Posts tagged ‘Taliban’

June 30, 2011

Taliban Threat: Afghan and coalition forces recover 100 caches in 10 days

One cache recovered had rockets, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL: The expected Taliban summer surge seemed to have matured when six militants stormed the Intercontinental hotel late on Tuesday night. Further evidence to increased Taliban activity was discovered after Afghan security forces started discovering caches of weapons by the dozen over the past two weeks.

An ISAF release said that Afghan National Security Forces had been recovering caches in villages, thereby thwarting terrorist activity. “Taking weapons and communication equipment out of the hands of the enemy is one way to disrupt its network – and one many Afghan civilians are helping with,” said German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, International Security Forces Afghanistan spokesman, during a press conference held on June 27.

The release said that the Afghan and coalition forces had seized more than 100 weapons caches in the past two weeks which were used to carry out insurgent attacks. For example, one cache contained more than 35 rockets, 24 mortars and 22 rocket propelled grenades.

Tips from Afghan citizens have aided forces in finding the caches, which is a sign of their trust in ANSF and their local police forces – the Afghan Local Police (ALP), said Blotz.

The ALP forces are selected by their community to provide local defence against insurgents and are trained by the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MOI). They are legitimate, enrolled members of the MOI.

“They are not militia. They are vetted, trained, and enrolled by the MOI, and, where available, wear a distinctive brown uniform,” said Blotz.

Role of ALP highlighted

The ALP has been instrumental in protecting the local populace. Today, there are 41 validated sites with more than 6,500 members, said Blotz.

“Afghan National Security Forces grow stronger every day,” said Dominic Medley, NATO senior civilian representative’s spokesman. “The transition is on track. In 2014, Afghanistan’s security will rest with the ANSF and that’s exactly where it should be.”

“The ANSF are showing more and more resolve,” stated Blotz. “We salute them for their resilience and commitment to their country.”

Increased Taliban activity

Traditionally, the summer months see increased insurgent activity. This was witnessed in the rising number of cross border Taliban attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

The recent jailbreak where Taliban were able to aid the escape of up to 500 of their comrades is believed to have bolstered Taliban ranks.

The Afghan security forces now face a stiff challenge of tackling with the Taliban in wake of the US troop drawdown announced by US President Obama a few days ago which will see up to 30,000 troops being withdrawn by the end of 2012 and more territories being handed over to the Afghan security forces.

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June 30, 2011

Taliban attack Kabul hotel, 10 killed

The Inter-Continental hotel in seen in the dark as tracer bullets are shot during an attack in Kabul on June 29, 2011. Witnesses reported hearing two explosions and said that several gunmen had got into the high-security hotel late in the evening. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the militant Islamist group was behind the attack which he said was targeting foreign guests in the hotel. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL: 

A hotel popular with Westerners in the Afghan capital has come under attack by gunmen and suicide bombers.

Kabul’s police chief told the BBC that security forces were exchanging fire with up to six assailants who had got inside the Intercontinental Hotel.  A security official said three suicide bombers had blown themselves up at the hotel’s front gate, on the second floor, and at the back of the hotel. At least 10 people are reported to have been killed.

The Intercontinental is one of Kabul’s best-known most heavily guarded hotels. It is situated on a hill on the western outskirts of the city.

Guests told the BBC’s Bilal Sarwary in Kabul that the scene was one of chaos and panic, and that they had been told not to open their doors.

One guest told the Associated Press that the attack began when many people were having dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, and that he had jumped out of a first-floor window to escape the gunmen.

“I was running with my family,” said the man, named as Jawid. “There was shooting. The restaurant was full with guests.”

Afghan officials told the BBC that a group of Afghan governors had been meeting at the hotel at the time of the attack.

The head of Kabul crime unit said fighting was still going on as police cleared the hotel after an attack claimed by the Taliban. “The clearing of the Intercontinental is still going on. It’s not over yet,” Mohammad Zahir told Reuters.Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group was behind the attack in telephone calls to two news agencies.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2011.