Monday, June 10, 2013

Afghan troops battle insurgent at key targets including Kabul airport

Australian June 10, 2013:--

TALIBAN insurgents launched a series of attacks on government and military targets across Afghanistan today, beginning with a pre-dawn strike on Kabul international airport that forced flights to a halt as Afghan battled Afghan for control of the capital.

The city awoke to rocket attacks and semi-automatic gun fire around 4.30am after seven gunmen in police uniforms seized two multi-storey, residential construction sites near the busy airport, which also hosts a US-led NATO military base.

A quick response unit of the Kabul police force, backed by Afghan soldiers, battled the insurgents for several hours before taking control of the buildings around 8am.

Kabul police chief Ayub Salangi said two suicide bombers detonated their vests and the remaining five attackers were killed by Afghan forces. Two civilians were treated for minor injuries but there were no Afghan troop casualties.

VIDEO: Kabul siege ends


Kabul siege ends

Within hours, strikes were also repelled on the district governor\'s compound in the nearby city of Surobi, and in Qalat, the capital of southern Zabul Province, where six insurgents were killed during an assault on an Afghan election commission voter registration office there. Three police were wounded.

Kabul airport\'s civilian chief Yaqub Rassouli confirmed the airport was closed for most of the morning and all civilian aircraft diverted or cancelled, though flights had resumed by noon.

Interior Ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqi said the rapid response of Afghan troops, which battled insurgents in all three cities without the support of coalition forces, demonstrated the growing capacity of local security to deal with the insurgency as the US and NATO-led coalition prepares to withdraw in 2014.

NATO is scheduled this month to announce the fifth and final transition of security to Afghan forces.

\"The capability and response to these attacks was very important and is yet another example of the strength of Afghan security forces. If (insurgents) organise multiple attacks we\'re able to give a strong and quick response,\" Mr Siddiqi said.

He added there were \"clear signs\" that fighters from the al-Qa\'ida-allied Haqqani network were also involved in the attack, because they wore the same clothes and had the same appearance as \"those who have just come from safe havens\".

Earlier Mr Siddiqi told The Australian the government was \"celebrating a victory\" in Kabul where police had regained control of the area within four hours of the first rocket attack.

But there would be an investigation into how the insurgents were able to infiltrate the city\'s \"ring of steel\", and a further review of security at construction sites which have become a favoured launch for insurgent attacks.

\"We have to look into the security measures we have in place, especially in Kabul. If (insurgents) are able to reach into the cities then there could be some problems, not only within the police,\" he said, suggesting the gunmen could have been aided by elements within the security forces.

Taliban infiltration of local forces continues to pose a deadly problem for the coalition, with two US soldiers and a US civilian killed in the latest insider attack by an Afghan soldier in Paktika province last weekend.

A Taliban spokesman confirmed the Kabul strike was aimed at the military section of the airport, and US forces stationed there.

Yesterday President Hamid Karzai flew to the Qatari capital Doha to kick start faltering peace talks with the Taliban command. It was not clear when he was due to return to Kabul

The strike is the second on the capital in just over a fortnight, after militants killed two policemen and a civilian during an attack on the office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a United Nations contractor which coordinates the return of refugees, including from Australia.

News From:

No comments:

eXTReMe Tracker