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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs