News / Asia

Taliban Takes Credit for Kabul Airport Attack

Security vehicles rush towards smoke rising in the distance, as an area near the Kabul airport comes under attack, in this still image taken from a Reuters TV video in Kabul, July 17, 2014.
Security vehicles rush towards smoke rising in the distance, as an area near the Kabul airport comes under attack, in this still image taken from a Reuters TV video in Kabul, July 17, 2014.
Ayaz Gul

Authorities in Afghanistan say they have killed a group of heavily armed Taliban insurgents who took part in a Thursday assault on Kabul International Airport.

The pre-dawn raid temporarily shut down the airport, which also serves as a major operational base for NATO-led military coalition. 

The assault, which coincided the first day of a runoff election recount, triggered an intense gunfight with Afghan security forces that lasted several hours. Afghan officials say the militants, armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, fired rockets from the roof of a nearby partially-constructed building.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi says all five militants were killed without police or civilian casualties and the airport was later reopened for normal flight operations.

"They detonated an explosives-packed vehicle before occupying the roof of the building in Qasaba residential area just north of the Kabul airport," Sediqqi said, adding that the attackers were speaking Urdu, the official language in neighboring Pakistan.

Kabul Police Chief Mohammad Zahir said the airport was undamaged, and one police officer suffered minor injuries.

"The attack started with rocket firing from these buildings towards the airport," said Kabul resident Jahangar Khan, who was near the airport at the time of the attack. "Foreign and Afghan forces started firing from their towers, also a car on the road caught fire and exploded. It seems that there are fighters and they are positioned in the first block."

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by a group of suicide bombers. The Taliban's claim of responsibility appears to contradict comments made by Sediqqi, who accused the Pakistan's ISI spy agency of facilitating insurgent groups to carry out the airport attack, saying it was the third such raid in more than two months.

Ballot recount

Meanwhile, Afghan election authorities began recounting more than eight million votes from the disputed second round of the presidential election.

Independent Election Commission chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said the United Nations-supervised audit process will take “three or four weeks." He hoped both the candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdulla, will accept its outcome. 

"The Commission has decided to form 100 teams to conduct the full audit and they will work in two shifts in view of the fasting month of Ramadan," Nuristani said, adding that only 30 teams were able to begin the vote scrutiny because some international observers have yet to arrive in Kabul.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has welcomed the start of  what it described an "unprecedented" vote audit.

The exercise follows last week’s agreement between the two presidential candidates, mediated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on the full audit of the June 14 runoff results. Abdullah and Ghani have committed to accept the outcome of the recount. 

The audit is being conducted in the presence of candidates’ agents, the media, and international and domestic observers.

Ghani is well ahead in the controversial initial results the commission announced earlier this month but Abdullah rejected them alleging his rival’s lead was due to what he called “industrial scale fraud.”

A peaceful transfer of power is seen crucial ahead of the planned departure of most foreign troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. But security will remain a major challenge for the new Afghan leader, as it has for the outgoing President Hamid Karzai.

Elsewhere, Afghan media reported Taliban insurgents ambushed Karzai’s security team while it was traveling to the eastern Paktika province, site of a massive car bombing earlier this week that killed more than 40 people.

The president plans to visit families of those killed in the marketplace suicide blast to offer condolence. His security team was making arrangements for his arrival when the ambush, which reportedly wounded at least one member of the Presidential Protection Service, took place.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid