Tagged: Afghanistan

Death toll from Kabul mosque attacks rises to 89

(RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY) — Afghan officials say suicide bombers have killed at least 89 people in two attacks on mosques in Afghanistan, as sectarian and terror-related violence continues to surge in the war-torn country.

The October 20 attacks targeted a Shi’ite mosque in the capital, Kabul, and a Sunni mosque in the central Afghan province of Ghor.

An Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman said that the death toll in the Kabul attack had risen to at least 56 people.

At least 55 people were also injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up as worshippers were gathering for prayers at the Imam Zaman mosque in the western Dasht-e-Barchi section of the capital.

The extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul.

The attacks come one day after 43 soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a Taliban attack on an army camp in the southern province of Kandahar.

In the second attack, officials said at least 33 people were killed and 10 injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in Khewiagan, a Sunni mosque in the district of Dulaina in central Ghor Province.

A local official said an anti-Taliban commander inside the mosque at the time may have been the target of the attack. No claim of responsibility has been made for the attack.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the attacks show that “the terrorists have once again staged bloody attacks, but they will not achieve their evil purposes and sow discord among the Afghans.”

The United States strongly condemned the October 20 attacks and previous attacks in Afghanistan during a week in which U.S. drones strikes were reported to have killed more than 30 militants in the region.

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Taliban attack kills dozens, decimates Afghan army camp

(CBS) — KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have killed at least 58 Afghan security forces in a wave of attacks across the country, including an assault that officials say wiped out an army camp in the southern Kandahar province.

Spokesman Dawlat Wazir said the attack on the army camp late Wednesday, which involved two suicide car bombs and set of hours of fighting, killed at least 43 soldiers. Nine other soldiers were wounded and six have gone missing, he said, adding that 10 attackers were killed.

A Ministry of Defense official told CBS News’ Ahmad Mukhtar that the attackers struck in the middle of the night while most of the 60 soldiers at the camp were sleeping. The Ministry spokesman confirmed to CBS News that the camp was totally destroyed.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a Taliban ambush in the northern Balkh province late Wednesday killed six police, according to Shir Jan Durani, spokesman for the provincial police chief. A Taliban attack on police posts in the western Farah province, also late Wednesday, killed nine police, said police chief Abdul Marouf Foulad. He said 22 insurgents were killed in the ensuing gun battle.

Afghan forces have struggled to combat a resurgent Taliban since U.S. and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, switching to a counterterrorism and support role.

The Taliban unleashed a wave of attacks across Afghanistan on Tuesday, targeting police compounds and government facilities with suicide bombers in the country’s south, east and west, and killing at least 74 people, officials said.

Among those killed in one of the attacks was a provincial police chief. Scores were also wounded, both policemen and civilians. Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, Murad Ali Murad, called Tuesday’s onslaught the “biggest terrorist attack this year.”

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Afghan officials: Taliban wave of attacks kills at least 74, hundreds wounded

(USA TODAY) — KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban unleashed a wave of attacks across Afghanistan on Tuesday, targeting police compounds and government facilities with suicide bombers in the country’s south, east and west, and killing at least 74 people, officials said.

Among those killed in one of the attacks was a provincial police chief. Scores were also wounded, both policemen and civilians.

According to Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, Murad Ali Murad, the day’s onslaught was “biggest terrorist attack this year.”

Murad told a press conference in Kabul that in Tuesday’s attacks in Ghazni and Paktia provinces, the insurgents killed 71 people.

In southern Paktia province, 41 people — 21 policemen and 20 civilians — were killed when the Taliban targeted a police compound in the provincial capital of Gardez with two suicide car bombs. Among the wounded were 48 policemen and 110 civilians.

The provincial police chief, Toryalai Abdyani, was killed in the Paktia attack, Murad confirmed.

The Ministry of Interior said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that after the two cars blew up in Gardez, five attackers with suicide belts tried to storm the compound but that Afghan security forces “killed all five terrorist.”

According to the Health Ministry spokesman, Waheed Majroo, the Gardez city hospital reported receiving at least 130 wounded in the attack.

Hamza Aqmhal, a student at the Paktia University, told The Associated Press that he heard a very powerful blast that shattered glass and broke all the windows at the building he was in. The university is 1.25 miles from the training academy, said Aqmhal, who was slightly injured by the glass

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Massive Kabul truck bomb kills 80, wounds hundreds

(AFT) — At least 80 people were killed and hundreds wounded Wednesday when a massive truck bomb ripped through Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, bringing carnage to the streets of the Afghan capital and blowing out windows several miles away.

Bodies littered the scene and a huge cloud of smoke rose from the highly-fortified area which houses foreign embassies, after the rush-hour attack tore a massive crater in the ground just days into the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

No group has so far claimed the powerful blast, which a Western diplomatic source said was caused by 1,500 kilograms of explosives packed inside a water tanker.

Rescue workers were digging bodies from the rubble hours after the explosion as anguished residents struggled to get through security cordons to search for missing relatives. Dozens of damaged cars choked the roads as wounded survivors and panicked schoolgirls sought safety.

It was not immediately clear what the target was. But the attack suggests a major security failure and underscores spiraling insecurity in Afghanistan, where the NATO-backed military, beset by soaring casualties and desertions, is struggling to beat back insurgents.

Over a third of the country is outside government control.

“Unfortunately the toll has reached 80 martyred (killed) and over 300 wounded, including many women and children,” said health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh, adding the figures would continue to climb as more bodies are pulled from the debris.

President Ashraf Ghani slammed the attack as a “war crime”.

The Taliban — currently in the midst of their annual “spring offensive” — tweeted that they were not involved and “strongly condemn” the blast. The insurgent group rarely claims responsibility for attacks that kill large numbers of civilians.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in the Afghan capital, including a powerful blast targeting a NATO convoy that killed eight people earlier this month.

The sound of the bomb, which went off near Kabul’s busy Zanbaq Square, reverberated across the Afghan capital, with residents comparing it to an earthquake. Most victims appear to be civilians.

“The vigilance and courage of Afghan security forces prevented the VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) from gaining entry to the Green Zone, but the explosion caused civilian casualties,” NATO said in a statement.

– Embassies damaged –

The BBC said its Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir was killed and four of their journalists wounded. Local TV channel Tolo TV also tweeted that a staff member Aziz Navin was killed.

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GINGRICH: Why America needs to get ready for a ‘100-year war’ with radical Islam

(DAILY CALLER via THE COUNTER JIHAD REPORT) by Russ Read

The war against radical Islamic terrorism could go on much longer than anyone is expecting, and the enemy may not give the U.S. any choice but to fight it.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was quite sober in his address Wednesday on the subject of the politics of dealing with radical Islam. Speaking to a room of people packed to the brim on Capitol Hill, Gingrich outlined in a clear and concise manner his belief that combating the terrorist forces within radical Islam will take as many as 100 years. He noted that the choice to go to war had already been made by the enemy, and the U.S. will eventually have no choice but to respond in a massive way.

Though he certainly had ample criticism for President Barack Obama’s current strategies for countering terrorism, calling the President “delusional,” he was willing to point blame for the current situation in multiple directions. “You have to look seriously at why did we fail in Iraq … in Afghanistan.” Gingrich believes that the commission set up to investigate the attacks on September 11, 2001, failed. So too did both Bush and Clinton, and especially Paul Bremer, Bush’s envoy to Iraq after the initial 2003 invasion.

He opened his remarks with a comparison of today’s time to that of former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain just before the outset of World War II. Unlike others who have attempted to draw the comparison as a slight, the former history professor took a different tack.

“Chamberlain was not weak” he explained, referring to the former prime minister crushing his opposition in parliament at the outset of the war, “[he believed] almost any future was worth getting to that did not involve World War II.”

Gingrich said Chamberlain certainly had a point, highlighting the massive death and destruction left in the wake of the conflict. “Look at the scale of World War II, you cant argue that it was successful,” he explained.

He outlined the point that people knew then that another war was going to be bloody, much like those who look at the war on terrorism realize its going to be bloody now.

“It’s not irrational to ask how to avoid that,” said Gingrich, “we could be involved in a 70 to 100 year war … this is going to be hard to communicate,” he continued.

Reality, though, sometimes trumps one’s preferences, and Gingrich believes that the reality of the threat posed by Islamic radicalism and the terrorism it spawns requires a very difficult, and bloody, form of vigilance.

“We are having a difficult time coming to grips with how large this problem is … this is a clash of civilizations,” he said.

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Al Qaeda leader threatens: ‘The U.S. doesn’t know what’s coming its way.’

(BROOKINGS INSTITUTE via NEWSWEEK) — After an unprecedented 11 months of silence, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of Al Qaeda, this week issued a video message proclaiming his loyalty to the new head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. The almost 10-minute long message dramatically reaffirms the alliance between Al Qaeda and the Taliban, a setback for efforts to bring the Taliban into a political process.

The video was released by Al Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab, meaning “in the clouds” or an allusion to the jihadi symbolism that Al Qaeda operates in the mountains of the Hindu Kush.

According to the Pakistan newspaper Dawn, As-Sahab recently relocated its real ground game from Pakistan (where it has been operating since 2002) back to Afghanistan in Helmand province. The Afghan Taliban supported the move and provides safe haven for Al Qaeda, which means 14 years after Operation Enduring Freedom began, Al Qaeda is again running operations out of Afghanistan.

Al-Zawahri’s message underscores that Al Qaeda remains close to the Taliban. According to Dawn, a senior As-Sahab official, Qari Abu Bakr, said “the bond between us and our Taliban brothers is a solid ideological bond. The Taliban opted to lose their government and family members just to protect us. There is no question of us moving apart now after going through this war together.” In a warning to the United States, he says, “Our common enemy does not know what is coming its way.”

In his new message, al-Zawahri eulogizes Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founder of the Taliban, as a hero of the global jihad along with Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Mullah Omar is lauded by al-Zawahri for creating the first true Islamic emirate since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. He makes no mention of reports Mullah Omar died two years ago in a Pakistan hospital in Karachi under the protection of the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

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