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Civilian deaths in war-torn Afghanistan hit record high: UN

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Kabul, July 15: The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan reached a record in the first half of the year, despite last month’s ceasefire, with a surge in suicide attacks claimed by Islamic State, the United Nations said on Sunday. Deaths rose 1 percent to 1,692, although injuries dropped 5 percent to 3,430, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in its latest civilian casualty report. Overall civilian casualties were down 3 percent.
Hopes that peace may one day be agreed in Afghanistan were raised last month by a three-day truce over the Eid al-Fitr holiday which saw unprecedented scenes of Taliban fighters mingling with security forces in Kabul and other cities.
Afghan officials say security forces battle a group of attackers who stormed a government building in the eastern city of Jalalabad for hours in a coordinated assault that killed at least fifteen people and wounded dozens.
“The brief ceasefire demonstrated that the fighting can be stopped and that Afghan civilians no longer need to bear the brunt of the war,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the senior U.N. official in Afghanistan said in a statement.
But with heavy fighting seen across the country during the first half the year and repeated suicide attacks in Kabul and major provincial cities like Jalalabad, the report underlines the dire security situation facing Afghanistan.
It also pointed to increased activity by Islamic State, reflected in a doubling in casualties in Nangarhar, the eastern province whose capital is Jalalabad, where the militant group has conducted a series of attacks over recent months.
The main causes of casualties were ground engagements between security forces and militants, roadside bombs, as well as suicide and other so-called complex attacks, which caused 22 percent more casualties than in the same period last year.
Hundreds of civilians were killed in attacks on targets as diverse as Shi’ite shrines, offices of government ministries and aid groups, sports events and voter registration stations.
Fifty-two percent of the casualties from suicide and complex attacks were attributed to Islamic State, often known as Daesh, while 40 percent were attributed to the Taliban.
With parliamentary elections scheduled for October, there is concern about more violence as polling day approaches.
The Taliban, fighting to restore their version of strict Islamic law, have rejected President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of peace talks, demanding that foreign forces leave Afghanistan.
Sunday’s report said that the biggest cause of civilian casualties continued to be ground engagements between government forces and militant groups, with 360 deaths and 1,134 wounded.


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State

People of Anantnag will defeat deceptive policies of BJP, PDP, others: Congress

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Srinagar, April 22: Asserting that people of Anantnag will defeat the divisive and wrong policies of Modi and Muftis in present elections, the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) has reiterated its appeal to people to ensure the defeat of deceptive policies on the part of PDP-BJP.

In a statement the Party spokesperson has expressed confidence that people of Anantnag will vote in large numbers against “divisive and wrong policies” adopted by PM Narinder Modi, Muftis and others, who were hell bent upon to divide people for electoral gains, but, at some time, he felt confident that they (people) have realized  how much damage has been caused to Jammu and Kashmir state in every respect by PDP-BJP unholy alliance to serve their vested interests.

Time has come to respond to their opportunist and divisive policies by ensuring their defeat in the elections, as that, will ensure peace and development in the State, Spokesperson said.

 

I would appeal the people of entire Anantnag to cast their vote in favour of Congress Party in large numbers to ensure that Communal, divisive and opportunist forces were defeated miserably.

Both PDP and BJP owe an explanation to people for betraying them and playing with their emotions for the sake of coming into the power, the spokesperson added and said the defeat of PDP-BJP in the present elections will be an appropriate response to their opportunism, exploitation and betrayal, Spokesperson said.

He said Congress Party will not allow PDP, BJP or any other political force to play with the sentiments of people for political mileage and is fully capable to defeat their designs. Congress Party has always taken care of urges and aspirations of the people in all the three regions and is fully committed to ensuring equitable development of J&K.

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Mehbooba hits out at PM over nuclear bombs remark

‘Pakistan has not kept their for Eid either’

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Srinagar, April 22: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing nuclear bombs in the political discourse, saying if India has not kept the nuclear bomb for Diwali, Pakistan has not kept its for Eid.

During a rally in Rajasthan’s Barmer Sunday, Modi had said India is no more afraid of nuclear threats of Pakistan.

“Otherwise every other day Pakistan used to give nuclear threats. What do we have? Have we kept it for ‘Diwali’? (Warna aay din nuclear button hai, ye kehte the. Hamare paas kya hai? Ye diwali ke liye rakha hai kya),” he asserted.

 

Mufti tweeted, “If India hasn’t kept nuclear bomb for Diwali, it’s obvious Pakistan’s not kept theirs for Eid either. Don’t know why PM Modi must stoop so low & reduce political discourse to this.”

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PDP demands more NEET centres in Kashmir

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Srinagar, April 22: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday demanded adequate number of exam centres for NEET aspirants in Kashmir so that the hardships they face by traveling outside Valley are avoided.

In a statement issued to media, PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said that in view of the highway ban, inclement weather, dilapidated condition of national highway and sky rocketing airfares, the NEET aspirants are made to face immense hardships for appearing in the exams.

Hanjura said that keeping in view the predicament being witnessed by the student community at large in Kashmir Valley; it is high time for the Ministry of Human Resource Development to allot more number of NEET exam centres in Kashmir Valley so that without any hindrance Kashmiri students could appear in the exams.

 
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