Tag Archives: Taliban

Malala makes first trip to Pakistan since Taliban attack

Malala makes first trip to Pakistan since Taliban attackNobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai returned to Pakistan on Thursday, officials said, in her first visit to her native country since she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman six years ago for advocating education for girls. Malala is widely respected internationally for her bravery and activism, but opinion is divided in Pakistan where some conservatives view her as a Western agent on a mission to shame her country. Malala is expected to meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during the four-day trip but further details have been “kept secret in view of the sensitivity surrounding the visit,” a government official said.



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Mattis in Kabul, says elements in Taliban open to peace talks

Mattis in Kabul, says elements in Taliban open to peace talksElements of the Taliban are open to talks with the Afghan government, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday, a potentially significant move that runs counter to the insurgents’ long-term refusal to talk to Kabul. Mattis flew into the war-torn nation on an unannounced visit two weeks after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban, Afghanistan’s biggest militant group. The Taliban have so far given no formal response to Kabul’s offer for negotiations, but have published a lengthy statement and an online commentary that analysts say are an oblique rejection of the proposal.



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Suicide bomber kills 9 in Kabul; Taliban kill 16 in province

Suicide bomber kills 9 in Kabul; Taliban kill 16 in provinceKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted Afghanistan's ethnic Hazaras on Friday, blowing himself up at a police checkpoint near a gathering of the minority Shiites in western Kabul, killing nine people and wounding 18, officials said.



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Afghan woman joins police force after husband killed by the Taliban

Afghan woman joins police force after husband killed by the TalibanShokria decided to follow in her police officer husband's footsteps and join the force after he was killed by the Taliban in Kandahar three years ago.



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Taliban publishes open letter to Americans

Taliban publishes open letter to AmericansThe Taliban has published an open letter to the American people, calling on them to demand an end the conflict in Afghanistan and to reject “the inexperienced policies of president Trump and his war-monger advisors”. Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, released copies of the 10-page document on Wednesday in several languages, detailing insurgent gains and so-called failures of the “illegitimate” US-led invasion, now in its 17th year. The authors write that they hope Americans “will read this letter prudently and will evaluate the future of American forces and your profit and loss inside Afghanistan in light of the prevailing realities”. They point out the continuing insurgency, and the costs incurred, plus the increase of drug production. They also emphasise the loss of life. And, the authors argue, “it is not the duty of America to draft laws and suggest systems for other countries”. The Taliban attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul earlier this year left 42 dead, including four US citizens Credit: MOHAMMAD ISMAIL They claim that the war in Afghanistan, launched in 2001 “under the influence of misleading propaganda by your officials”, has now lost international support and should be brought to a negotiated conclusion. The letter says: “The American people! You proclaim to be a developed and civilized nation of the world. Since the imposed government in Afghanistan is established by you therefore we leave it to your judgment to decide – according to your logic and conscience – whether the present system and its pertinent changes, insecurity, chaos and 87 per cent increase in narcotics are reforms or crimes against humanity? “Your authorities proclaim that tens of billions of dollars have been spent on various reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. Of course this is the same money which is collected from you as taxes and revenues, but here it has been distributed among thieves and murderers.” The government of Ashraf Ghani is described as “a band of usurpers, looters, mafia warlords and drug-dealers”, while the Taliban present themselves as the legitimate rulers of the country. They continue: “No matter what title or justification is presented by your undiscerning authorities for the war in Afghanistan, the reality is that tens of thousands of helpless Afghans including women and children were martyred by your forces, hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands more were incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram and various other secret jails… “The Afghan masses feel pity for the whole American nation because they are being sacrificed and are losing respect through the world with each passing day solely due the war-mongering policies of a few war-mongering officials.” A suicide attack in Kabul on January 27 killed 40 people Credit:  Anadolu They conclude that “it is not too late for the American people to understand that the Islamic Emirate – as representative of its people – can solve its problems with every side through healthy politics and dialogue.” The letter’s release comes as the US steps up airstrikes in support of anti-insurgent ground and air operations by Afghan forces, under Mr Trump’s new war strategy. Mr Trump’s generals hope to break the military stalemate with the Taliban, and push insurgents to the negotiating table. During a visit this week to eastern Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, who commands the US and Nato’s Resolute Support mission in the country, said the intensified offensive is yielding results. And he blamed the recent surge in Taliban attacks on the Islamists' growing desperation. “The success of the Afghan operations around the country, supported by Resolute Support and US forces, have caused the enemy high casualties everywhere,” he said.  “This has caused them to stop their attempts to seize provincial capitals, to stop trying to cease districts.” The American general asserted a recent wave of Taliban suicide bombings against Afghan civilians stemmed from insurgent battlefield setbacks and losses.



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Pakistan Taliban says deputy chief killed in US drone strike

Pakistan Taliban says deputy chief killed in US drone strikeThe deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed in a US drone strike, the militant group said in a statement Monday, as Washington continues to intensify attacks along the Afghan border region. Khalid Mehsood, deputy leader of the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), died after the pre-dawn strike in North Waziristan tribal agency on February 8, the militants said in the emailed statement. The group’s leaders have nominated Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud to take his place, the statement said, adding Mehsud has “undeterring trust” in Pakistani Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah.



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Afghan president demands Pakistan act against Taliban

Afghan president demands Pakistan act against TalibanAfghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday accused neighboring Pakistan of failing to move against the Taliban and pledged a new security plan for Kabul after hundreds of people were killed and wounded in two deadly attacks on the capital last month. Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of aiding terrorists by giving shelter and aid to leaders of the Taliban insurgency, a charge denied by Pakistan, which points to the thousands of its own citizens killed by militant violence over the years.



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Kabul hotel attack: 19 dead, including 14 foreigners, in overnight Taliban siege

Kabul hotel attack: 19 dead, including 14 foreigners, in overnight Taliban siegeAt least 19 people were killed during a 13 hour siege after Taliban gunmen in army uniforms stormed a luxury Kabul hotel popular with Afghan officials and foreigners. Eyewitnesses described how the gunmen deliberately targeted foreigners as they rampaged through the six-floor Intercontinental Hotel.   One Afghan man told the BBC that he was spared by militants who shouted "Where are the foreigners?" as they ran into the hotel's restaurant at around 9pm local time on Saturday night. At least 14 of the dead were believed to be foreign nationals, among them two Venezuelans and six Ukrainians. The gun battle ended on Sunday morning as Afghan special forces killed the last of the six gunmen, who were armed with grenades, automatic weapons and suicide vests. By 10am, Special Forces could be seen sweeping the roof of the hotel as firefighters attempted to extinguish a blaze which had ripped through the sixth floor. Thick clouds of black smoke could be seen pouring from the building, an imposing 1960s structure set on a hilltop. Afghan security personnel stand guard as black smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul Credit: AP Photo/Rahmat Gul Some 150 desperate staff and guests managed to escape the building throughout the night, amid heavy gunfire and explosions. One witness told AFP that the hotel's security team fled "without a fight". Dramatic footage showed people clambering down from upper-floor balconies using bedsheets tied together. Telecoms executive Aziz Tayeb posted a desperate plea on Facebook from a hiding place behind a pillar as attackers sprayed guests and staff with bullets: "Pray for me. I may die." Mr Tayeb was at the hotel for a major IT conference set to take place yesterday. The Intercontinental hotel in Kabul is under siege from gunmen. Credit: Reuters Abdul Rahman Naseri, also at the hotel for the conference, described how he saw four gunmen dressed in army uniforms. "They were shouting in Pashto, 'Don't leave any of them alive, good or bad'. 'Shoot and kill them all,’ one of them shouted," Mr Naseri said. "I ran to my room on the second floor. I opened the window and tried to get out using a tree but the branch broke and I fell to the ground. I hurt my back and broke a leg." The attackers are believed to have got into the hotel via the kitchen, and a worker in the restaurant said the men had sat down and ordered food, before opening fire. A man tries to escape from a balcony at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel during an attack by gunmen  Credit: Reuters "They were wearing very stylish clothes," the man, named as Haseeb, told Tolo News. "They came to me and asked for food. I served them the food and they thanked me and took their seats. Then they took out their weapons and started shooting the people." A senior security official said that the attackers had moved directly from the first floor to the fourth and fifth floors, suggesting the attack had been carefully prepared, possibly with inside help. An Afghan policeman keeps watch near the site of an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit:  REUTERS "When the sixth floor caught fire this morning, my roommate told me, either burn or escape," said Mohammad Musa, who was hiding in his room on the top floor. "I got a bed sheet and tied it to the balcony. I tried to come down but I was heavy and my arms were not strong enough. I fell down and injured my shoulder and leg.""There were dozens of dead bodies lying around me." The Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul was previously targeted in 2011. Credit: Reuters Wahid Majroh, a spokesman for the ministry of public health, last night said 19 bodies had been brought into the city's hospitals, but a senior Afghan security official said the death toll was over 30 and might climb higher. At least 11 of the dead worked for private Afghan airline Kam Air, which on Sunday suspended domestic flights. It said a further 14 emloyees were still missing. A security personnel points his weapon near the Intercontinental Hotel after a deadly attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit: Massoud Hossaini Also among the dead was Dr Abdullah Waheed Poyan, a well-respected academic who had worked for the Afghan diplomatic corps. Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said a private company had taken over responsibility for security at the hotel three weeks ago and there would be an investigation into possible failings, just days after a US embassy warning of possible attacks on hotels in Kabul. Afghan security forces arrive the site of an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit:  REUTERS The raid was the latest in a series of attacks that have underlined the city's vulnerability and the ability of militants to mount high-profile operations aimed at undermining confidence in the Western-backed government. The Taliban, which attacked the same hotel in 2011, claimed responsibility for the attack, its spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.



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Taliban lays claim to deadly attack on Kabul hotel

Taliban lays claim to deadly attack on Kabul hotelGunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Kabul and killed at least 18 people, most of them foreigners, sparking a 12-hour battle with Afghan forces backed by Norwegian troops that left terrified guests scrambling to escape. Several Ukrainians were among those killed in the Taliban-claimed assault on the six-storey Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital, Ukrainian foreign ministry official Vasyl Kyrylych confirmed to AFP, adding that more information would be released Monday. Afghan interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said 14 foreigners were among the dead, but did not specify their nationalities, in comments to Afghanistan’s Tolo News hours after the overnight attack that ended Sunday.



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Joshua Boyle: Canadian father held hostage by Taliban in Afghanistan for five years charged with sexual assault

Joshua Boyle: Canadian father held hostage by Taliban in Afghanistan for five years charged with sexual assaultA father held hostage by Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan for five years has been charged with sexual assault. Joshua Boyle, 34, who with his wife Caitlan Coleman Boyle was captured by the Haqqani network in Afghanistan in October 2012, will have his case discussed during a brief preliminary hearing at a court in Ottowa, Canada, on Wednesday. The Canadian citizen, whose American wife gave birth to their three children while in captivity, faces a total of 15 charges, including eight counts of assault, two of sexual assault, two claims of unlawful confinement, and one accusation of uttering death threats.



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