News / Asia

Afghan Forces Repel Taliban Attack Near Presidential Palace

Afghan security forces near entrance gate of presidential palace in Kabul, June 25, 2013.
Afghan security forces near entrance gate of presidential palace in Kabul, June 25, 2013.
Sharon Behn
Afghan forces on Tuesday repelled an early morning Taliban attack on an entrance to the Presidential Palace compound, killing all of the militants involved.  The attack took place as a U.S. envoy was in the Afghan capital to push along peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
 
Witnesses say explosions and gunfire erupted around the palace in central Kabul as militants tried to enter the fortified complex housing the presidential palace, the Afghan Defense Ministry, the U.S. Embassy and a former hotel apparently used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
 
News reporters had been called to the palace for a press briefing on the status of peace talks with the Taliban.
 
Kabul police chief General Mohammed Ayoub Salangi said the attackers, dressed in uniform and carrying false identification papers, had made it past some initial checkpoints. They then tried to drive into one of the gates to the highly-secured compound.
 
“A Land Cruiser car using fake ID came to the gate," he said. "While the guards were asking them to show the ID, two to three people came out from the car, and the car exploded. The guards killed all the attackers. The situation is now under control.”
 
Officials later said two vehicles full of explosives were involved in the attack but that neither got close to the presidential palace. At least two Afghan security guards died.
 
It was not clear where President Hamid Karzai was at the time of the blast, but officials said he was safe.
 
The Taliban sent messages to local reporters claiming responsibility for the attack. The militants claimed to have “brought death to the enemy” and said that eight of their fighters had died in the attack.
 
U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham condemned the attack in a statement. He said the outcome demonstrated the futility of the Taliban's efforts to use violence to achieve their goals, and called on the militant group to talk to the Afghan government on peace and reconciliation.
 
The Taliban have carried out a number of attacks across the country this year despite efforts to start peace talks with the militant group.

Hamid Farooqi, a professor and former Karzai cabinet minister, said both the government forces and the militants were ramping up their fight in an effort to gain the upper hand before they sit down at the table to talk peace.
 
“I think both sides are trying to get some more ground on the field, try to get a higher advantage on their peace negotiation. That is what I believe is happening on both sides.”
 
According to the United Nations, civilian casualties in the country are up 24 percent over the same period last year, an estimated 75 percent of which are due to violent conflict.
 
Tuesday’s explosion came as U.S. envoy James Dobbins was leaving Kabul after talks with Karzai on how to push forward reconciliation talks between the Afghan leadership and the Taliban. Dobbins arrived in neighboring Pakistan later Tuesday, where he was expected to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
 
Expected talks on ending 12 years of war with the militant group in Doha, Qatar, fell apart when the Taliban hoisted the flag under which they ruled Afghanistan for five years, causing Kabul to boycott.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 25, 2013 8:52 PM
If Taliban can transport two vehicles full of explosives, what the heck was done by the multitude of check points in Kabul operated by the Afghan army. If Taliban can explode two vehicles full of explosives in the outer perimeter of the Presidential Palace and the CIA headquarters in the heart of Kabul, who is safe 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs