Friday, August 7

Attack on US military base in Kabul, still underway as of 8:00 PM EDT (UPDATED)

UPDATE 4:45 AM EDT - Fog of War
From TOLOnews (Afghanistan) 
Gunmen Attack NATO Base Near Kabul International Airport
Saturday, 08 August 2015 09:45 Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2015 10:45
By Sonil Haidari
Two gunmen attacked a NATO base near Kabul International Airport late Friday, killing a Resolute Support service member, RS mission said in a statement.
"A Resolute Support service member was killed during an attack on a coalition facility in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 7, 2015," the statement said.
The statement added that a coalition facility (Camp Integrity) was attacked at 10:15pm on Fiday. One Resolute Support service member and two insurgent attackers were killed.
"We are gathering further information."
However, the statement did not provide the identity of the service member.
The Afghan local security officials have not yet commented on the attack.
The first report I heard about the attack was on the radio last night from CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr; she said this was the third large complex attack on Friday in Afghanistan. Two gunmen doesn't sound like a large complex attack. But still no word on whether the shootout or whatever has ended.  Also, the earlier reports described Camp Integrity as a U.S. Special Operations forces base, although I suppose that could be considered a NATO base.

Fog of war.

By Margherita Stancati and Habib Khan Totakhil
August 7 - 8:24 PM EDT
The Wall Street Journal
KABUL—Militants attacked a U.S. Special Operations forces base on Friday night, hours after deadly explosions targeted a Kabul police academy and an Afghan army compound, Afghan and foreign officials said.
An explosion took place outside the headquarters of the U.S. military’s elite special forces in the Afghan capital, triggering a firefight that was continuing, foreign officials said. The base, known as Camp Integrity, is a fortified compound close to Kabul’s airport. At least three Americans were injured in the attack on the camp, a foreign official said.
“There was an attack on Camp Integrity at approximately 10:15 p.m. local time. We are gathering further information,” said U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Two insurgents were killed in the attack on the camp, Col. Tribus said.
This is the third large 'complex' attack in or near Kabul today.  The two earlier ones took place in the afternoon and the early morning.  The WSJ report claims that the early morning attack targeted the Afghan Army compound in Kabul. (See rest of the report, below.) But in an interview that TOLOnews conducted with former NDS chief Amrullah Saleh about the attack, Saleh said:
[...] that C4 and Centex materials were used in the blast. The main target of the truck bombing was Pashtoonistan Square, situated near the presidential palace, to destroy the Central Bank of Afghanistan and Justice ministry building.  
ALso, the latest update from TOLOnews is that "at least" 26 police cadets were killed in the afternoon blast and 27 were injured. So the figure cited by WSJ reflects an earlier assessment.  To return to the WSJ report:
The attack took place hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up among students at an Afghan police academy in Kabul, a senior Afghan security official said. Besides at least 20 fatalities, at least 20 people were wounded.
The Taliban, which is waging an insurgency against the Afghan government and its foreign allies, took responsibility for the police academy attack. No one claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Afghan army compound or U.S. base.
Friday’s violence ended a monthlong lull in the Afghan capital and was shocking even by Kabul’s grim standard. It came at a time of deep divisions within the Taliban’s leadership, following news the group’s founder and leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has been dead for over two years.
Early in the morning, a truck bomb targeted the Afghan army compound, causing vast damage to residential buildings and a market area in Kabul’s Shah Shaheed neighborhood. At least 15 people were killed and several hundred wounded in the attack, Afghan officials said.
The bomb went off at around 1 a.m. local time. Multistory buildings collapsed, storefronts were ripped up and charred cars were scattered. The explosion left a crater several yards deep and as wide as the street, and it shattered the windows of houses far away.
Medical workers were assessing the human toll of the attack. The majority of the wounded suffered minor injuries, many of them caused by broken glass. Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, updated the casualty figures on Friday afternoon, saying 30 children were among the wounded. The ministry of health earlier said as many as 400 people had been injured.
Hours after the blast, Ahmad Khan was surveying what was left of his shop, located a few hundred yards from the blast site.
“My shop is destroyed. I put my lifetime savings into it,” said Mr. Khan, who used to sell spare parts for cars. “What kind of jihad is this?” he asked, waving pieces of a Quran that was torn to pieces.
Kheyal Ahmad, a resident of Shah Shaheed, said his family was sleeping when the explosion blew out the windows of his house. “The explosion woke us all up. It was so close it almost felt like it happened inside our house. The children were crying and we could smell the smoke of the blast,” he said. “There are only ruins in the neighborhood.

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