Tagged: Taliban

Afghan Forces in Fierce Battle with Taliban Tuesday

(VOA) — ISLAMABAD — Afghan forces say they have pushed back the Taliban as reports said heavy fighting continued in Farah city, the capital of Afghanistan’s western Farah province.

Fierce fighting broke out in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday after Taliban fighters attacked from the north and reached within three kilometers of the center of the province, according to Norulhaq Khaleqi, the spokesman for the Second Brigade of the Afghan National Army. Army officials said most of the fighting took place in the northern and western parts of the city.

Officials of the Afghan ministries of defense and interior claimed their security forces have stopped the Taliban’s advance in the north of Farah city. In a joint press briefing midday Tuesday, they said their forces were fighting the Taliban a few kilometers outside the city.

Taliban leaders had claimed their fighters captured a number of government offices including a local office of the Afghan Intelligence Agency (NDS) during the fighting, a claim Najib Danish, an interior ministry spokesman, denied. He said Afghan forces were receiving support from foreign forces.

Afghan government officials at Tuesday’s news conference said two Afghan security personnel were killed and four others wounded, while, 10 Taliban were killed and the same number of them wounded.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told VOA that Taliban are still inside Farah city and fighting continued later Tuesday in a number of back streets. They said although the reinforcements have helped the security forces, the street to street fight with the Taliban continued.

Local media reported that Taliban forces was close to taking over a prison in the city.

“#FARAH – Farid Bakhtawar, head of Farah provincial council, has said that clashes are ongoing in the city and the “enemies” are moving towards the prison compound.#Afghanistan,” a tweet from the verified account of Afghanistan’s Tolo News TV channel read.

Defense ministry officials sought to quell panic as local media reported some residents were fleeing the city. “We assure the people of Farah that all necessary operations have been implemented and Afghan air force, commando force, and contingents of Corp in western Afghanistan are in action against security threats,” defense ministry officials said in a statement.

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9 journalists killed in Afghanistan: This is ‘a reminder of the extreme dangers to media workers’

(ABC NEWS) — Nine journalists were killed in dual blasts in Kabul, Afghanistan, this morning.
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A Kabul police spokesman said the second suicide bomber was among the crowd of reporters who were rushing to the scene of the first blast when another device was detonated, according to The Associated Press.

Police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said the second attacker was pretending to be a member of the media, the AP reported.

PHOTO: Security forces run from the site of a suicide attack after the second explosion in Kabul, April 30, 2018. A coordinated double suicide bombing hit central Kabul.Massoud Hossaini/AP Images
Security forces run from the site of a suicide attack after the second explosion in Kabul, April 30, 2018. A coordinated double suicide bombing hit central Kabul.
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The health ministry in Afghanistan released the names and affiliations of the nine journalists who were killed:

Shah Marai, a longtime photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Ebadullah Hananzai, from Radio Free Europe

Sabawoon Kakar, from Radio Free Europe

Yar Mohammad Tokhi, a Tolonews cameraman

Ghazi Rasooli, a 1TV reporter

Nowrooz Rajabj, a 1TV cameraman

Saleem Talash, a Mashal TV reporter

Mahram Durani, a journalist from Shamsad TV

Ali Salimi, a Mashal TV cameraman.

ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the Kabul attacks, which left at least 25 people dead and 45 others injured.

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Suicide blast targeting police kills seven in eastern Pakistani city of Lahore

(REUTERS) — A suicide bomb blast claimed by the Taliban ripped through a police checkpoint on the outskirts of the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing seven people and wounding 18, officials said.

Jam Sajjad Hussain, spokesman of a state-run rescue service, told Reuters that his officials had taken seven dead bodies to hospitals.

“Our rescuers are at work,” he said. “They have shifted so far seven bodies.”

Deputy Inspector General of police Haider Ashraf said the bomb exploded when the police were changing guards at the checkpoint just outside an annual religious congregation in Raiwind, where nearly 80,000 people were in attendance.

“A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle attacked the police,” Ashraf said. He said four of the dead were police.

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Kabul mourns 100 dead after ambulance bomb

(BBC) — More than 100 people are now believed to have been killed in a suicide bombing on Saturday in Kabul.

Attackers drove an ambulance past a police checkpoint to get to a crowded street in a district full of government buildings and embassies.

Afghanistan’s government has declared a day of mourning for Sunday, as funerals take place and relatives search hospitals for survivors.

The Taliban – a hardline Islamist group – said it was behind the attack.

It was the deadliest attack in Afghanistan for months and took place a week after an attack on a Kabul hotel in which 22 people were killed.

Health Minister Waheed Majroh said most of the 191 people injured were men.

AFP news agency reports that some foreign organisations are “reassessing their presence” in the country after the spate of attacks.

What happened in the latest attack?

Witnesses say the area – also home to offices of the European Union, a hospital and a shopping zone known as Chicken Street – was crowded with people when the bomb exploded on Saturday at about 12:15 local time (08:45 GMT).

Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, said the attacker got through a security checkpoint after telling police he was taking a patient to nearby Jamhuriat hospital.

He detonated the bomb at a second checkpoint, said Mr Rahimi.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the use of an ambulance was “harrowing”.[READ MORE ]

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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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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