At least 12 die in fracas
Three suicide attackers killed at least nine civilians, most of them children, in a botched attack yesterday on the Indian consulate in an eastern Afghan city near the border with Pakistan, security officials said. Police fired on the militants as they approached a checkpoint near the consulate in Jalalabad, prompting one of them to set off their explosives-laden car, said Masum Khan Hashimi, the deputy police chief of Nangarhar province. The blast killed nine bystanders, and wounded 24. All three attackers also died, although it was not clear how many were killed by police fire and how many by the explosion. In New Delhi, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said all Indian officials in the consulate were safe. Afghanistan’s main insurgent group, the Taliban, denied in a text message that it had carried out the attack. Smaller militant groups based in Pakistan have targeted Indian interests in Afghanistan in the past.
Maoists blow up railway
Maoist guerrillas blew up a railway track in an eastern Indian state, disrupting rail traffic near Bodh Gaya, Buddhism’s holiest site, a railway official said yesterday. The blast came after Bodh Gaya in the state of Bihar, which attracts Buddhists and other visitors from all over the world, was hit by multiple small bomb blasts last month. The government called the blasts a “terror attack” after nine bombs exploded but there has no claim of responsibility for the explosions. In the latest attack, Maoist rebels blew up a portion of railway track in Gaya district late on Friday night, an officer of the East Central Railway said. “No one was injured but rail traffic was disrupted for a few hours,” he said. Last month, more than 50 Maoist guerrillas ambushed a police patrol in Bihar, killing the district police chief and four others.
Niyazov tome discarded
Schools are to stop teaching lessons based on a spiritual guidebook written by the country’s eccentric former president, an education ministry official said on Friday. A book called the Rukhnama, supposedly written by late Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov, was given almost sacred status during his rule. However, his successor, former dentist Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, has dismantled much of Niyazov’s cult of personality. “From the start of the new school year, the subject Rukhnama [spirituality] will not be taught,” an informed source in the education ministry said on Friday. Instead of teaching the two-volume tome by the first president of the country, the new school curriculum will include classes on Turkmen and world culture, the official in the deeply secretive state said on condition of anonymity. Schools in 2011 lifted the requirement to pass exams on the Rukhnama in order to graduate.
Children die in landslide
Two children were killed in a landslide yesterday as heavy rains battered the south, bringing flooding to large areas, authorities said. The rains caused an avalanche in a suburb of the southern city of Zamboanga, burying three houses and killing a 14-year-old boy and his six-year old sister, Mayor Isabel Climaco-Salazar said. Three other districts of the city in the southern island of Mindanao were also flooded by rains that have battered the region for more than a week. In some parts of Mindanao, classes have been called off for more than a week due to the flooding with as many as 37,000 people evacuated, the civil defense office said.