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Afghan Taliban conduct brazen attack on Kabul airport

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-17

Heavily-armed Taliban militants attacked the Kabul International Airport in the Afghan capital early Thursday, firing rockets and occupying two unused buildings before they were gunned down by Afghan security forces.

The brazen, predawn attack on one of Afghanistan’s most heavily secured sites lasted for about five hours before Afghan security forces – including rapid reaction teams – stormed two buildings under construction where the militants were holed up, according to Afghan police officials. 
 
color:red;">The militants occupied the buildings, located around 700 meters north of the facility, and were using them as a base to direct rockets and gunfire toward the airport and international jet fighters flying over Kabul, said Afghan army General Afzal Aman.
 
color:red;">Kabul Police Chief Mohammed Zahir Zahir later said four of the attackers were killed and that the attack was halted without any civilian or police casualties.
 
color:red;">Flights were diverted to other Afghan cities and fighter jets circled the airport during the attack.  The airport was later reopened and operations returned to normal, Zahir said, after security forces inspected the runways for shrapnel and explosives.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to The Associated Press.
 
Stability at stake as Afghans await vote audit

 

The attack comes at a critical time in Afghanistan as the country awaits the final results of the 2014 presidential election amid fears that a potentially deadly power struggle is brewing in Kabul, as US combat troops prepare for a pullout by the end of the year.

A massive poll audit is set to be conducted under the terms of an agreement between rival presidential contenders Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Outgoing President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement) with the US, sparking fears of further insecurity in the region following the 2014 pullout.

Earlier this week, a suicide bombing at a crowded market in the southeastern province of Paktika killed at least 89 people, according to Afghan officials.

The remote northeastern province of Paktika has been particularly prone to violence since it borders the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan where the Haqqani network, one of the most ferocious Taliban groups, is believed to be based.

 

Date created : 2014-07-17

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