Posts Tagged ‘Jalalabad’

Suicide bomb attack kills two in eastern Afghanistan

August 25, 2018

An suicide bomb blast outside killed at least two people Saturday outside an election commission office in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, officials said.

The latest attack in the war-torn country targeted a protest camp outside the building in Nangarhar province, where a group of people were rallying in support of a candidate disqualified from parliamentary elections due in October.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

FILE photo: Bombing of Afghan city of Jalalabad, July 10, 2018. Credit Parwiz/Reuters

“It killed two people, and four others were wounded,” provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP, adding that a suicide attacker was responsible for the explosion.

Provincial health director Najib Kamawal confirmed the two deaths.

An eyewitness said the blast was caused by a suicide bomber who detonated explosives near a tent full of protesters outside the election commission’s office in Jalalabad, sending people fleeing as security forces cordoned off the area.

“It was very big blast and it shook our home,” said witness Mirza Amin, who added she lived 50 metres (160 feet) from the site of the explosion.

The blast comes nearly a week after President Ashraf Ghani offered a conditional three-month ceasefire to the Taliban, a move welcomed by the United States and NATO after nearly 17 years of war.

The Taliban have yet to provide an official response to the offer.

AFP

Advertisements

Afghanistan: Gunmen attack intelligence training centre in Kabul

August 16, 2018

 

Gunmen launched an attack on an intelligence training centre in Kabul Thursday, officials said, just a day after a suicide bomber killed dozens of students in the war-weary Afghan capital.

It was the latest incident in a blood-soaked week that saw militants deliver crippling blows to government forces across Afghanistan.

“Clashes are ongoing and the area is cordoned off by the Afghan security forces,” said Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai.

© AFP/File | Afghanistan is reeling from a recent uptick in insurgent violence against both government forces and civilians

The firefight erupted near a training facility overseen by the National Security Directorate — Afghanistan’s intelligence agency — with the gunmen holed up in a construction site near residential homes, an official at the scene said.

A live feed on local broadcaster Tolonews showed the area cordoned off with gunfire echoing through the empty streets.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

The attack comes just hours after a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside an education centre in western Kabul, where students were studying for college entrance exams, killing at least 37 people.

The school bombing underscored the price that ordinary Afghans have paid in the grinding conflict as the country reels from a recent uptick in violence, including a massive, days-long Taliban onslaught on the eastern city of Ghazni.

Afghan forces appear to have finally pushed Taliban fighters from the strategic provincial capital.

Small pockets of the city began opening up to humanitarian aid Thursday, while partial mobile service returned after telecommunications infrastructure and government buildings were destroyed during the fighting.

The surge in violence comes weeks after Afghans marked an unprecedented country-wide ceasefire between the Taliban and government forces in June, giving some relief to civilians.

Militant attacks and suicide bombings were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent UN report showed.

Fighting has intensified in recent months as US and Afghan forces ramp up ground and air offensives against the Islamic State (IS), and the Taliban step up their turf war with the group.

The Taliban have not claimed a major assault in Kabul for weeks.

IS, however, has carried out multiple attacks in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital in recent months, targeting sites ranging from government ministries to a midwife training centre.

AFP

Afghanistan: At least 15 people were killed in Jalaladad attack

July 31, 2018

At least 15 people were killed on Tuesday in Afghanistan’s eastern city of Jalalabad when gunmen stormed a government building, trapping dozens inside after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance gate, officials and witnesses said.

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature
Smoke rises from a building after a deadly attack including a suspected suicide car bombing and gunbattles, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. An Afghan provincial official said a coordinated attack was underway by the Taliban in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province. (AP Photo) AP

The attack underlines the country’s dire security situation after 17 years of war, with Islamic State increasingly claiming attacks on civilian targets even as pressure builds for peace talks between the Western-backed government and the Taliban.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though the Taliban issued a statement denying involvement.

After several hours during which intermittent gunfire and explosions could be heard, provincial government spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the incident appeared to be over with two gunmen killed and much of the building destroyed.

Image may contain: one or more people, car and outdoor

An Afghan policeman inspects the site of an attack in Jalalabad, Afghanistan July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Parwiz

He said at least 15 people had been killed and 15 wounded although the total may rise as rescue workers search the site. Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the local provincial council, said eight had been killed and as many as 30 wounded.

One witness, a passerby named Obaidullah, said the attack began when a black car with three occupants pulled up at the entrance to a building used by the department of refugee affairs and a gunman emerged, firing around him.

One attacker blew himself up at the gate and two gunmen entered the building, in an area close to shops and government offices, he added.

Minutes later, the car blew up, wounding people in the street, Obaidullah said.

“We saw several people wounded and helped to carry them away,” he added.

As security forces cordoned off the area, gunshots and what appeared to be hand grenade explosions could be heard as a cloud of black smoke drifted into the sky.

Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the local provincial council, said about 40 people appeared to have been caught inside the building, which caught fire early in the attack.

As the attack concluded, it was not immediately clear what had happened to them. Islamic State has claimed a number of recent attacks in the city.

Khogyani said the attack happened during a meeting with NGOs working on refugee-related issues. The head of the department and several other people were taken to safety, he said.

Although it is unclear whether there is any direct connection, Islamic State attacks have picked up as hopes for peace talks between the government and the Taliban have grown in the wake of last month’s three-day ceasefire.

The attacks have been concentrated in Jalalabad, the main city of Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan where Islamic State fighters first appeared toward the end of 2014.

The casualties add to a mounting toll in Afghanistan. In the western province of Farah, 11 people were killed when their bus was hit by a roadside bomb, officials said.

Also on Tuesday, unknown attackers seized 22 people from vehicles on a highway linking Kabul and Gardez, a key city in the eastern province of Paktia.

Additional reporting by Rafiq Shirzad; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Reuters

Reuters:

 

Gunmen storm Afghan govt building in Jalalabad

July 31, 2018

Gunmen stormed a government building after multiple explosions in a continuing attack in Jalalabad on Tuesday, the latest in a series in the eastern Afghan city.

At least two blasts were heard before the attackers entered the compound of the refugees and repatriations department, said Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.

Several foreign organizations are also in the vicinity.

Before the attack began representatives of foreign donors and agencies were meeting department employees inside the building, Khogyani said.

Zemarai couldn’t confirm any casualties but says a heavy gun battle is taking place between Afghan security forces and the attackers. (File photo: AFP)

It is not clear if the meeting was still under way when the attackers entered the compound.

Khogyani said a “large number” of employees had been rescued but there were no details about how many may still be inside.

“I saw a black Corolla car drop three armed men at the gate of the refugees and repatriations department,” a witness told AFP.

At least one of the men blew himself up at the gate and two others entered the building, the witness said.

An AFP reporter could hear gunfire as security forces swarmed into the area.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which comes three days after militants raided a midwife training center in Jalalabad.

Daesh claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack that left at least three people dead and several wounded.

Jalalabad has been the scene of multiple attacks in recent months that have killed dozens, as US and Afghan forces continue offensives against militants.

Most of the attacks were claimed by Daesh, which has a relatively small but potent presence in Afghanistan, mainly in the east and north.

Government buildings are a common target.

On July 11 gunmen raided an education department compound in the city, sparking an hours-long battle with security forces.

At least 11 people were killed in the attack. All were employees of the education department branch and included the director.

A suicide bomb attack claimed by Daesh on a crowd of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in Jalalabad on July 1 killed 19 people and wounded 21.

Daesh first emerged in Afghanistan in 2014 and quickly established a stronghold in Nangarhar.

Intensified aerial and ground operations against the militants have failed to dislodge them.

AFP

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1348611/world

New U.S. Tactic in Afghanistan Mirrors Past Plans for Retreat

July 29, 2018

The Trump administration is urging American-backed Afghan troops to retreat from sparsely populated areas of the country, officials said, all but ensuring the Taliban will remain in control of vast stretches of the country.

The approach is outlined in a previously undisclosed part of the war strategy that President Trump announced last year, according to three officials who described the documents to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity. It is meant to protect military forces from attacks at isolated and vulnerable outposts, and focuses on protecting cities such as Kabul, the capital, and other population centers.

The withdrawal resembles strategies embraced by both the Bush and Obama administrations that have started and stuttered over the nearly 17-year war. It will effectively ensure that the Taliban and other insurgent groups will hold on to territory that they have already seized, leaving the government in Kabul to safeguard the capital and cities such as Kandahar, Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad.

The retreat to the cities is a searing acknowledgment that the American-installed government in Afghanistan remains unable to lead and protect the country’s sprawling rural population. Over the years, as waves of American and NATO troops have come and left in repeated cycles, the government has slowly retrenched and ceded chunks of territory to the Taliban, cleaving Afghanistan into disparate parts and ensuring a conflict with no end in sight.

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Helene Cooper
The New York Times

Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

An American outpost in the Afghanistan province of Nangarhar. CreditWakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When he announced his new war strategy last year, Mr. Trump declared that Taliban and Islamic State insurgents in Afghanistan “need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms.”

After the declared end of combat operations in 2014, most American troops withdrew to major population areas in the country, leaving Afghan forces to defend remote outposts. Many of those bases fell in the following months.

During a news conference last month in Brussels, Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of the American-led coalition in Afghanistan, said remote outposts were being overrun by the Taliban, which was seizing local forces’ vehicles and equipment.

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing

Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr.

“There is a tension there between what is the best tactic militarily and what are the needs of the society,” General Nicholson said.

The strategy depends on the Afghan government’s willingness to pull back its own forces. A Defense Department official said some Afghan commanders have resisted the American effort to do so, fearing local populations would feel betrayed.

Read the rest:

NYT:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/28/world/asia/trump-afghanistan-strategy-retreat.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Blasts, gunshots reported in eastern Afghan city — Midwife training facility for women under attack

July 28, 2018

A number of explosions were reported in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad and gunshots could be heard in the area of a dormitory for trainee midwives, local officials said on Saturday.

Image result for Attaullah Khogyani, photos

Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial government spokesman, said at least some of the students, most of them from Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan, had been evacuated from the building.

Image result for Attaullah Khogyani, photos
Attaullah Khogyani,

Smoke could be seen rising from the site as security forces and ambulances rushed to the scene, which was blocked off to traffic. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The attack is the latest in a series to have hit Jalalabad in recent weeks, causing dozens of casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but recent attacks have been claimed by Islamic State, which has a stronghold in the surrounding province of Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan.

Reporting by Ahmad Sultan, Rafiq Shirzad; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Michael Perry

Reuters

Related:

Militants attack Afghan midwife training centre — Islamic State claimed most recent attacks — Ethnic cleansing?

July 28, 2018

Several gunmen stormed a midwife training centre in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, wounding at least three people, officials said, as witnesses reported seeing plumes of smoke rising above the compound.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.

A witness near the scene told AFP he could hear sporadic gunfire, suggesting the attack may be ongoing.

© AFP/File | Jalalabad has been the scene of several attacks in recent months that have killed dozens

Several midwives have been rescued, provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said.

Provincial health department spokesman Inamullah Miakhil confirmed its midwife centre had been attacked.

A witness in a nearby department told AFP he heard several explosions and then saw three gunmen enter the lane where the midwife centre is located.

Ambulances and members of the security forces have swarmed the area, with some of the security forces appearing to be dismantling several improvised explosive devices in the street, a witness told AFP.

Jalalabad has been the scene of several attacks in recent months that have killed dozens, as US and Afghan forces continue offensive operations against militants.

Most of the attacks were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Government buildings are a common target for insurgents.

The last major attack in Jalalabad happened on July 11 when gunmen raided an education department compound in the city, sparking an hours-long battle with security forces.

At least 11 people were killed in the attack. All were employees of the education department branch and included the director.

Image result for Sikhs in afghanistan, photos

A suicide bomb attack claimed by IS on a crowd of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in Jalalabad on July 1 killed at least 19 people and wounded 21.

The Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group and IS has a relatively small but potent presence, mainly in the east and north of the country.

It first emerged in Afghanistan in 2014 and quickly established a stronghold in Nangarhar.

Intensified aerial and ground operations against the militants have failed to dislodge them.

AFP

Related image

Two dead in militant attack on Afghan govt office: officials

July 11, 2018

Gunmen stormed an education department compound in Afghanistan’s restive east Wednesday and were battling security forces in an ongoing attack that has left at least two people dead, officials said.

Five others have been wounded in the second attack in Jalalabad city in as many days and a number of employees were trapped inside the building, Nangarhar provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

© AFP | Map of Afghanistan locating attack in Jalalabad

Security forces were trying to clear the militants from the compound and rescue the workers. It was not clear how many gunmen or employees were inside.

A security guard employed by the department was among the dead, Khogyani said.

Jalalabad health director Najibullah Kamawal confirmed five wounded people had been brought to hospital so far.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the raid.

Nangarhar’s provincial capital has seen an uptick in violence in recent weeks, with the Islamic State group claiming most of the attacks.

On Tuesday, a suicide attack in the city killed at least 12 people and ignited a nearby petrol station, with witnesses describing screaming victims “swallowed” by flames.

The bomber was targeting Afghan security forces when he blew himself up. Ten civilians were among the dead.

IS claimed that attack via its Amaq propaganda agency.

The group has claimed a series of high-casualty suicide bomb attacks in the province in recent weeks, as US and Afghan forces continue offensive operations against the group.

While the Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group, IS has a relatively small but potent presence, mainly in the north and east of the country.

Wednesday’s attack comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani flew to Brussels to attend a NATO summit where he will be hoping to get a greater commitment from members to the nearly 17-year conflict.

Currently, there are about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, providing the main component of the NATO mission there to support and train local forces.

The attack also coincides with the start of a university entrance exam for more than 16,000 students in Jalalabad, but it was not clear if the two events were linked.

The attack comes exactly a month after militants raided the education department in the city.

In that incident a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the department, triggering a fierce battle between gunmen and security forces.

At least 10 people were wounded after terrified employees jumped out of the windows.

A recent ceasefire between Afghan security forces and the Taliban during the Islamic holiday Eid had raised hopes that an end to hostilities in the war-weary country was possible.

Since then, however, the Taliban has returned to the battlefield and IS, which was not involved in the truce, has continued to carry out deadly attacks.

Nangarhar borders Pakistan, which has been under growing US pressure to crack down on extremist groups operating in the country.

Pakistan has long been accused of supporting the Afghan Taliban and providing safe haven to its leaders, charges Islamabad denies.

Pakistan, in return, has accused Afghanistan of sheltering the Pakistani Taliban.

AFP

Related:

Gunmen trap Afghan workers in attack on education department office

July 11, 2018

Gunmen attacked an education department office in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday and were holding out against security forces who had surrounded the compound, officials said.

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoor

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of gunfire and attack in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan. FILE

Two explosions were heard near the scene and at least two people had been killed and five wounded, the provincial governor’s office said.

However, with an unknown number of people trapped in the building, the final casualty figure may be much higher.

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers arrive at the site of gunfire and attack in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Parwiz

“Our first priority is to rescue those people who are stuck inside,” Jalalabad police chief Ghulam Sanayi Stanekzai told Tolo News TV.

It was the third major attack in less than two weeks in Jalalabad, the main city of Nangarhar province, following a blast that killed a group of Sikhs on July 1 and a second that killed at least 12 people on Tuesday.The attacks have underscored the instability in many parts of Afghanistan following a brief three-day truce with the Taliban over the Eid al-Fitr holiday last month.

Backed by intensive U.S. air strikes, Afghan forces have claimed success in holding the Taliban back from major cities and U.S. commanders say they have been hitting other militant groups like Islamic State hard.

But attacks on civilian targets have continued, causing heavy casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attack but both of the other assaults in the city this month were claimed by Islamic State, which is opposed to both the Western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban.

The attack on the education department appeared to be following the pattern of previous attacks including an assault on an office of the Save the Children aid group in Jalalabad in January and another on the city accounts office in May.

Nangarhar province, on the porous border with Pakistan, has become a stronghold of Islamic State, which has grown into one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous militant groups since it appeared around the beginning of 2015.

Additional reporting by Qadir Sediqi in KABUL; Editing by Robert Birsel and Paul Tait

Reuters

At least 12 dead, including children, in Afghan suicide blast

July 10, 2018

A suicide bomber in Afghanistan killed at least 12 people, including several children, on Tuesday, in an attack in the eastern city of Jalalabad claimed by Islamic State militants.

Image may contain: car, tree and outdoor

An Afghan policeman inspects damaged vehicles after a suicide attack in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Parwiz

The attacker detonated his explosives near a petrol pump, killing two officials working for Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, and sparking a big fire.

Image result for Jalalabad city, Afghanistan July 10, 2018., photos

Islamic State claimed the attack in a statement on their Amaq news agency.

“A martyrdom attack using an explosives jacket hit a gathering of Afghan intelligence,” the militants said.

Inamullah Miakhel, a spokesman for the provincial health department, said five wounded people were taken to a hospital.

Last week, an Islamic State suicide bomber targeted Afghanistan’s Sikh minority in Jalalabad, killing 13 members of the community.

Attacks by IS fighters are being launched at a time when U.S. and Afghan special forces are trying to end the militants’ control of a remote district in Nangarhar province where they have their main stronghold.

Jalalabad is the capital of the province.

The fight against Islamic State and other militant groups including al Qaeda is at the heart of the U.S. counterterrorism mission being conducted alongside a NATO-led mission that trains and advises Afghan security forces.

Additional reporting by Qadir Sediqi; Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Robert Birsel;

Reuters