News / Asia

    Afghan Forces Kill 7 Insurgents After Airport Attack

    An Afghan security officer stands near the body of an insurgent killed in a battle near Kabul airport, Afghanistan, June, 10, 2013.
    An Afghan security officer stands near the body of an insurgent killed in a battle near Kabul airport, Afghanistan, June, 10, 2013.
    Taliban fighters, including suicide bombers, attacked Kabul's airport Monday morning. The airport handles civilian air traffic, but also houses NATO military facilities. The insurgent attack is the latest in a series of strikes targeting international organizations operating in Afghanistan.

    Explosions and rocket fire were heard in the capital early Monday morning, as seven Taliban militants attacked the Kabul airport, apparently in an attempt to strike at NATO operations there.

    In a message to the media, the Taliban claims responsibility for the attack, which it says was aimed at the “foreign military side” of the airport.

    The message also claims to have inflicted major casualties, but Afghan officials say that no Afghan forces died in the fight. The Taliban often exaggerates casualty numbers.

    Taliban assaults on the strongly guarded airport are unusual. But the Taliban recently have ramped up their annual so-called Spring offensive as national forces continue to take on more security responsibilities ahead of international troop withdrawal in 2014.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi says seven militants, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons, tried and failed to penetrate the airport.

    "Our forces today proved that we can foil any kind of attack, especially those complex and difficult terrorist attacks like today," said Sediqqi.

    • Blood is seen on the wall of a building after an attack in Kabul, June 10, 2013.
    • Afghan security personnel investigate the site of an attack in Kabul, June 10, 2013.
    • Afghan soldiers patrol a building after a Taliban attack near Kabul airport, June, 10, 2013.
    • Members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force arrive at the site of an attack in Kabul, June 10, 2013.

    As explosions and gunfire shook the area, security forces quickly shut down roads leading to the airport and canceled all flights leaving the capital.

    Kabul police Chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi, says Afghan security forces successfully cleared the area after a four-hour gun battle with the militants.

    He thanked God the attack did not affect the installations or the airplanes at the airport. There was just one empty structure that was hit.

    On the same day, six suicide bombers launched an attack against three provincial government buildings in southern Zabul province, killing three police and wounding another 18 people.

    In addition to hitting Afghan targets, in May Taliban militants attacked International Organization for Migration in Kabul and offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

    The ICRC temporarily withdrew some of its non-Afghan staff as a precaution. Afghanistan is one of the ICRC’s biggest operations, with some 1,800 staff members working in 17 locations around the country.

    The United Nations says the last two weeks of May saw a sharp increase in civilian casualties in the conflict compared to the same period last year.

    Analyst Omar Sharifi of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies says the Taliban is trying to establish its power during the transition period.

    “The whole idea of these high-profile attacks is - one of the main ideas behind it - is to disrupt the transition process and more importantly to remain relevant in Afghan political development currently, because we are in the year of elections campaign. And, if they manage to disrupt this and remain relevant then they think they will probably have an effect in post-14 [after 2014] developments,” he said.

    Sharifi says that there is not one monolithic Taliban command directing the militant attacks, but rather several command groups fighting for power in different areas of the country.

    Afghanistan is to hold national elections in April 2014, just months before the final pullout of all international combat forces in the country.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora