News

    Afghan Forces Repel 18 Hour Attack in Kabul

    Afghan security personnel leave the area after a battle with Taliban insurgents who took over a building in Kabul, April 16, 2012.
    Afghan security personnel leave the area after a battle with Taliban insurgents who took over a building in Kabul, April 16, 2012.
    Brian Padden

    After early morning explosions and heavy gunfire on Monday shook the Afghan capital and three other Afghan provinces, the Ministry of Interior says fighting that began a day earlier has now ended. Authorities say more than 30 insurgents were killed in the attacks, as well as some soldiers, police officers and civilians.

    Hajji Matullah Seddiqi was finishing up his lunch on Sunday afternoon with his wife and two children when he heard gunshots. He looked outside and saw one of the gunmen's vehicles.

    “It's a big car, a land cruiser I think, its black," he said. "One man when he dropped down on the street he just fire, fire and the people are going, they want to empty the street first and they shot down on one people, one soldier.”

    Smoke rises from the site of an attack near the Afghan parliament in Kabul, April 15, 2012.
    Smoke rises from the site of an attack near the Afghan parliament in Kabul, April 15, 2012.
    He said the men shot several people before entering a nearby building, beginning an 18-hour standoff that ended early Monday. Seddiqi spent nearly all of it hiding with his family in his parent's basement.

    Afghan and international forces finally put down the assault following pre-dawn assaults by U.S.-led coalition helicopters. The Ministry of Interior reports the fighting has also ended in the eastern cities of Jalalabad, Gardez and Pul-e-Alam, where suicide bombers tried to storm a NATO base, an airport and police installations.

    General Carsten Jacobson, the spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, says the coordinated attacks all employed the same tactics.

    “Small groups, packages of handful or less, insurgents infiltrating mainly into buildings, using them as firing platforms, to indiscriminately to fire rocket-propelled grenades and machine weapons into government or military installations, more to gain effect than to cause real damage,” he said.

    The ISAF spokesman praised the increased capability of the Afghan-led forces, mostly police with support from the army, that battled and defeated the insurgents. NATO provided air support in response to requests from the Afghans.

    The goal of the small insurgent attacks, Jacobson says, was not to militarily defeat the Afghan forces, but to shake people's confidence and instill fear. The violence did show that the Taliban and their allies are still a determined enemy.

    Shukria Barakzai, a member of the Afghan parliament's defense committee, says the ability of the Taliban to infiltrate the heart of the capital raises real concerns about the security challenge facing government forces as U.S. and NATO forces draw down. The majority of international combat troops are scheduled to leave by the end of 2014.

    “Mentally you can put yourself in the position of Afghan people, who for 18 hours, non-stop fighting and war," said Barakzai. "It's unbelievable. It's really unbelievable.”

    On Sunday, a Taliban spokesperson claimed responsibility for the multiple assaults on embassies, government buildings and NATO bases, saying the operation had been planned for two months to show the insurgency's power after NATO commanders called the Taliban weak.

    It was the most widespread attack in the Afghan capital since an assault on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in September. That operation was blamed on the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based insurgent group allied with the Taliban.

    Afghan Interior Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi says the arrest and interrogation of a militant armed with explosives in Jalalabad indicates the Haqqini network may also be behind the latest attacks.

    He says the man confessed that he came from outside of the Afghan border, and was trained and equipped there by elements of the Haqqani network.

    The attacks come at a time of increased tension between international and Afghan forces over incidents including the burning of Qurans at a U.S. base and a deadly attack by a U.S. soldier that killed 17 Afghan villagers.

    NATO and U.S. leaders say despite some setbacks, plans to shift international forces from a combat to support role are moving forward, and the capable response by Afghan forces to the latest attacks is a sign of progress.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jalal
    April 17, 2012 9:07 AM
    the sucide bombers have not succeded because they were killed. succsion means,you reach a goal while you are still alive.

    by: Abdul Ghafar khan
    April 16, 2012 5:38 AM
    I think that some high rank official in Afghan Defence ministry
    has connection with Taliban and there is no doubt about it.
    it has been 80 years that the Pashtuns ruled the country but now
    how come they sit aside, they want to regain their power which has been fallen in the of Northern alliance.

    by: NVO
    April 16, 2012 5:22 AM
    The fighting ends in afganistan, WHAT A JOKE!!

    by: sultan pervez
    April 16, 2012 2:18 AM
    It looks as though the end game is drawing to an end with clear signs that the message to the Taliban has been sent loud and clear. They have been defeated and i believe have paid very heavily for the wrong decisions of the past. These guys need education not weapons. Astep by step withdrawl from Afghanistan under the negotiated terms and conditions will send a clear message to all supporting extreme wing terrorists around the globe that CRIME does not pay and must be avoided at all costs.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora