Monday, August 10

Afghanistan - Sat: 29 security forces killed. Sun: 6 police killed. Mon: Rocket attack on Kabul foiled

Map of Afghan provinces; note the wide distribution of 4 provinces under discussion: Kunduz, Helmand, Kabul, Sari-i-Pul ("Sar-e Pol")


I've termed the 29 who were killed late Saturday night "security forces" because there's disagreement in news reports about their status:

The New York Times report on June 9, filed by Najim Rahim (from Kunduz) and Mujib Mashal (Kabul) was headlined 
KUNDUZ, Afghanistan — At least 29 people were killed and 19 others wounded in a suicide bombing targeting a militia in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, Afghan officials said Sunday.

The target of the attack in Kunduz was a militia commander called Qadir, who controls about 100 men, according to Hayatullah Amiri, the governor of Khanabad. The bombing took place as Mr. Qadir, who uses one name, and his men were leaving a meeting.

As part of a Taliban offensive in the north that has caught the Afghan government off guard, large parts of Kunduz Province, including its capital city, have come under Taliban fire in recent months. The sudden escalation of violence has forced the Afghan government to rely on militias that were supposed to have been disarmed in a program paid for with hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid.
A small sub-unit of Mr. Qadir’s militia was fighting on behalf of the government in an area of Kunduz recently overrun by the Taliban, Mr. Amiri said.
But an earlier report on Sunday, from Afghanistan's TOLOnews, while citing a lower initial estimated casualty figure, has a different story about the targets of the bombing:
At least 22 people including local policemen were killed in a suicide bomb attack in northern Kunduz province on Saturday night, local officials said.
In addition, 12 others were injured.
The attack took place in Khan Abad district of the province when local policemen and residents of the district had gathered to discuss the security situation, head of Provincial Council, Mohammad Yousuf Ayoubi said.
"They had gathered at a fuel pump station on Saturday night and a suicide car bomber detonated his explosive near the station," Ayoubi said.
"Civilians are also among the dead," he said.
However, security officials have not yet commented.
No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
This year, the insurgents have increased their activities in the province and frequently attack the local security forces posts.
Currently insurgents have taken control of most parts of Chahardara, Dasht-e-Archi, Ali Abad, Qala-e-Zal, Khan Abad and Imam Sahib districts of the province and are engaged in ongoing clashes with the security forces.
The Tailiban did confirm in an email to Voice of America that they were the attackers.  

I note the different sources in the two reports: NYT quotes the governor of Khanabad (or Khan Abad) district, while TOLO spoke with the head of Khanabad's Provincial Council. The latter provided details about the attack that the governor didn't.  


On Sunday, August 9, there was another attack, as reported by TOLOnews this morning local time:
Six policemen were killed in a Taliban attack on a police outpost in southern Helmand province, sources said on Monday.
In addition, two other policemen were injured and another is missing.
The attack took place in Kobandi area in Sangin district of the province two days ago after Taliban insurgents attacked the police and started clashes, said the source.
Meanwhile, Nabi Jan Mullahkhil, the Helmand Police Chief has confirmed the clashes but rejects claims of casualties among policemen. ‎
Mullahkhil said that two Taliban insurgents have been killed and a policeman was injured in the clashes.
However, the Taliban have not yet commented about the incident.
Rocket attack foiled on Kabul city
By KHAAMA PRESS/ Afghan News Agency
August 10 2015 -- 11:03 am [local time]
The Afghan national security forces thwarted a plot by the militant groups to fire a rocket on Kabul city, Kabul police said Monday.
The BM-1 rocket was discovered by the security forces from Qalacha area where the militants had set it up to fire on Kabul city.
In a separate operation the security forces discovered and defused an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted in a roadside in Paghman district of Kabul.
The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the reports so far.
This comes as the Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the group launched its summer offensive earlier this year and since then staged numerous attacks across the country including capital Kabul.


ANA soldiers among scores dead in Sar-i-Pul offensive
By Pajhwok Report
August 09, 2015 - 14:54

(SAR-I-PUL) At least 67 Taliban insurgents and six others Afghan National Army (ANA) were killed and injured in anti-militants offensive in the Kohistanat district of northern Sar-i-Pul province, an official said on Sunday.

The operation codenamed Shamshir –Do (Sword-2) started on Tuesday to purge the district of anti-state elements. The district fell to Taliban last month.

Lt. Gen. Karamuddin Yawar, deputy interior ministr, headed the operation amid claims that 40 militants were killed and 27 others wounded in the ensuing clashes.

He acknowledged three ANA soldiers were died and three others wounded in the firefight with insurgents. He said that Afghan security forces took back control of several villages and a district.

Yawar said that security forces secured control of Parkham and Peech areas where local population announced support to the country’s security forces.

However, Taliban claimed killing 40 security personnel in the clashes. [Pundita note:  The Taliban tend to inflate their kill numbers]



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