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Afghan Officials Tighten Kabul Security After Series Of Attacks

Afghan authorities in Kabul are increasing security in the area of the capital that houses foreign embassies and government offices after a series of attacks killed hundreds of people in the city and across the country. Salem Ehsaas, acting police chief of Kabul, told Reuters on August 6 that our priority is the diplomatic area” in the new security plan for the center of the city.

“The highest threat level is in this area, and so we need to provide a better security here,” he said. United Nations figures show that 209 civilians have been killed and 777 injured in suicide and other attacks, mostly blamed on the Taliban, in the first half of the year in the Afghan capital.

Among the larger attacks, a massive truck bomb blast in Kabul s diplomatic sector on May 31 killed about 150 people and wounded around 400 others, mostly civilians. On July 24, a Taliban suicide car bomb killed at least 26 people and wounded 41 others in the western part of the city. Outside of the capital, up to 50 people, including women and children, were killed after Taliban militants seized control of a village the Sayad district of the northern province of Sari Pu on August 5.

Underscoring concerns in the capital, Afghan intelligence officials said on August 6 they had seized a truck in Kabul carrying more than 16 tons of explosives hidden in boxes marked as poultry feed.

“It was loaded with explosives to make bombs, suicide vests . and conduct terrorist activities in Kabul,” the National Directorate of Security said. Included in the new security will 27 permanent checkpoints along the 42 roads through the diplomatic zone.

They will be supported by mobile explosives scanners, sniffer dogs, and security cameras. Trucks arriving in the city will be checked by scanners at four of the eight main entry points . The other four sites will get scanners at a later date, officials said.

Officials estimated that the measures will be fully in place within six months.

With reporting by Reuters and ToloNews

Bahrain uncovers Iran-linked militant group behind attacks on security

DUBAI Bahrain said on Saturday it had uncovered a 54-member Iranian-linked militant group suspected of involvement in attacks on security forces, including organising a prison break in January, and seized automatic weapons.

It was one of the biggest security operations against suspected militants Bahrain blames for an increase in armed attacks on security forces in the Western-allied kingdom, where the U.S . Fifth Fleet is based.

Tensions have been rising in the kingdom since last year after authorities stepped up a crackdown on dissent, banning the main opposition group al-Wefaq, arresting a leading activist and critic of the government and revoking the citizenship of the spiritual leader of the country’s majority Shi’ites.

State news agency BNA on Saturday quoted the chief prosecutor Ahmed al-Hammadi as saying that security forces have arrested 25 members and seized 11 pistols and Kalashnikov rifles in a series of operations, including an attempted arms smuggling in December.

Hammadi also said that an investigation into the January prison break revealed that a Germany-based leader of the group had helped organise trips for members from Bahrain to Iran and Iraq for training, according to BNA.

“The investigation revealed that .. . several members (were sent) to Iran and Iraq to train on the use of explosives and automatic weapons in (Iranian) Revolutionary Guards camps to prepare them to carry out terrorist acts inside the country,” Hammadi said, according to BNA.

The group was suspected of involvement in six armed attacks, including the Jan .

1 assault on Jau prison that resulted in the death of one policeman and the escape of 10 convicted inmates and the stealing of weapons, the report said.

Members of the group also killed an officer at his farm in Bilad al-Qadeem on Jan .

28, and organised an attempt to smuggle the escaped Jau prison inmates abroad in February . Authorities said at the time that security forces killed three men and captured seven during a gun battle at sea as they tried to flee to Iran.

Bahrain in February executed three men convicted in the death of three policemen, including an Emirati officer, in a 2014 bomb attack.

Bahrain frequently accuses Iran, a Shi’ite theocracy, of being behind bomb attacks targeting security services and fomenting Shi’ite protests . Iran denies interfering in Bahrain, although it acknowledges support for opposition groups seeking greater rights for Bahrain’s Shi’ites.

The Shi’ite community led Arab Spring protests in 2011 that were put down by the government with help from neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of mainly Shi’ite Muslim Bahrainis are in jail on charges ranging from participating in anti-government protests to armed attacks on security forces.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

Donald Trump ‘wasn’t briefed’ on Executive Order he signed appointing Steve Bannon to National Security Council

Donald Trump was not briefed on an Executive Order he signed placing an ex-far right website owner on America s National Security Council. The President is reportedly fuming because he wasn t told the piece of paper he signed would put Steve Bannon on the crucial committee. According to the New York Times, not being fully briefed on the appointment is “a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.”

Bannon, the former CEO of far-right website Breitbart, is Trump s chief strategist in the White House – and is the first political appointee to be made a primary member of the Council.

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The Executive Order originally removed Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the highest ranking serving military officer – from the permanent Council, but the White House later indicated it was to walk back on the move.

Steve Bannon and Donald Trump

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Bannon, 62, is a skilled propagandist and darling of the so-called alt-right – a term used to describe a movement of racist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist people on social media, which got behind Trump s candidacy. Prior to Trump’s election, Bannon had no experience in public service or national security. He was instrumental in developing Trump s executive order banning travel to the US from Muslim countries, and was reported to have insisted last night that the ban would apply even to people with lawful permanent residence in the US.

He took over Breitbart, which has become a platform for the so-called Alt-Right, in 2012, following the sudden death of founder Andrew Breitbart.

While the site was always a right-wing fringe website, there was a shift in focus under Bannon s leadership. Former Breitbart editor-at-large Ben Shapiro told the Daily Wire, a conservative website: Andrew Breitbart despised racism . Truly despised it .

With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. It was reported this morning that the President’s top team hold late night meetings in the dark because they can’t work out how to turn on the lights in the White House cabinet room.1

Washington DC history is full of legends of crucial decisions being made in dimly lit, smoke filled rooms.

But in the Trump2 team’s case, the gloom is apparently down to them not being able to get their head around the technology.

And according to the New York Times3 , the lights are just one of the teething troubles the new President’s team suffer. They report that at late-night meetings, “aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room.

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Theresa May visits US and Donald Trump

References

  1. ^ lights in the White House cabinet room. (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ Trump (mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ New York Times (mirror.co.uk)