around 50 women chanted: “Stop Hazara genocide, it’s not a crime to be a Shiite”, as they marched on Saturday in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood where the attack happened.

The rallies have been dispersed by Taliban forces often firing shots into the air and beating protesters.

Afghanistan’s Hazaras have regularly faced attacks in the majority Sunni Muslim country.

They have been persecuted for decades, targeted by the Taliban during their insurgency against the former US-backed government as well as by Daesh.

In May last year, before the Taliban’s return to power, at least 85 people — mainly girls — were killed and about 300 were wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in Dasht-e-Barchi.

Again, no group claimed responsibility, but a year earlier Daesh claimed a suicide attack on an educational centre in the same area that killed 24.

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Pakistan

Terrorist who martyred two ISI officials in Khanewal gunned down in IBO

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  • Terrorist was at large after killing security officials.
  • Security forces conduct joint operation to nab militant.
  • Niazi succumbs to injuries after being injured in fire exchange.

A terrorist who martyred Naveed Sadiq and Nasir Hussain — the director and inspector of the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) Counter-Terrorism Wing — was gunned down by law enforcement agencies on Monday in an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Kurram Agency.

The slain terrorist, identified as Umar Niazi, was at large after he martyred the two ISI officials on January 3.

The security agencies arrested the terrorist with serious injuries following an exchange of fire. Niazi succumbed to his injuries after a while.

Intelligence agencies nabbed the terrorist before he could slip into Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, the terrorist martyred ISI officials Sadiq and Hussain when they were at a local hotel in Khanewal, Punjab.

Sadiq, meanwhile, was martyred in Khanewal at a time when he was on a mission to take down the network of a banned outfit operating from Afghanistan.

South Punjab Additional Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Sahabzada Shahzad Sultan said the perpetrators were on a motorcycle.

Both officials were posthumously awarded the Hilal-e-Shujaat and Tamgha-e-Shujaat.

Sadiq, who headed the ISI’s CTD wing, was awarded the Sitara-e-Shujaat on March 23, 2021, in recognition of his bravery and courage against anti-national elements.

He joined the police force as a sub-inspector in 2002. After appearing for a high-level exam in 2009, he was appointed to the ISI, the premier intelligence agency, as the assistant director.

During his tenure, the spy agency official exposed key networks of banned outfits. After months of efforts, he gained access to the high command of Daesh. He also neutralised the terrorists after raiding and finding their ambush site in Faisalabad.

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Pakistan

Islamabad court decides to indict Imran Khan in Toshakhana case

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ISLAMABAD: A local court in Islamabad has decided to indict Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.

The court has set February 7 as the date for the indictment of the PTI chairman. 

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Pakistan

Blast in Balochistan’s Kachhi leaves one injured

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  • Blast takes place in Kachhi district.
  • Police say explosives were placed on roadside.
  • Balochistan under constant terror attacks recently.

In yet another terror incident in the restive province of Balochistan, at least one person was injured after an explosion took place in the Kachhi district of the province, police said on Monday. 

The police told media persons that the explosives were placed on a roadside.

Balochistan has been under constant terror attacks recently with several incidents taking place in the province. 

Bolan incident

Recently, at least 18 people were injured after a remote-control bomb detonated on a railway track in Bolan, forcing the train’s engine and seven carriages off the track.

Railway authorities said that the injured had been shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Sibi.

The Jaffer Express train was travelling from Machh to Sibi, when the blast occurred, local authorities said.

“A relief train was dispatched from Sibi to rescue passengers of the train and bring them to Sibi safely. Passengers on the Jaffer Express coming from Peshawar to Machh were stopped at Sibi and are now being brought to Quetta via buses,” they added.

According to Deputy Commissioner Kachhi Agha Samiullah, the blast was carried out by a remote-control device.

On the other hand, the carriages of the derailed train are being lifted from the railway track.

Terror attacks

In the annual report issued by the Centre for Research & Security Studies (CRSS), Balochistan suffered from 110 attacks last year, becoming the second most vulnerable province in the country.

Over 250 people lost their lives in terrorist attacks and counter-attacks, whereas over 200 sustained serious injuries in the province.

The last month of the year witnessed over two dozen attacks in quick succession, and that became one-fourth of the total fatalities that occurred in Balochistan, a province which has just 6% of the country’s population.

According to reports, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA), the terrorist organisations, are mainly involved in terror incidents in the area-wise largest province of the country. In Balochistan, at least 14 major attacks took place mostly on security forces targets.

Security forces remained the primary target of terrorist attacks in the province.

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