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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    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-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora