English News

Taliban take Kandahar, Herat in major offensive | English News | GulNews


KABUL: The Taliban captured Kandahar and Herat, Afghanistan’s second and third-largest, besides a strategic provincial capital, on Thursday. The advance further squeezed the embattled government just weeks before the end of American military mission there.

The seizure of Kandahar and Herat marks the biggest prizes yet for the Taliban, who have taken 12 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals as part of a week-long blitz.

The capture of the city of Ghazni, meanwhile, cut off a crucial highway linking the Afghan capital with the country’s southern provinces, which similarly find themselves under assault 20 years after US and Nato troops invaded and ousted the Taliban government.

Late on Thursday night, an Afghan official said the Taliban hade also taken much of western Badghis province, but not the provincial army corps and the intelligence department. A Taliban tweet claimed the insurgents had captured the seat of the provincial governor, the police headquarters and all other government offices.

While Kabul itself isn’t directly under threat yet, the losses and the battles elsewhere further tighten the grip of a resurgent Taliban, who are estimated to now hold over two-thirds of the country and are continuing to pressure government forces in several other provincial capitals.

Thousands of Afghans have fled their homes amid fears the Taliban will again impose a brutal, repressive government, all but eliminating women’s rights and conducting public amputation, stoning and executions. The latest US military intelligence assessment suggests Kabul could come under insurgent pressure within 30 days and that, if current trends hold, the Taliban could gain full control of the country within a few months.

The Afghan government may eventually be forced to pull back to defend the capital and just a few other cities in the coming days if the Taliban keep up their momentum.

The onslaught represents a stunning collapse of Afghan forces and renews questions about where the over $830 billion spent by the US Defence Department on fighting, training those troops, and reconstruction efforts went, especially as Taliban fighters ride on American-made Humvees and pickup trucks with M-16s slung across their shoulders.

Afghan forces and the government have not responded to repeated questions from journalists over the days of fighting, instead issuing video communiques that downplay the Taliban advance.

In Herat, Taliban fighters rushed past the Great Mosque in the historic city which dates to 500 BC and was once a spoil of Alexander the Great and seized government buildings. Witnesses described hearing sporadic gunfire at one government building while the rest of the city fell silent under the insurgents control.

Herat had been under militant attack for two weeks, with one wave blunted by the arrival of warlord Ismail Khan and his forces. But on Thursday afternoon, Taliban fighters broke through the city’s defensive lines and later said they were in control.

Afghan lawmaker Semin Barekzai also acknowledged the city’s fall, saying that some officials there had escaped. Witnesses described seeing Taliban fighters once-detained at Heart’s prison now freely moving on the streets.

It wasn’t immediately clear what happened to Ismail Khan, who earlier had been described as under attack with his forces at a government building.

In Kandahar, the Taliban seized the governor’s office and other buildings. The governor and other officials fled the onslaught, catching a flight to Kabul. They declined to be named publicly as the defeat has yet to be acknowledged by the government.

The Taliban had earlier attacked a prison in Kandahar and freed inmates inside, officials said.

Ghazni taken

Earlier on Thursday, the militants raised their white flags over the city of Ghazni, just 130 kilometres southwest of Kabul.

Fighters crowded onto one seized Humvee and drove down a main road, with the golden dome of a mosque near the governor’s office visible behind them, yelling: God is great! The insurgents, cradling their rifles, later gathered at one roundabout for an impromptu speech by a commander. One militant carried a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

Ghazni provincial council member Amanullah Kamrani alleged that the provincial governor and police chief made a deal with the Taliban to flee after surrendering. Taliban video and photos purported to show the governor’s convoy freely passing by insurgents as part of the deal.

Afghan interior ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai later said the governor and his deputies had been arrested over that alleged deal.

Stanekzai also acknowledged in a video message that parts of Ghanzi had fallen, though he insisted government security forces do exist in the city.

The loss of Ghazni, which sits along the Kabul-Kandahar highway, could complicate resupply and movement for government forces, as well as squeeze the capital from the south.

Already, the Taliban’s weeklong blitz has seen the militants seize nine other provincial capitals around the country. Many are in the country’s northeast corner, pressuring Kabul from that direction as well.

In southern Afghanistan, the Taliban heartland, heavy fighting continued in Lashkar Gah, where surrounded government forces hoped to hold onto the capital of Helmand province.

On Wednesday, a suicide car bombing marked the latest wave of violence to target the capitals regional police headquarters. By Thursday, the Taliban had taken the building, with some police officers surrendering to the militants and others retreating to the nearby governor’s office that is still held by government forces, said Nasima Niazi, a lawmaker from Helmand.

Niazi criticised ongoing air strikes targeting the area, saying civilians likely had been wounded and killed.

The Taliban used civilian houses to protect themselves, and the government, without paying any attention to civilians, carried out airstrikes, she said.

With the Afghan air power limited and in disarray, the US air force is believed to be carrying out strikes. Aviation tracking data suggested B-52 bombers, F-15 fighter jets, drones and other aircraft were involved in the fighting across the country, according to Australia-based security firm The Cavell Group.

US Air Force Maj. Nicole Ferrara, a Central Command spokeswoman, acknowledged that American forces have conducted several air strikes in defense of our Afghan partners in recent days. However, she declined to offer any details on the attacks or to discuss the Afghan complaints of civilian casualties.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2021




Wear OS 2 is also getting some Wear OS 3 features | English News | GulNews


The launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 series marked a new chapter in Wear OS history. New features, including the ability to use OEM skins on top of the platform, are coming alongside performance improvements under the hood. Some of these features might be exclusive to Wear OS 3 smartwatches, which currently only have one representative, but owners of Wear OS 2 devices need not be too jealous as some important features will be arriving on their own smartwatches in the coming weeks.

Google announced a few new experiences for Wear OS 3 on the Galaxy Watch 4, including a new Maps app and a YouTube Music app with support for offline downloads. Of those five experiences, three will, fortunately, be available for existing Wear OS 2 smartwatches as well. For one, Google Pay support is expanding to Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the UAE, with more promised to join the fray.

One of the most notable, however, is the updated Messages by Google app that will let you more easily respond to messages without having to take out your phone. That’s mostly thanks to a new UI that makes it easier to type out text, even on a tiny screen. Messages on Wear OS syncs with the smartphone counterpart, so you’ll never miss out on important, well, messages.

There are also new Tiles coming, Wear OS’ version of home screen widgets that give quick access to an associated app’s content and controls. Those new third-party tiles include ones from Strava, Calm, and Spotify. Spotify recently announced offline listening coming to existing Wear OS devices as well.

This is definitely great news for Wear OS smartwatch owners who might have felt abandoned by the whole Wear OS 3 situation. It still isn’t clear at this point if smartwatches launched within the last 12 months will even get the chance to be upgraded to the latest version of Wear OS. This way, even if they don’t, they will still get some of the juiciest features as well.




Schools Struggling To Find Paraprofessionals | English News | GulNews


DETROIT — Schools across Oakland County urgently need aides for special education students.

The aides, called paraprofessionals, are in short supply this year, according to Karen Olex, executive director of special education for Oakland Schools, the county’s intermediate school district. In a statement to the community, she wrote that the need for aides in special education is “desperate.”

Olex said in an interview with the Detroit Free Press that districts are offering finder’s fees, bonuses and other perks to try to round up more people to work as aides, often community members who help special education students in a one-on-one fashion. Out of 15 districts in Oakland County surveyed, schools need about 866 aides to operate and still need to hire 145 for the upcoming school year.

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Paraprofessionals must have a high school diploma. If they work in schools with high low-income populations, they must also have an associate’s degree.

“They’re making every every effort to do whatever they can to bring in … community members,” she said.

The problem is not unique to Oakland County. Parents of children who require special education services said they’ve noticed a lack of aides in recent years, and resistance from districts in assigning one-on-one aides to their children.

Cassandra Florentine’s son, who has autism, struggled without an aide consistently there for him while attending a school in Utica. The mother said a one-on-one aide was included in her son’s IEP plan, but the requirement was never fully fulfilled.

“He may have had somebody who came in a couple of times a week, but that’s the most he’s ever been able to get,” she said.

Lower pay and high demands for the job contribute to the shortage. Some districts advertise starting salaries as low as $12.57 an hour, not enough to keep up with service industry pay. Businesses across Michigan are experiencing staff shortages, which has led to a competitive job market and higher pay. Salaries at Amazon warehouses begin at $15 an hour. While working with students can be fulfilling, the jobs can also demand a lot of time and energy, packed into a short school day.

Dee Ann Griggs, a Michigan parent, wrote on Facebook that aides are the “unsung heroes” of the classroom, and that they were a lifeline for her son, from ages 3 to 24.

For other parents, it’s the absence of aides that’s deeply felt. Darlene Waller’s daughter, who is 8, requires special education services for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. Waller said her daughter and other students especially needed an aide while riding a Detroit public schools bus, where some children are prone to run out of the bus unexpectedly.

In the classroom, Waller requested an aide so her daughter could have one-on-one help, but she was met with a litany of excuses.

“I’ve been told everything: They don’t have enough money for parapros, there aren’t enough parapros available, some teachers don’t like them in the classrooms,” she said. “It’s really been a hard fight just to try to convince them that this is what’s needed.”

Without the extra attention, Waller’s daughter has struggled, she said. Writing, in particular, poses a challenge because of dexterity issues.

Florentine took her son out of the school district and began homeschooling. The mother said she couldn’t help but feel like someone had failed her son along the way: He’d started to hate school because it was such an overwhelming experience.

‘I’ve realized that there are so many kids like him,” she said, “that just fall through the cracks. Those parents don’t have the option to homeschool; we kind of are blessed in that sense.”

Homeschool transformed the way her son received education, Florentine said. He needed someone to help explain assignment directions to him one-on-one, in particular.

Waller is looking for a new school this year for her daughter, but she’s not sure where she’ll end up yet. She feels like her daughter has been lost in a system that doesn’t provide the education or attention she needs.

“The kids are caught up in the red tape and the politics of the education system, and they’re not getting everything that they need or deserve,” she said.

© 2021 Detroit Free Press
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC




Residents call on Suffolk and Chesapeake to better handle stormwater runoff | English News | GulNews


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Over the last month, 10 On Your Side has been investigating and reporting on stormwater drainage dilemmas in Suffolk. Those issues also flow into the Pughsville neighborhood of Chesapeake.

Suffolk resident Alfonsa Cargill sums it up a certain way.

“We have ditches that have grown up. We have ditches that are totally blocked with nothing flowing through them,” Cargill said.  

We’ve reported on Roosevelt Jones’ home in the Oakland neighborhood of Suffolk. He’s been there for years, but developers built homes next to his property at a higher level. So, all the stormwater flows from the newer homes onto his property.

In our reporting, we’ve shown a video of stormwater flooding Lyman Elliott’s yard in Pughsville. He said if it rains hard for an hour, his yard gets swamped. 

Pamela Brandy, who lives in the Pughsville section of Chesapeake, shot a video of Elliott’s flooded yard, which has become a natural stormwater runoff retention pond during heavy rains.,  

“It’s important because they [Suffolk and Chesapeake] are not doing what they promised to do all along and that is to provide funds to take care of our community, and it’s not being taken care of,” Brandy said.

To that, Chesapeake’s Public Works DirectorEarl Sorey says “We have heard them loud and clear.” 

“We have a number of efforts underway to address that,” he said.

10 On Your Side met Sorey at the John Street outfall improvement project in the Pughsville section of Chesapeake.   

The cost of the project is $890,000, which will bring in bigger pipes to move more water out of neighborhoods downstream to natural wetlands.

“This will allow water to get out more efficiently,” Sorey added.

He describes the stormwater outfall project this way: “We want to clean out the accumulated sediment within the boxed culverts. They are digging down and moving material that is under three feet of water, and that is allowing water to get out and flow more efficiently… and over time, this will improve drainage in this area.”

Sorey also adds that other significant work was done.

“This past winter, we did a lot of maintenance activities on the drainage ditches within the neighborhood making sure they are adequately sloped,” Sorey said. 

That is contrary to the perspective of a group of Suffolk and Chesapeake residents, who say they have not provided the proper drainage and sidewalks.

In July, 10 On Your Side met with the residents who live in older Chesapeake and Suffolk neighborhoods. They said they feel ignored.

“What they had done is allowed builders to build on top of homes and build homes in the community where they are flooding out the older residents,” Brandy said.

That’s what has happened to Roosevelt Jones’s property in Suffolk. 

“They should have made a better improvement from our engineers before they allowed all these houses to be built,” he said.

We asked Suffolk City Manager Albert Moor whether he thought the residents have a legitimate complaint. 

“There is a concern with drainage in the area,” he confirmed.

To Moor’s credit, he has spent time in these communities, and visited Jones’ property, and considers Oakland and Pughsville underserved communities in need of help.

“Look, actions always mean more than what you say,” he told us. 10 On Your Side pointed out they want more action from Suffolk.    

“And we are working there, and we are not trying to give lip service, and we want to work with the residents. We want to bring them a higher quality of life — period,” Moor said.

We also walked the neighborhood with Roosevelt Jones. He looked down his street and started speaking.

“You look all the way down the street.  Here, I’ve been trying to get them to come and clean these ditches out,” he said.

We walked Jones’ neighborhood to see firsthand what the issues are, even when it’s not raining. He pointed to a clogged drain with stormwater in it.

“How is water going to go through here because the water is stopped up? … Look in this one over here. I’ve been trying to tell the city all the water is standing. It is not going anywhere because they won’t come clean the ditches out,” he said.

We met Wayne White, who lives in the Chesapeake part of Pughsville. He got tired of waiting for the city to put in drainage pipes, so he put in his own.

“When my daughter was 3 or 4 years old when we moved here, she walked out of the house, walked right into the ditch. I said it wasn’t going to happen anymore, so I covered up the ditches … at my own cost,” he said.

The neighbors are supported by city activist Kelly Hengler, who documents flooding issues on video and pictures. She was at the first meeting we had in July.

“The reasons we are all here is all the citizens realized vis-a-vis all the civic leagues that, individually, they weren’t being heard… So we banded together,” she said.

For the record, side by side, Suffolk seems to be doing more addressing stormwater issues in underserved neighborhoods: 

Suffolk is spending $5.7 million using $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Chesapeake is spending $890,000 on the John Street Project plus funds from normal operating budget expenditures which could not be provided to us. There is no budget money from the American Rescue Plan. 

Sorey also gave some news that will not be well received from the residents we spoke to.

“As far as piping, ditches and curbs and gutters, that is not included in our scope of work… It is not included in any type, not at this time,” he said.

We asked whether it should be included.

“It would compete with other city-wide priorities,” Sorey said. 

The residents insist they will continue the fight for more efficient flowing ditches. 

“I am going to take this fight until either Jesus calls me home first, or he comes back first. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me I’m going to be here,” Brandy said.




Call of Duty Vanguard WW2 game leaks, maybe with Zombies | English News | GulNews


The next Call of Duty game was effectively leaked this week courtesy of some Black Ops Cold War data files. In said files, pre-order data for the next Call of Duty title were discovered. Inside, the name Call of Duty: Vanguard was found, and indications are that this will be a World War II title – because we can never have enough WWII video game action, ever. Oh, and ZOMBIES.

In the leaked images we get to see a few different angles at which this new game will be release. Or, assuming the game isn’t outright cancelled after this leak, we’ll likely see: Standard, Cross-Gen, and Ultimate edition releases. It would not be unheard of for this next release’s set of bundles to mirror those of the otherwise most recent release – Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War also had very, very similar bundles at launch.

The discovery of the imagery comes courtesy of the Cheezburgerboyz. UPDATE: They’ve now had the imagery removed from Twitter.

Take a peek at the content above and see what you make of it. This might be the start of something just lovely – or it could be a rehash of the same World War 2 games we’ve been playing for the past several decades.

UPDATE: Also, there are zombies. Call of Duty Vanguard Zombies leaked. You can believe this one if you want – or not. It could just as easily be faked as it could be the real deal. It’d be absurd to release a WWII game like this without Zombies – but you never know!




Pakistan closes visa operation in three cities of Afghanistan: sources | English News | GulNews


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has closed its visa operations in three cities of Afghanistan ‘due to security situation’, citing sources, ARY News reported on Thursday.

Sources told ARY News that the visa operation has been closed by Pakistan in Afghanistan’s cities including Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Herat. They added that most of the work related to visa operation was suspended in all places.

The government took the decision to close the visa service due to the deteriorated security situation in Afghanistan, sources added.


On August 11, it was learnt that the government of Afghanistan had removed army chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai after Farah, Baghlan and Badakshan provinces fell the Taliban control.

Major General Haibatullah Alizai who headed Special Operations Command had been posted as the new chief.

With new advances by Taliban forces, nine of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals have been snapped from the defacto Afghan government.


With Farah, Baghlan and Badakshan provinces falling, the Taliban rebellion has conquered nine of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals, including important cities such as Kunduz, since Friday. They have also strengthened their circle around the country’s biggest regional hubs of Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Pertinent to note that Taliban have tightened their grip on captured Afghan territory on Tuesday as civilians hid in their homes, with an EU official saying the militants now controlled 65% of the country after a string of sudden gains as foreign forces pull out.




Indian rocket fails to launch earth observation satellite | English News | GulNews


BENGALURU: An Indian rocket carrying a powerful earth observation satellite failed to fire fully on Thursday, the state-run space agency said, in a setback for the country’s space programme.

The satellite, meant for quick monitoring of natural disasters such as cyclones, cloudbursts and thunderstorms, was launched on a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) at 0013 GMT, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in southern India.

But while the liftoff was smooth, the rocket failed in its final phase, the Indian Space Research Organisation said.

indian rocket earth observation satellite gslv

“Performance of first and second stages was normal. However, Cryogenic Upper Stage ignition did not happen due to technical anomaly. The mission couldn’t be accomplished as intended,” ISRO said.

It did not say what happened to the GSLV spacecraft and the EOS-03 satellite it was meant to place in a geostationary orbit nearly 36,000km (22,500 miles) above the equator.

Scientists had mounted a large telescope on the satellite to look down on the Indian subcontinent.

Jonathan McDowell, a U.S.-based astronomer, said the satellite and the rocket probably fell into the Andaman Sea, west of Thailand.

India has built a reputation as a maker of earth imaging satellites and the ability to launch them into low orbits at a fraction of the cost of Western agencies.

But over the past several years, it has moved into the more lucrative area of launching heavier geostationary satellites that are used for communications and meteorology.




‘We’re seeing them at unusual times of year now’: record number of RSV cases reported in ENC this month | English News | GulNews


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The delta variant isn’t the only sickness on the rise.

Hospitals across the southeast are seeing an increase in RSV. It’s a respiratory virus most common in children two years and younger.

Doctors in Eastern North Carolina said RSV is typically a wintertime illness. Right now, they’re seeing record-breaking cases here.

“Our largest number we’ve ever recorded in any one week is 60,” said Dr. William Dalzell, who works with ECU’s Brody School of Medicine and Maynard Children’s Hospital. “That was back in January 2020. Last week we had 68. So we’re already seeing new records.”

Dr. Dalzell said during the pandemic, Vidant only saw one case of RSV, and it was in an adult. He said we can thank masks and social distancing for the drop in illness.

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“RSV is mainly almost 100 percent person-to-person transmission only,” he said. “If you eliminate the contact and you eliminate the droplets, you basically don’t see spread.”

Dalzell said nearly all children get RSV before their second birthdays. That’s why so many are getting infected now.

“We have a much larger pool of children who don’t have immunity or at least partial immunity to RSV,” he said. “We have a large cohort of children out there who can get it.”

The good news is most kids just get a runny nose and cough with the virus. Dr. Dalzell said there is something you can do to help.

“As silly as it sounds, washing your hands and good cough hygiene are the best ways to keep spread down,” he said.

Dalzell said kids are more likely to have symptoms with RSV than COVID. But it can be hard to tell the difference between the two because they present in similar ways. Many Vidant clinics are testing for both viruses, as well as the flu, with the same swab.

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Honor Magic 3 series serves up three post-Huawei flagships with big camera tech | English News | GulNews


Today, Honor announced a new lineup of flagship phones with the Magic 3 series, which comprises three devices in all. These new phones are arriving at a time where Honor is trying to pull in more Chinese market share for itself as an independent company, and these are the first flagships Honor has delivered since Huawei sold it off last year.

All three phones in the series – the standard Magic 3, the Magic 3 Pro, and the Magic 3 Pro Plus – will ship with a 6.76-inch OLED display. Regardless of the model, we’ll get an 89-degree “super curved display” that outputs at 2772 x 1344 resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ certification. All three models also sport the same front-facing camera – a 13MP, 100-degree wide-angle lens – and they’ll all use Honor’s own Magic UI 5.0, which is based on Android 11.

Now we get into the differences between the three devices, and perhaps those differences are most obvious in the chipsets. While the standard Magic 3 will use a Snapdragon 888 chipset (with either 128GB or 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM), both the Pro and the Pro Plus will use a Snapdragon 888 Plus chipset. The Magic 3 Pro will offer 8GB/12GB of RAM and 256GB/512GB of storage, while the Pro Plus will pack 512GB of storage and 12GB of RAM – no configuration considerations necessary, it seems.

The three phones also differ when it comes to rear-facing cameras. On the back of the standard Magic 3, we’ll see a triple-camera array with a 50MP wide camera, a 64MP monochrome camera, and a 13MP 120-degree ultra wide-angle lens. The Magic 3 Pro keeps all of those but adds a 64MP telephoto camera with 3.5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom, and 100x digital zoom. Meanwhile, the Pro Plus keeps all of that while adding optical image stabilization to the 50MP wide camera and upgrading the ultra-wide camera to a 64MP lens with a 126-degree field-of-view.

When it comes to battery, we’ll see all three phones outfitted with a 4,600mAh pack that has different capabilities depending on the model. While the battery in the standard Magic 3 supports 66W wired SuperCharge, the batteries in the Pro and Pro Plus offer that alongside 50W wireless SuperCharge and reverse wireless charging, which means you can use your phone to charge other devices. Add to that 5G and support for WiFi 6, and it sounds like we’ve got some flagships on our hands.

Honor says that these three phones will be available in mainland China and that it’ll announce new regions in the future. The standard Magic 3 will start at €899 and come in “Golden Hour” and “Blue Hour” styles made with synthetic leather, along with Black and White. The Magic 3 Pro will start at €1,099 and will be available in Golden Hour, Black, and White models, while the Magic 3 Pro Plus will start at €1,499 in Ceramic Black and Ceramic White models.




‘Indian-Afghan nexus’ behind Dasu bus attack: Qureshi | English News | GulNews


Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said the Dasu bus attack that last month killed 13 people, including Chinese nationals, was a suicide bombing, adding that investigation showed it had “links to Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies”.

On July 14, nine Chinese nationals, two personnel of the Frontier Constabulary and as many locals, were killed and 28 others sustained injuries when a coach carrying them to an under-construction tunnel site of the 4,300-megawatt Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in the Upper Kohistan area after an explosion.

“We can clearly see the nexus of Afghanistan’s NDS and India’s RAW in planning and execution of the attack,” Qureshi said in a press briefing today following the conclusion of a probe into the incident.

The minister, flanked by Deputy Inspector General CTD Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Javed Iqbal, and FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said Pakistan kept China in the loop throughout the investigation, adding that Beijing “seems satisfied with the way we conducted the probe”.

Regarding the findings of the investigation, Qureshi said the investigation team examined all CCTV camera footage leading to the site of the crime.

“We found some body parts from the spot, which are of the suicide bomber and they were sent for forensic examination,” he said.

Qureshi said more than 1,000 personnel working at a nearby hydropower project were interrogated, and that it helped officials unearth “key findings”.

He said the car used in the attack was smuggled into Pakistan, and that the attackers initially wanted to target the Diamer-Bhasha dam site but settled for Dasu project site following the failure of their original plan.

The minister alleged that Afghan soil was used [for coordination] in the attack.

Regarding the Chinese sentiments on the probe, Qureshi said he had visited China for a “strategic dialogue” where the bus incident was also discussed in detail.

“China believes Pakistan has conducted the probe transparently and they (the Chinese) appear satisfied with what we have probed,” said the minister.

He said both the countries shared an understanding that such incidents should not shatter their courage.

Qureshi said some elements were strongly upset at the growing friendship between Pakistan and China as well as the latter’s “heavy investment in our country”.

He said that it has been decided to not only unveil the identities of perpetrators but also ensure that they get exemplary punishment.

Following the Dasu incident, he said, it was decided to beef up security on all Chinese projects and “revise and improve” the existing SOPs.

‘Suicide bomber not a registered Pakistani citizen’

DIG CTD Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Javed Iqbal said initially it had appeared to be “a blind case” to the investigators, adding that evidence collected from the crime scene had led police nowhere even after crosschecking of data from National Database Registration Authority.

Subsequently, he said, geo-fencing of the area was conducted and 12,000 cellphone numbers were analysed, while at least 90 people were interrogated but their detention did not prove helpful.

He said the breakthrough came after the vehicle used in the crime was examined and a sticker of a car showroom was found pasted on its rear side. “We found the showroom owner named Hussein in Swat who confirmed to have received the vehicle in November 2020 from Chaman border.”

DIG Iqbal said the first suspect helped investigators reach the second suspect named Ayaz in Karachi.

He further said that the vehicle was handed over to the “execution party” on July 7 — a week before the attack.

The police official said that an Afghanistan-based man named Tariq, who is a member of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, was identified as the key suspect. He said that Tariq had taken the vehicle carrying suicide bomber to the crime scene a day before the attack. “He had then returned from the spot after doing his job,” the DIG added.

He said suspects, including Ayaz and Hussein, had been taken into custody, adding that the schemers named Tariq and Muavia were in Afghanistan and facilitated by senior NDS and RAW officials. “This process and planning had begun seven to eight months ago and these suspects had been conducting reconnaissance of the area during the period,” he said.

The DIG said the investigation identified the suicide bomber as Khalid alias Sheikh, adding that “he is not a registered Pakistani citizen”.

“We are now approaching the Afghan government through mutual legal assistance for seeking custody of suspects based in Afghanistan and we are providing them proofs of it,” he said.

The DIG also said that around 100-120 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.