World News

Insurgent Suicide Squad Attacks Kabul Traffic Police Headquarters

Afghan police keep watch near the Kabul traffic police headquarters that was attacked by insurgents, in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 21, 2013.
Afghan police keep watch near the Kabul traffic police headquarters that was attacked by insurgents, in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 21, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
A group of Taliban suicide bombers stormed the headquarters of traffic police in Kabul early on Monday, the second such attack in the Afghan capital in less than a week. Authorities say security forces killed all the attackers while three police officers also died in the gun battle, which lasted nine hours. Meanwhile, the government of President Hamid Karzai has rejected a new U.N. report that says torture remains endemic in a number of detention centers in Afghanistan.

The brazen coordinated Taliban assault began with a car bomb that targeted the main gate of the traffic police headquarters in Kabul to clear the way for the attackers to enter the building.

Afghan officials report that after killing officers deployed at the facility's front checkpoint, the group of heavily armed militants, who were wearing suicide vests, rushed into the compound. They say the raid set off a fierce gun battle between the militants and Afghan security forces.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi later told reporters that three bombers blew themselves up during the firefight, while police commandos fatally shot the last two insurgents who were holed up inside the building.

NATO assistance

The spokesman said that the fighting also left three policemen dead, and that most of those wounded are civilians. He added that Afghan security forces conducted the operation without assistance from NATO.

Speaking to reporters at a separate news conference in Kabul earlier in the day, Brigadier-General Gunter Katz, spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force or ISAF, explained the circumstances that led to the second brazen militant attack in the city within a week.   

“The more and more the Afghan security forces are getting into the lead, the more they are targeted by the insurgents. Notwithstanding that, the Afghan security forces are doing great job pressuring the insurgency," said Katz. "We will continue to train them to assist and advise them and we are confident that they will be very capable when taking over the full security of Afghanistan in the middle of this year.”

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed the group was responsible for the attack, saying it was meant to target, in his words, a police training facility “run by foreign military forces.”

In a similar attack on Wednesday, a group of Taliban suicide bombers stormed the gates of the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence agency also known as the NDS. That incident left one security guard dead while a number of others were wounded.

Charges, counter-charges
 
The latest attack comes a day after a new U.N. report accused Afghan authorities of not doing enough to stop abuses in 34 prisons under the control of the police and the NDS.

Katz also commented on the allegations of human rights violations in prisons documented by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA.

“Based on information provided by UNAMA, which ISAF determined to be credible, ISAF suspended the transfer of detainees to the Afghan facilities identified in the report,” he said.

However, the Afghan government has rejected the U.N. report, claiming that despite the limited resources and facilities in Afghan prisons, significant steps have been taken to improve the situation.

Fired for 'misbehavior'

Sediqi said that last year alone some 200 officials across the country were fired from their jobs for “misbehaving” with prisoners. He acknowledged some incidents of “misbehavior” by the police, but denied they included torture.  

“That’s why we do not agree with the claims that have come in this [UNAMA] report. We reject that and we are ready to work together if there are proofs, evidence and documents that can show a torturer in one of the detention centers. We are committed to the laws, legislations not only [of] the Afghan constitution but those internationally accepted legislations against violence [in prisons],” said Sediqi.

NATO-led troops have been gradually handing over hundreds of detainees to Afghan control ahead of the withdrawal of most international forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year.  

The U.N. report says that a third of all detainees recently transferred to Afghan control have been tortured and that the NDS is operating secret detention centers to avoid international scrutiny.
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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs