Tagged: Taliban

US General Won’t Respond to Reports of Taliban Capturing American Military Rifles, Weapons

THE EPOCH TIMES — A U.S. general said he won’t respond to reports of Taliban members capturing American military weapons and vehicles.

Photos and video footage over the past week showed large caches of weapons, including M-16 rifles and Humvees, being commandeered by the Taliban, considered by some governments to be a terrorist organization. Taliban members were seen holding American-made M-4 carbines and M-16 rifles that were discarded by Afghan military units.

When asked about the captured military equipment and weapons and whether American forces are attempting to prevent them from falling into the hands of the group, Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor responded: “I don’t have the answer to that question.”

The American rifles are more accurate and have a greater range than the AK-47-style rifles used by the Taliban, although AK-47s are easier to clean and are considered more durable. However, the 5.56mm NATO round that the American weapons use is plentiful and is available to private gun owners in the United States.

There were reports of Taliban members capturing military helicopters. One video appeared to show a Taliban-captured helicopter providing air support.

Q: “Is the U.S. taking any other sort of steps to prevent aircraft of other military equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban?”

Major General Hank Taylor: “I don’t have the answer to that question.”

Full Pentagon briefing here: https://t.co/VVL5NduAHW pic.twitter.com/unapyd2ACy

— CSPAN (@cspan) August 16, 2021


‘They are going to kill us’: Afghans terrorized as Kabul embassy tells Americans shelter in place

JUST THE NEWS — People in Kabul reported chaos in the streets Sunday as Afghans try to escape the encroaching Taliban while exit routes, including commercial air flights, increasingly are closed. 

“Things are manic,” one person told Just the News from inside Kabul on Sunday. “There is gunfire, and people are fleeing.”

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a security bulletin announcing a deteriorating situation at the last seemingly viable exit point, Hamid Karzai International Airport, just outside the city center.

“There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place,” the embassy wrote in the Aug. 15 bulletin. Any U.S. citizens wanting help should register on the embassy website, the bulletin read. Afghans seeking visas should also register, even if they already have sent information to the embassy, the bulletin noted.

A video viewed by Just the News depicts the streets filled with cars blaring their horns, while ordinary citizens – men, women, and young children – hastily walk while talking on cell phones and carrying bags of belongings.

The scene unfolded rapidly amid a long-telegraphed Taliban advance on Kabul that nonetheless seemed to come as a surprise as it evolved in the overnight hours. The breakthrough came around 2:45 a.m. EDT, when contacts in Kabul reported that the city had been breached.

The breach spurred intense action among official and private networks, as Westerners scrambled to help their friends and co-workers exit the besieged country. It also spurred a furious exchange of information and rumors, including the story that one American company sent its workers home from the airport on the understanding that they would be evacuated, and now they are trapped inside the city. Just the News was not able to immediately reach the company for comment.


President Ashraf Ghani Flees Afghanistan

BREITBART — President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday following the arrival of Taliban forces to the nation’s capital, Kabul, Afghan outlet Tolo News reported.

Tolo added that, according to Taliban sources, Ghani had agreed to a formal resignation. Ghani reportedly took his top aides with him.

Reuters reported on Sunday the Taliban were still working to confirm Ghani’s whereabouts as of press time. Ghani’s office declined to comment on his apparent abandonment of the nation, refusing to “say anything about Ashraf Ghani’s movement for security reasons.” The outlet suggested he was bound for neighboring Tajikistan, like many Afghan troops fleeing the battlefield.

Ghani has served as president since 2014.

Ghani appeared before the nation in a pre-recorded speech on Saturday claiming that he was working to “remobilize” the Afghan military to fight the Taliban.

“Under the current situation, remobilizing of the security and defense forces is our top priority and required measures are underway for this purpose,” Ghani said, vowing to work to prevent “further killings, loss of the gains of the last 20 years, destruction of public property and continued instability.”

Ghani’s reported flight follows the Taliban reconquest of many of the nation’s major cities, including Herat and Kandahar. While Kabul has yet to fall, American forces and those of allied nations are scrambling to evacuate their civilian personnel, expecting the Taliban to claim the city at any time.


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.


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).