At the onset of campaigning for the upcoming second round of elections, Yamgan district of Badakhshan has been occupied by armed opposition forces.
Fazludin Ayar, Badakhshan security commander said, “Due to inclement weather conditions in the area, security forces have been unable to regain the territory and have temporarily halted the assault.”
Operations to free the district from the clutches of the insurgents would again commence once the heavy rains have abated, added Ayar.
He also mentioned that 17 insurgents had been killed during the first 3 days of armed conflict that ensued.
Yamgan district is considered an insecure area in Badakhshan, which could negatively impact other areas of the province.
Iran’s Raisi slams normalization with Israel as ‘reactionary and regressive’
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi denounced Sunday any attempts by regional countries to normalize relations with its arch-enemy Israel as “reactionary and regressive.”
The remarks came amid ongoing U.S.-brokered negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia to establish formal ties, with the United States saying Friday that the two countries are moving toward the outline of a deal, AFP reported.
“Normalizing relations with the Zionist regime is a reactionary and regressive move by any government in the Islamic world,” Raisi said during an international Islamic conference held in Tehran.
An Israeli delegation is expected to arrive Sunday in Saudi Arabia, days after the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia also sent a delegation Wednesday to the occupied West Bank for the first time in three decades in a bid to reassure the Palestinians ahead of the prospective deal.
Raisi on Sunday further labelled any normalization attempt as the “foreigners’ desire,” while stating that “surrender and compromise” regarding Israel were not on the table.
“The only option for all the fighters in the occupied land and the Islamic world is to resist and stand against the enemies,” he said, reiterating Iran’s position that Jerusalem must be “liberated.”
In 1967 Israel occupied and then annexed east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as the future capital of their proposed state.
An agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would follow the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords which saw Israel establish diplomatic relations in 2020 with three Arab countries.
Last month, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Raisi said any “relationships between regional countries and the Zionist regime would be a stab in the back of the Palestinians.”
Shiite-dominated Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia, two regional powerhouses, resumed relations, severed since 2016, under a China-brokered deal announced in March.
Death toll from Pakistan blast rises to 59 as minister blames India
The death toll from a large blast at a mosque in Pakistan rose to 59 on Saturday as the government vowed to find the perpetrators and accused India’s intelligence agency of being involved.
Friday’s blast tore through a mosque in Mastung in the southern province of Balochistan after a bomber detonated his explosives near a police vehicle where people were gathering for a procession to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, Reuters reported.
Pakistani officials have long claimed that India sponsors violent groups in Pakistan – claims India has always denied.
“Civil, military and all other institutions will jointly strike against the elements involved in the Mastung suicide bombing,” interior minister Sarfaraz Bugti told media in Balochistan’s capital, Quetta.
“RAW is involved in the suicide attack,” he added, referring to India’s Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence agency. He did not provide details or evidence on the alleged involvement.
India’s foreign ministry and a government spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Wasim Baig, the spokesman for Balochistan’s health department, said seven more people had died in hospital since Friday, which had caused the rise in the death toll, adding that more patients remained in critical condition.
A second attack on Friday at a mosque in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had killed at least 5 people. Police on Saturday filed a report to launch an investigation, saying they had sent DNA from the suicide bomb attacker to be analysed.
No group has claimed responsibility for either attack. A surge in militant attacks in Pakistan’s western provinces has cast a shadow on election preparations and public campaigning in the run-up to January’s national vote, but until now the attacks had mostly targeted security forces.
The Pakistani Taliban (TTP), responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan since the group’s formation in 2007, denied responsibility for Friday’s blasts.
Suicide blast in southwest Pakistan kills at least 52 people
A suicide bombing in Pakistan killed at least 52 people and injured more than 50 on Friday at a religious gathering to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammed in a restive province bordering Afghanistan, health officials and police said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts which come amid a surge in attacks by militant groups in Pakistan, raising the stakes for security forces ahead of national elections scheduled for January next year.
Hours after the suicide blast in Balochistan province, another blast ripped through a mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which also borders Afghanistan, officials said, killing at least two people.
The mosque’s roof collapsed in the blast, local broadcaster Geo News reported, adding that about 30 to 40 people were trapped under the rubble.
Pakistan has seen a resurgence of attacks by Islamist militants since last year when a ceasefire broke down between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of various hardline Sunni Islamist groups.
The TTP, which has carried out some of the bloodiest attacks inside Pakistan since its formation in 2007, denied that it had carried out Friday’s attack in Balochistan.
At least 58 people were wounded in the Balochistan blast, said Abdul Rasheed, a district health official, adding that the toll could rise as many people were in a serious condition.
Television footage of the attack’s aftermath showed hundreds of people helping the injured into ambulances.
“The bomber detonated himself near the vehicle of the Deputy Superintendent of Police,” Munir Ahmed, the deputy inspector general of police, told Reuters.
In July, more than 40 people were killed in a suicide bombing in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province at a religious political party’s gathering.
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