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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs