Category: Terrorism (Page 1 of 2)

Islamic State claims responsibility for terror attack Kabul airport; death toll at 103.

The Islamic State has officially claimed responsibility for the Kabul airport attack in Afghanistan that killed at least 103 people on Thursday.

Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.

The organisation’s affiliate in Afghanistan known as Islamic State Khorasan Province, had been pointed to as the prime suspect immediately after the blast.

The IS official Amaq news agency said on its Telegram channel that a member called Abdul Rahman al-Logari carried out “the martyrdom operation near Kabul Airport”.

The Pentagon has warned of more terror attacks in Afghanistan after the deadly airport bombing on Thursday in a statement.

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UN chief condemns terrorist blasts near Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

UN chief António Guterres condemned on Thursday the terror attacks around Kabul airport in Afghanistan and expressed his support for both the injured and the families of those who have been killed. 

“He condemns this terrorist attack which killed and injured a number of civilians… He stands in solidarity and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured”, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists.

Mr. Dujarric underscored that it was the responsibility of the de-facto authorities to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including the airport.

According to media reports, suspected suicide bombers struck the Kabul airport gates with at least two explosions, leaving at least 13 people dead, including children.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, also reacted to the terrorist attacks.

“Today’s horrible bomb attack in Kabul, in addition to everything else, should make us all even more determined not to leave the Afghan people alone”, he said on his official twitter account.

Grandi added that now is the time to do more for Afghans at risk and in need, and for those who are displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries, according UN News.

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UN official briefs Security Council: no end to Yemen civil war on the horizon.

No progress has been made by parties in Yemen to reach a political agreement to settle the civil war, which is now in its seventh year, a senior UN official for the Middle East region told the UN Security Council on Monday. 

It is imperative to resume an inclusive, Yemeni-led political process to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict,” said Assistant Secretary-General for Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Khaled Khiari.

Khaled Khiari referred to a 2015 peace plan, which called for a nationwide ceasefire, the reopening of Sana’a airport, the easing of restrictions on fuel and goods flowing through Hudaydah port, and the resumption of face-to-face political negotiations

Mr. Khiari said that the Houthis continue to make the opening of Hudaydah ports and Sana’a airport, as well as on the ending of what they call the “aggression and occupation”, conditions of their renewed participation in the political process.  

Moreover, negotiations facilitated by Saudi Arabia on the Riyadh Agreement – which were focused on the return of the Prime Minister and other ministers to Aden – have yet to resume following the Eid break in July.  

Timely progress on the accord’s implementation remains vital to address the tensions in the south, he explained, according UN News.

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President Joe Biden says he stands behind Afghanistan decision.

President Joe Biden on Monday defended his decision to continue with the U.S. military withdrawal in Afghanistan, blaming the U.S.-backed Afghan government and military for allowing the Taliban to take over.

Joe Biden: “I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me,” he said.

“I am deeply saddened by the facts we now face, but I do not regret my decision.”

Speaking to the American public from the White House, Joe Biden said he stood firmly by his decision and argued that he was faced with a choice to either follow through with the drawdown or escalate the conflict into its third decade and ultimately sacrifice more American lives.

“I stand squarely behind my decision.”

“After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

That’s why we’re still there,” Biden said.

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United Nations chief urges restraint as Taliban reach Kabul, UN Security Council set to meet Monday.

As the crisis in Afghanistan deepens by the hour, with reports that insurgent forces reached the country’s capital, Kabul, earlier on Sunday.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the Taliban and all other parties “to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and ensure that humanitarian can be addressed.”

Mr. Guterres is following with deep concern the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan, as the conflict is forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

There continue to be reports of serious human rights abuses and violations in the communities most affected by the fighting.

“The United Nations remains determined to contribute to a peaceful settlement, promote the human rights of all Afghans, notably women and girls, and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and critical support to civilians in need”.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters this past Friday, the UN Secretary-General stressed that there was still potential for stalled intra-Afghan talks taking place in Doha, Qatar, supported by the region and the wider international community, which could lead to a negotiated settlement.

On Monday, the Secretary-General will address the UN Security Council‘s open meeting on Afghanistan, according UN News.

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UN chief urges Taliban in Afghanistan to halt offensive immediately, negotiate ‘in good faith’.

The UN Secretary-General on Friday called on Taliban militants to “immediately halt” their offensive against government forces and return to the negotiating table in good faith, “in the interest of Afghanistan, and its people.”

António Guterres told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York that humanitarian needs were “growing by the hour” and the country largely spinning out of control.

“Even for a country that has tragically known generations of conflict, Afghanistan is in the throes of yet another chaotic and desperate chapter – an incredible tragedy for its long-suffering people”, he said, noting that more than 1,000 people have been killed or injured from indiscriminate attacks against civilians, notably in Helmand, Kandahar and Herat provinces, in just the past month.

The UN chief said the fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces for control of cities and towns, was “causing tremendous harm. 

At least 241,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes…

Hospitals are overflowing. 

Food and medical supplies are dwindling. 

Roads, bridges, schools, clinics and other critical infrastructure are being destroyed”, he added.

“Continued urban conflict will mean continued carnage” he said, with civilians inevitably paying the highest price.

“I call on all parties to take heed of the conflict’s heavy toll and its devastating impact on civilians. 

They all must do more to protect civilians.”

Holding on for peace

He said there was still potential for stalled intra-Afghan talks taking place in Doha, Qatar, supported by the region and the wider international community, which could lead to a negotiated settlement.

“Only an Afghan-led negotiated political settlement can ensure peace”, he added, declaring that the UN was determined to contribute to a peace deal, “promote the rights of all Afghans and provide life-saving humanitarian help to the ever increasing numbers of civilians in need”, according UN News.

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UN: call for urgent action following ‘alarming’ 80 per cent rise in sexual violence in Somalia.

An “alarming” 80 per cent increase in sexual violence in Somalia, as documented in two recent reports by the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has been described as “appalling” by two UN Special Representatives.

“We urge all parties to the conflict in Somalia to immediately cease these violations”, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten said in a statement. 

The reports (the Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict and the Report of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.) documented that in 2020, 400 civilians, primarily girls, were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

This represented an almost 80 per cent increase compared to 2019.

More than 100 cases of sexual violence against girls were verified by the UN in the first quarter of 2021.

Perpetrators often exploited the vulnerability of displaced girls, targeting them when they left camps to perform domestic chores, the reports noted. 

The report linked sexual violence to the prevailing conditions of insecurity in Somalia.

This was marked by political tensions in the run-up to national elections, inter-communal clashes related to land-based disputes, and a surge in extremist militant group Al-Shabaab’s activities, which intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the temporary suspension of security and judicial services, the pandemic also disrupted access to education and services for survivors.

Cases of sexual violence ​​attributed to Al-Shabaab has doubled, the report found, describing how the Islamist militant group continues to use sexual violence and forced marriage to dominate areas under their de facto control.

Violations carried out by clan militia has also almost tripled over the past year. These have been linked to a proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

In the vast majority of cases, the culprits remain unidentified, which perpetuates the cycle of impunity.

The two senior UN experts also expressed serious concern that over 15 per cent of all cases of sexual violence verified, were attributed to the government security forces.

Both the Somali National Army and the Somali Police Force, as well as regional forces, committed acts of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and children, according UN News.

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UN chief underlines commitment to justice for Iraq’s Yazidi community.

Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the Iraqi authorities to swiftly implement a new law to assist Yazidi survivors of ISIL atrocities, the UN said on Tuesday in a statement marking seven years since the extremist group brutally targeted the religious minority and other communities. 

The Yazidi Survivors Law, adopted in March, recognizes ISIL’s violations against women and girls, and requires the government to compensate them. 

“On this somber anniversary, the United Nations remains fully committed to supporting all efforts to achieve accountability and justice,” said Stéphane Dujarric, the UN Spokesperson

ISIL, also known as Daesh, conducted a genocidal campaign against the Yazidis, who live in northern Iraq

Thousands were subjected to unimaginable violence on account of their identity, including sexual violence, mass executions, forced conversions and other crimes.  Many remain in displacement camps or are still missing.  

“These heinous acts committed by ISIL may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Full accountability of their perpetrators remains essential,” said Mr. Dujarric

Supporting the Iraqi Government’s efforts to ensure accountability and protect human rights remains a UN priority, he added, in accordance with the collective responsibility to protect communities from the most serious crimes under international law. 

“Recognizing the pain and courage of the Yazidis, recovery and rehabilitation remain a priority,” said Mr. Dujarric. 

The Secretary-General therefore commends the recent enactment of the Yazidi Survivors Law by the Government of Iraq and its recognition of the crimes committed by ISIL against the Yazidis and other communities. 

He encourages it`s swift and full implementation”, according UN News.

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Attack on UN mission in Afghanistan draws global condemnation.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned an attack in its main compound in the western Afghan province of Herat on Friday that left an Afghan police guard dead and other officers injured.  

So-called “anti-Government elements” targeted entrances of the clearly marked UN facility with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire just hours after Taliban fighters penetrated Herat city and clashed with Afghan security forces near UNAMA’s provincial headquarters. 

“This attack against the United Nations is deplorable and we condemn it in the strongest terms”, said Deborah Lyons, the UN Special Representative for the country.  

“Our first thoughts are with the family of the officer slain and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured”, she added. 

Secretary-General António Guterres added his strong condemnation and reminded that “attacks against UN personnel and premises are prohibited under international law and may constitute war crimes”.   

In a statement issued through his Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, Mr. Guterres reiterated the UN’s commitment of support to the Government and people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve peace and stability.  

The UN chief also expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and wished the injured a speedy recovery.  

UNAMA reported that no UN staff were hurt in the incident. 

“The perpetrators of this attack must be identified and brought to account”, said Ms. Lyons, who also heads UNAMA. 

The UN’s presence in the country is as a civilian entity focused on supporting peace efforts, promoting the rights of all Afghans and providing humanitarian and development assistance. 

The UN expressed its gratitude to the Afghan Directorate of Protection Services officers who defended the compound from the attackers. 

Multiple UN Member States, and regional organizations on Twitter, added their condemnation of the assault and called for justice.

Herat city is the second provincial capital area that Taliban fighters have entered in the space of 24 hours, according to news reports.

Insurgents entered the capital of the southern province of Helmand a day earlier, and as clashes continue there, civilians are rushing to evacuate the city. 

On Friday, the Taliban assault on the outskirts of Herat, reportedly forced many civilians to flee, according UN News.

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A bomb attack on eve of Eid al-Adha in Iraq, ‘terrorism knows no bounds’.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the “horrific bomb attack targeting civilians” at a busy market in the north-east of the Iraqi capital Al-Sadr City, just before the Eid al-Adha holiday.

Eid al-Adha ‘Festival of the Sacrifice’) is the latter of the two official holidays celebrated within Islam.

Eid al-Adha honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael (in Judaism, Isaac) as an act of obedience to God’s command.

In a statement issued on Monday night, Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that the UN chief called the deadly attack in Baghdad’s Al-Sadr City “a reminder to us all that the scourge of terrorism knows no bounds”. 

At least 30 people were killed and dozens of others wounded when a bomb exploded in the Iraqi capital, according to security sources. 

The device exploded in the Al-Wuhailat market as families prepared for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha on Tuesday. 

Mr. Guterres extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the Government and people of Iraq and wished the injured a speedy recovery. 

“The Secretary-General underlines the need for the perpetrators of this crime to be swiftly brought to justice”, the statement read. 

According UN News the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also lamented the deaths, which included children, and the injuries sustained by those in the blast. 

“This horrific attack right before Eid Al-Adha is a terrible reminder of the violence Iraqi children continue to face”, said the UNICEF Representative in the country, Sheema Sen Gupta. 

“Those children were just preparing for the special days to come with their families”, she added.  

The UN official reminded that children should be protected at all times and grow in a safe environment free from any form of violence. 

“On the eve of Eid Al-Adha and as Iraqis mourn this sad moment, UNICEF calls for all actors in Iraq to work together towards a safer Iraq where children do not have to live in fear and where they enjoy their very basic activities and rights”, she concluded. 

News sources called it the deadliest bombing in Baghdad in six months and reported that the IS terrorist network claimed to be behind the blast, saying one of its members detonated an explosive vest. 

Although the Government declared victory in its war against the jihadist group at the end of 2017, so called “sleeper cells” continue to wage a low-level insurgency in the country. 

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