Afghanistan – Worst Car Bombing Since 2001 Kills 89

Southeastern Afghanistan was shaken yesterday by a car bomb which struck a market in Paktika Province, obliterating more than twenty shops, killing at least 89 and wounding approximately 40 others. The attack, which took place in the Orgun district of Paktika, does not appear to have been targeted in the same way as recent car bombings in Kabul were, and are yet to have been claimed by any single organization, though it is suspected that the Taliban were behind the bombing, despite their own efforts to distance themselves from the attack. The attack was carried out in close proximity to the Pakistani province of Waziristan, a known Taliban stronghold, and the place where known Taliban leader Adnan Rasheed was recently detained.

The attack comes at a particularly sensitive time in Afghan history, as the country attempts to put its own presidential election back on the rails following a major fallout between Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the two principal Afghan presidential candidates. On the heels of a visit from American Secretary of State John Kerry, the two candidates agreed to a complete audit of the vote, though subsequent action has yet to be taken. Afghanistan’s incumbent President Hamid Karzai was quick to condemn the attack in Paktika, the worst of its kind since 2001, and has vowed vengeance against the perpetrators of the attack.

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News Briefs: 

  • The Asian Development Bank has officially green lighted a plan that will see the bank dedicate $300 million to an Uzbek thermal power plant that had previously been in danger of being shut down due to lack of maintenance. The plant, which has become vital to Uzbekistan’s rapidly growing economy and human population, will be supplemented by two new “energy-efficient combined-cycle gas turbines,” each of which will be capable of producing up to 280 megawatts each. The grant will also provide for improved training and miscellaneous support for the power plant.
  • China and Kazakhstan are exploring overland transportation options that would link the two countries.  Seniors officials representing Emirati transportation and shipping giant KTZ Express recently met with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov to provide an overview of the transportation behemoth’s work in the country, as well as discuss the possibility of an overland route which would reduce transit time to 15 days, a 30 day improvement on the status quo.
  • The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization recently reported on continued Chinese religious oppression in China’s Xinjiang province. The report details China’s efforts to obligate students throughout the region to break traditional Ramadan fasts and forego religious traditions. Students in the region have reported on Chinese force feeding of students in order to break their fasts, and have complained of constant surveillance during the daytime by professors who make it a requisite for them to eat during mealtimes.
  • Turkmen Ambassador Berdumurat Recepov said yesterday that Turkmenistan considered Russia a strategic partner but was not planning to join the EEU (the joint economic union currently in place between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow said that the trade relationship is very important, but that at the present time Turkmenistan had to focus on bilateral relations within the CIS diplomatic framework. The Ambassador further noted that he appreciated Russia’s support in the UN, OSCE, and other international organizations, and this news is sure to be a blow to the promises made on development of the EEU as  a major economic bloc of world power.
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