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May 25, 2016

Taliban leader \’likely killed\’ in U.S air strike

Taliban leader ‘likely killed’ in U.S air strike

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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A statement from Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security is the first confirmation that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour is officially dead. The Afghan Taliban leadership council met on Sunday to discuss succession after US drone strikes in Pakistan targeted and killed the leader late on Friday night (local time). This was also confirmed by Reuters on Monday, who cited two Taliban sources.

On Saturday, the US officials reported that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was targeted and killed. The strikes took place in a remote area of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan.

If confirmed, the death could have major ramifications on the terrorist organisation, with many experts suggesting that such a move could further stall the on-going peace talks between the Taliban and the US.

A Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook confirmed in a statement that the attack had taken place but refused to speculate on Mansour’s fate. In the statement, Cook said “(Mansour) has been the leader of the Taliban and actively involved with planning attacks against facilities in Kabul and across Afghanistan, presenting a threat to Afghan civilians and security forces, our personnel, and Coalition partner”.

Mansour was appointed as leader of the terrorist organisation in July 2015 after revelations surfaced that the group founder Mullah Omar had been dead for over two years.

Mr. Cook said officials were still in the process of assessing results and more information would be provided when it comes to hand.


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March 28, 2016

Bomb explosion in Lahore kills 69 on Easter

Bomb explosion in Lahore kills 69 on Easter

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Monday, March 28, 2016

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A suicide bombing killed more than 65 people in Lahore city of Pakistan, yesterday evening in Gulshan–e–Iqbal park. More than 280 people are injured by it. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a member of Taliban claimed the responsibility of the bombing which detonated just a few feets away from the swing-set.

map of Lahore
Image: Nomi887.

Cquote1.svg When the blast occurred, the flames were so high they reached above the trees and I saw bodies flying in the air. Cquote2.svg

—Hasan Imran, eye-witness

The bombing was to target the Christian minority in the nation. Ehansullah Ehsan told Tribune, a Pakistani news agency that “We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter”. State of emergency was declared in the city.

A 30-year-old eye-witness Hasan Imran said, “When the blast occurred, the flames were so high they reached above the trees and I saw bodies flying in the air.” The country is in continuous threat of Taliban. In 2014, 140 children were killed in the Peshawar school attacks.

After the incident, White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price, in a statement said “The United States stands with the people and government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. We will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region … to root out the scourge of terrorism”. Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolence to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by telephoning him and said “The coward terrorists attacked children and women […] It’s condemnable to attack innocent children and women. We are with Pakistani nation at the time of this grief moment.”

Reuters reported that hundreds of citizen went and donated blood for the needy. Punjab minister Shehbaz Sharif announced three-day mourning.

Facebook added the security check for people to mark them safe.


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Bomb explosion in Lahore kills more than 65 on Easter

Bomb explosion in Lahore kills more than 65 on Easter

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Pakistan
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A suicide bombing killed more than 65 people, by varying reports, in Lahore, Pakistan, yesterday evening in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park. More than 280 people were injured. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Taliban-offshoot group, claimed the responsibility of the bombing which detonated just a few feet away from the swing-set.

map of Lahore
Image: Nomi887.

Cquote1.svg When the blast occurred, the flames were so high they reached above the trees and I saw bodies flying in the air. Cquote2.svg

—Hasan Imran, eye-witness

The claimant group said the bombing targeted the Christian minority in the nation. Ehansullah Ehsan told The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper, “We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter“.

A 30-year-old eye-witness Hasan Imran said, in remarks to Reuters, “When the blast occurred, the flames were so high they reached above the trees and I saw bodies flying in the air.” The country has had continuing problems with the Taliban. In 2014, more than 140 people were killed in a Peshawar school attack.

After the incident, White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price in a statement said “The United States stands with the people and government of Pakistan at this difficult hour. We will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region […] to root out the scourge of terrorism”. Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolence to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by telephoning him; and said “The coward terrorists attacked children and women […] It’s condemnable to attack innocent children and women. We are with Pakistani nation at [this] time”.

Reuters reported hundreds of citizens donated blood for the needy. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced three-day mourning.

Facebook added the security check for people to mark themselves safe after the incident.


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February 7, 2016

Pakistani motorbike suicide bomber kills at least eight, injures at least twenty

Pakistani motorbike suicide bomber kills at least eight, injures at least twenty

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

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Yesterday, a suicide bomber on a motorbike killed eight and injures 20 in Pakistan.

The suicide bombing attack took place on Saturday evening outside a district court in Quetta, Pakistan, said a Quetta police official confirmed.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack according to Mohammad Khurrassani.

A 12 year old girl was among the deaths.

A motorcycle with explosives rammed into a Pakistani security forces vehicle.

The blast shattered glass in homes and buildings in Quetta.

A doctor at a local hospital says at least five people were hurt seriously.


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January 1, 2016

Russia ready to cooperate with Taliban, considers NATO as threat

Russia ready to cooperate with Taliban, considers NATO as threat

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Politics and conflicts
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an updated National Security Paper describing Nato‘s expansion as a threat to the country. Two days earlier, Russian President’s special envoy to Afghanistan stated that his country was ready to cooperate with Taliban. After having expanded Russia’s territory into Ukraine and caused an ongoing war, and after strengthening his support to al Assad in Syria and bringing his country into another crisis with a Nato member and own ex-ally Turkey, the Russian President now declares Nato as threat to the Russian Federation, while his envoy to Afghanistan qualifies Nato actions as a “total failure” and calls for cooperation with Taliban.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

On December 29, while assessing the impact of the ISAF for Afghanistan (International Security Assistance Force), the Russian President’s special envoy , Zamir Kabulov, told Russian news Agency TASS that the U.S. NATO mission in Afghanistan had been a total failure.

“Assessing the results of the actions of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, it can be said that they have completely failed their mission”, Kabulov stated in an interview to a Russian news agency. He added that NATO campaign’s eventual aim of creating a “democratised central state'” by fighting terrorism did not succeed. According to Kabulov, Afghan governmental forces “show inability to affect the situation due to a lack of arms and equipment, as well as an insufficient level of training and low morale.”

Kabulov mentioned Russia’s support to Kaboul and its intention of “consistently lend[ing] comprehensive assistance” to central State. Russia supports the Afghan policy of national reconciliation and “is ready to be flexible over a potential easing of the UN Security Council’s sanctions regime against Taliban if it does not contradict the Afghan national interests,” Kabulov stated.

The special envoy also alleged that the National Reconciliation Policy supported by NATO would bring the Taliban back into the executive : “No one is talking today about achieving a victory by military means over the Taliban, while the implementation of the national reconciliation policy would in practice mean their return to power”.

“I have already said earlier that we and the Taliban have channels for exchanging information,” Kabulov added, in remarks reported by Interfax and confirmed to The Washington Post by a ministry spokesman.

The Russian President signed a national security paper alleging that Russia’s “independent domestic and foreign policy” compelled the U.S and its allies to “counter-action’, describing these countries as imperialist powers threatening Russia from all sides. Putin brought back memories of the Cold War when Stalin put forward American Imperalism as a reason to buil a united ‘independent socialist’ front. Its seems that the Russian President wants to be considered by the US as an equal partner by maintaining its influence in Central Asia and Eastern Mediterranean, hence reinforcing its negotiation power with Europe as well.

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December 23, 2015

Suicide bombing in Afghanistan kills six US NATO members

Suicide bombing in Afghanistan kills six US NATO members

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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On Monday, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a motorcycle in Bagram District, Afghanistan. The bombing killed six US NATO service members and injured several others.

According to NATO and Afghan officials, the bombing occurred at 1:30pm local time in a village near Bagram Airfield. Bagram Airfield is located about 40 km (25 mi) north of Kabul, the Afghan capital.

The bombing killed six US NATO soldiers. The US Department of Defense delayed officially releasing their names, following policy, but all the victims have been identified.

One of them is Joseph Lemm, aged 45. Lemm served fifteen years as an officer of the New York City Police Department and has a wife and two children.

Another is Adrianna Vorderbruggen, an openly lesbian US Air Force major. Vorderbruggen advocated repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and is now married to her same-sex partner. The couple has a son.

The others are Peter Taub from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Michael Anthony Cinco from Rio Grande Valley, Texas, age 28; Chester McBride Jr., Statesboro, Georgia; and Louis Bonacasa, Coram, New York.

The bombing also injured others, including two US military personnel and, according to an Afghan official, three local police officers.

Via email and Twitter, the Taliban, whose regime the US overthrew after invading the country in 2001, claimed responsibility to the bombing.

Currently, about 10,000 US, and less than half as many NATO, military personnel remain in Afghanistan.



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October 5, 2015

Civilian deaths as U.S. bombs hospital in Afghanistan

Civilian deaths as U.S. bombs hospital in Afghanistan

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Kunduz province in Afghanistan.
Image: User:TUBS.

The location of the hospital in Kunduz.
Image: © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Twenty two civilians, including three children, died, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported, on Saturday after a United States airstrike hit a hospital in the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Amongst the fatalities were twelve charity staff working for MSF. MSF said there were about two hundred people in the building.

Cquote1.svg Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body. Cquote2.svg

—Médecins Sans Frontières

Cquote1.svg The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. Cquote2.svg

—United States military

A statement was issued on the MSF website criticising the attack and stating “Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body.” The US military released a statement saying they had struck “against individuals threatening the force” and “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.” The US Government announced there would be three separate investigations, carried out by the Afghan forces, the US military, and NATO. The Afghan interior ministry claimed there had been a Taliban presence in the hospital although this was denied by the insurgent organization.

The attack was also condemned by the International Committee of the Red Cross, whilst the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, described the strike as “inexcusable” and called for a full investigation.

On September 28, the Taliban launched an assault on Kunduz. The US has been carrying out air strikes to support Afghan government forces attempting to recover the city. MSF said it had often provided the Afghan and US governments with details of the location of the hospital, particularly on September 29. The Taliban had unsuccessfully tried to capture Kunduz in April this year, but they were pushed back by government forces.



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Kunduz hospital airstrike
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Battle of Kunduz

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September 29, 2014

New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sworn in

New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sworn in

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Monday, September 29, 2014

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Today Ashraf Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister and World Bank official, was sworn in as President of Afghanistan following a months-long dispute over election results.

Ashraf Ghani in July 2011
Image: US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The transfer of power from former President Hamid Karzai marks the first democratic leadership transition in Afghanistan’s history, and follows a power sharing agreement with Ghani’s fellow Presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. Both men had previously claimed victory in the election last June, with the United Nations overseeing a recount of the ballot.

As part of the agreement between the two sides, Ghani’s first presidential act was to create the position of chief executive, filled by Abdullah, with Prime Minster-like powers.

The new Government already faces many challenges, made worse by the months of political uncertainty.

Afghanistan has already requested $537 million from international donors to help pay the country’s bills to year’s end, with an official of the Finance Ministry admitting October civil service salary payments have had to be delayed.

The government also have to deal with the security threat posed by the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami, two loosely allied Islamist factions. Most international troops, present in the country since 2001, are expected to leave by year’s end, with Karzai previously unwilling to sign security agreements allowing others to stay. The government is to sign one such agreement with representatives from the United States embassy tomorrow, US officials said.



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August 28, 2014

Candidates walk out of Afghan election audit

Candidates walk out of Afghan election audit

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

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  • 29 September 2014: New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sworn in
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Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew their observers from the ongoing audit of votes yesterday, following the June presidential election.

Abdullah Abdullah
Image: US Department of State.

Abdullah’s observers declined to participate, claiming fraudulent ballots were not being thrown out and questioning the legitimacy of the process. Ghani’s observers were later asked to withdraw by the United Nations monitors overseeing the process. They agreed, describing the decision as prudent.

The audit was continued in the afternoon.

The process of checking each of the eight million votes is part of a deal brokered by the US. The recount started a month ago. A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai has said the delay is affecting the country’s security, as the Taliban continue to launch attacks across the country. Analysts suggest it is also affecting the Afghan economy.

Both candidates have previously agreed to form a unity government involving the other. Abdullah’s side, trailing before the recount, is looking for more powers and responsibilities for the losing side, while their opposition apparently don’t want to weaken presidential power. Both candidates also agree US forces should stay in the country after 2014.



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  • “Taliban attacks in numbers amidst Afghani political stalemate” — Wikinews, August 22, 2014

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August 22, 2014

Taliban attacks in numbers amidst Afghani political stalemate

Taliban attacks in numbers amidst Afghani political stalemate

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Friday, August 22, 2014

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As a recount of the Afghan June run of presidential election continues, the Taliban have been launching attacks in greater numbers in an attempt to gain and hold territory.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Image: Staff Sgt Keith Thompson.

On Tuesday President Hamid Karzai called for an end of a two month election dispute that has seen the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, both claim to have won the election. Inter Press Service reported the turn out of eight million was at odds with the widespread lack of activity reported in polling stations during the vote. Each of these votes is now being individually checked in a process involving international observers in a full audit of the ballot papers. This process started in mid-July, with a target late this month for completion, allowing time for the new president to attend security talks with NATO.

A spokesman for President Karzai indicated, according to Reuters, the political stalemate has had a detrimental effect on the security situation in the country, with a corresponding increase in Taliban activity. NATO forces are expected to leave the country, subject to the security talks, and outgoing President Karzai has declined to sign a security deal with the United States which would keep a small number of US troops in the country until 2016, leaving the Afghan forces without support in their struggle against the Taliban.

The spokesman said the Taliban were acting more as a battalion, citing foreign reinforcements as the source of their apparent new-found strength. The militants are reported to be attempting to take and hold ground, targeting key areas to secure opium export, the source of much of the insurgency’s funding.

Recent examples of the Taliban’s new tactics include an attack from a group of 700 Taliban, in Logar Province near the capital, Kabul, the governor of the province told Reuters. An Afghan general, quoted by Reuters, said, “Airpower by the foreign troops is the key component to this battle and we have lost many men simply because we couldn’t ask our foreign partners for air strikes”. In the past similar group attacks have been fended off with the support of air power provided by the International Security Assistance Force, with minimal casualties to Afghan security forces.



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