News

Suicide Bombing Kills Senior Afghan Intelligence Official

Multimedia

Audio

A powerful suicide bomb in Afghanistan has killed the country's deputy chief of the national spy agency and 22 others. Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. The violence comes as the United Nations has reported a significant decline in opium cultivation in the country. The illegal narcotics trade is said to be a major cause of instability in Afghanistan and is believed to be funding Taliban insurgency.

The suicide bombing took place in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman. Authorities say that deputy chief of the country's powerful National Directorate for Security, Abdullah Laghmani, and other senior officials were leaving the main mosque in the provincial capital Mehtar Lam, when a suicide bomber hit them.

Provincial Governor Lutfullah Mashal says most of the deaths occurred instantly and several top provincial officials were among those killed.

The governor says that 18 civilians were also killed in the attack while 35 people were wounded who are being treated in hospitals in Laghman and in the city of Jalalabad.

Taliban insurgents immediately claimed responsibility, saying the deputy chief of the spy agency was their target. President Hamid Karzai has condemned the deadly attack such a "vicious act" of terrorists.

Taliban insurgents have launched frequent and deadly attacks on local as well foreign troops in Afghanistan this year. The violence has left hundreds of people dead. However, observers say Wednesday's assault on a top official of the country's spy agency underscored the Taliban's increasing ability to carry out targeted attacks.

The violence comes as vote counting is still continuing after last month's presidential election in Afghanistan with partial results putting President Karzai in the lead amid widespread allegations of rigging by his main rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has announced a sharp decline this year in opium production in Afghanistan, which produces 90 percent of the world's crop.

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul Wednesday, UN's Antonio Maria Costa, citied effective anti-drugs campaign, programs to replace opium poppies with legal crops and lower international prices for the reduction in opium cultivation.

"Prices are very low and that has created a disincentive to farmers while production of licit crops, thanks to their much higher price of corn and wheat and cereals in general, have changed the trends of trade," he said. "Lower incentive for opium and higher incentive for licit crops all of this has caused a voluntary shift by farmers out of opium into licit crops."

The biggest drop in the opium crop, he says, was witnessed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of the country's total production of the drug. The region is a known Taliban stronghold, where U.S-led coalition forces have conducted major anti-insurgency operations this year.

U.N.'s Antonio Costa acknowledged the Taliban insurgents particularly in southern provinces of Afghanistan are benefiting from the drugs income.

"The very large amount still of opium produced by farmers and income derived by farmers generates a very significant amount of money to those who control the territory, and these are the Taliban in the south," he said.

In its latest findings, the United Nations has now declared 20 of Afghanistan's provinces as poppy-free and has called on the international community to sustain the progress.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs