News / Asia

    Taliban Attacks Afghan Election Headquarters

    Afghan policemen rush to the scene of Taliban militant attack on main election commission's headquarters, outskirts of Kabul, March 29, 2014.
    Afghan policemen rush to the scene of Taliban militant attack on main election commission's headquarters, outskirts of Kabul, March 29, 2014.
    Sharon Behn
    Taliban militants on Saturday attacked the headquarters of the Afghan Independent Election Commission, the latest in a series of attacks across the capital. The assault, in which five militants were killed, took place shortly before a press conference was to begin on the April 5 vote.

    The sound of shooting echoed once again in the streets of Kabul on Saturday. This time, Taliban militants climbed onto a roof to shoot rockets into the heavily-protected compound of the Independent Election Commission.

    Election officials ran for refuge in special safe rooms in the building, built to withstand such attacks.
     
    The Taliban quickly took responsibility for the assault, the latest in a series of attacks across the city that has left more than two dozen dead, including three children, in the last 10 days.
     
    Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Seddiqui said the militants were holed up in a building near the IEC complex and were surrounded by elite police forces.
     
    “There’s a house, an empty house, a private house, which was taken by some four terrorists, and they have been surrounded by the police. We are still waiting for the standoff to be over. They entered that house to launch attacks on the IEC office,” he said.
     
    As Seddiqui was speaking, the militant group was posting live updates of its version of the gun battle over Twitter. By mid-afternoon the group claimed the “martyrdom attack” was ongoing and all the fighters were still alive.
     
    Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir said by late afternoon most of the fighting was over, and there were no casualties among IEC personnel or security forces. Zahir confirmed reports the attackers had gained entry to the house dressed in burqas, the traditional covering used by women in Afghanistan.
     
    The assault, which took place not far from the airport, forced one plane arriving from western Afghanistan to turn back.

    Story continues below video: Afghan Presidential Candidates Promise Peace
    The Taliban, which dismisses the April 5 elections as a Western sham, has vowed to disrupt the vote and punish those who participate. The militant network has claimed responsibility for a spate of bloody attacks across the country.
     
    The constant bomb and gun violence comes just a week before Afghanistan’s presidential elections.
     
    Many worry that the attacks will deter voters from casting their ballots. Already several hundred polling stations have been shut down.
     
    But Seddiqui insisted the violence would not derail what is seen as a pivotal election for Afghanistan.

    “We believe our elections have lots of enemies, and they are showing themselves, they will attack, but these attacks will not deter us or the people of Afghanistan from going to the polling stations,” he said.
     
    The Independent Election Commission is responsible for administering and supervising the elections. Militants armed with bombs and guns attacked one of the IEC sub-offices in Kabul earlier in the week. Ten people were killed, including five militants.
     
    The April vote is the first time power will be transferred to a new political leader via the ballot since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Owerri ,Nigeria.
    March 30, 2014 3:34 AM
    Weapons don't grow like Opium in Afghanistan so cut every possible supply rout and deal with Pakistan who aid the Taliban and then get the confused Kazai out for greater peace to rain and last.

    by: Вася
    March 29, 2014 5:37 PM
    It's funny how they tried to hold talks with these maniacs.

    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    March 29, 2014 9:46 AM
    USA must cut the supply route of Taliban.Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the main helping hand of Taliban. USA must strike Taliban Head Quarter & Training centre, whether in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. Pakistan will not take any harsh action against Taliban and its Allied Jihadi because of SAUDI AID. So USA should take action against Taliban in a very harsh way if USA wants a durable peace in Afghanistan.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.