Afghanistan: Rocket strike on wedding in Helmand kills 28

A rocket fired by the Afghan National Army destroyed a wedding in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan yesterday, killing roughly 28, many of them women and children. Afghan General Sultan Mahmoud said that an early investigation has revealed that artillery fire was placed in the direction of the house from both north and south at a distance of 1.8 miles. This took place in Sangin district, which has always been an extremely contentious zone of conflict since the beginning of the war in 2001.

The attack coincided with an address from President Ashraf Ghani where he welcomes the coming year as this will be the first year that the Afghan National Army takes over the war from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), run by NATO. The tribal leader of the town, Sarwankhalain, Malik Taj Mohammad, presented 35 bodies to the provincial governor Mohmmad Naeem, but AFA sources insist that only 28 people were killed in the rocket strike, with roughly 51 wounded.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteppeDispatch

News Briefs:

  • Ukrainian separatists have carried out new attacks at the turn of the New Year, more evidence that the ceasefire is breaking down again. Military spokesmen reported that mortar and small arms attacks took place outside of Luhansk. It is unclear if this indicates that current negotiations in Luhansk between separatist groups and the government have broken down again, or if these attacks simply were part of one group’s efforts to disrupt those negotiations.
  • The top Chinese official in Xinjiang has been transferred after the area has seen some of the worst violence in decades. Nur Bekri will be replaced by Shohrat Zakir as Vice Communist Party Secretary. Both officials are ethnic Uighurs – and Bekri has been transferred over to become deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, as well as head of the National Energy agency, making him the most powerful ethnic minority member of China’s central government.
  • The United States has sent five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay who have been held for more than a decade for resettlement in Kazakhstan, the latest in a series of prisoner transfers aimed at closing the facility. Three are Yemenis and two are Tunisian, and acceptance of the five followed extensive negotiations with the United States.
  • The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has come into full effect with the passing of 2014, allowing for the free movement of trade, services, and capital throughout Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Other former Soviet Republics like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan have received invitations that are currently under evaluation by their governments. Thus far, the framework only applies to the creation of an economic free trade zone.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s