Concerns over attacks on religious scholars
Speaking at a council of ministers meeting in Kabul, Afghan Chief Executive Abdulah Abdullah has expressed concern about a series of apparently targeted attacks on religious scholars and workers. “These attacks point to an organized effort to target religious scholars who have defended the people of Afghanistan and taken a position against terrorism. On this occasion, I would like to appreciate the stances taken by the country’s religious scholars,” Abdullah said. Today, a mini-bus carrying staff from the religious affairs ministry in Kabul was bombed, injuring ten people. On Sunday, a religious scholar, Mawlawi Shabir, was shot dead. On Friday, Mawlawi Raihan, a well-known preacher who spoke out against suicide attacks, was killed when a bomb exploded outside a mosque. Analysts say, clerics who publicly criticize bombers and gun attacks, and describe suicide bombings as haram, are then vulnerable to being murdered by militants.
Criticizing the latest reshuffle in ministries
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, chief executive of Afghanistan’s National Unity Government also criticized President Ghani for not consulting him on the reshuffle in the ministries of telecommunication and energy and water, Tolo TV news reported. Abdullah also criticized the appointments of new ministers for water and energy affairs and communication and telecommunication affairs, adding that it would be difficult for the newly-appointed ministers to familiarise themselves with their duties in four months as elections to elect a new government would be held on 28 September. “Considering the preparations for the upcoming election that is due in four months, it would be difficult for the newly appointed individuals to get themselves familiarised with the job within four months,” Abdullah said. Speaking about the upcoming presidential elections, the chief executive said every effort will be taken to ensure a transparent and fair election. “We have already stated our position on the issue of the elections clearly and once again I reiterate that government facilities and funds should not be used for electoral campaigns,” Abdullah said.
12th-century Afghan minaret saved, for now, after floods
AFP – The minaret of Jam, a revered Afghan historical treasure, has been saved from imminent danger after hundreds of workers diverted surging floodwaters that were gnawing at the 12th-century tower, officials said. Torrential rains last week sent churning water roaring down the narrow valley that is home to the minaret, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in a remote part of the western province of Ghor. Dramatic video footage showed brown torrents crashing up against the base of the brick minaret, which was built in about 1190 and is the pinnacle of a surrounding archaeological site. The Afghan government hired a local crew who worked for three days to channel water away from the minaret. “Now the flow of water has been diverted but the flood has destroyed some 15 meters (50 feet) of protection wall around the minaret,” Abdul Hai Khatebi, a spokesman for the governor of Ghor, told AFP. Fakhruddin Ariapur — the Ghor province director of information and culture — said a team of experts is urgently needed to clean the base of the minaret and construct proper defensive walls. “There is no danger to it now, but if it rains and floods again, the minaret has become too exposed and vulnerable,” he told AFP.