Militants Kill 23 in Attacks in Afghanistan - News Hunter Magazine

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Militants Kill 23 in Attacks in Afghanistan

Taliban militants killed at least 23 people in gun and suicide attacks
in Afghanistan in recent days, underlining security concerns just
weeks before most international forces withdraw from the country.

In southern Afghanistan on Saturday, militants on motorbikes shot and
killed 12 workers who were clearing land mines in Helmand province,
prompting a firefight with police.

The Reuters news agency reported that four attackers were killed in
the firefight and three more were captured.

Earlier in the day, Afghan police said gunmen shot and killed a senior
official of Afghanistan's Supreme Court, Atiqullah Rawoofi, near his
home in a suburb of the capital, Kabul. The Taliban claimed
responsibility for killing Rawoofi but did not say why he was
attacked.

Also in Kabul, an explosion destroyed a bus carrying Afghan army
personnel, killing at least seven people and wounding more than a
dozen others.

Separately, the international coalition said Saturday a Taliban attack
near the U.S. Bagram airfield north of Kabul on Friday killed two NATO
soldiers, both Americans.

Taliban insurgents said they also were behind Thursday's suicide
bombing that killed a German citizen in a French cultural center in
Kabul during a performance of a play that denounced suicide attacks.

Critics say President Ashraf Ghani's government urgently needs to
devise a peace and reconciliation policy to bring an end to the
Taliban insurgency.

Kate Clark, a senior researcher at Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts
Network, said Ghani "needs to have a government before he could start
reaching out for reconciliation. He needs to get the appointments
sorted out: who is the defense minister, who is the head of the NDS
[National Directorate of Security], who is the minister of interior,
who are the leading army commanders and the police commanders. You
can't really do much until you have got a Cabinet together."

Ghani is leading the government with his election rival, Abdullah
Abdullah, appointed as Afghanistan's chief executive to share power
with him. But differences between the two men over sharing Cabinet
slots have prevented formation of a consensus Cabinet since they were
sworn into office two months ago.

The unprecedented fatalities and injuries among Afghan security forces
this year have raised questions about their ability to deal with the
Taliban insurgency.

While addressing a conference of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels
this month, Ghani admitted Afghanistan would need continued financial
and military support.

"We are not yet able to do everything alone," he said. "Your continued
support will therefore be key in ensuring our collective gains of the
last 13 years will be enduring. Specifically, we need your help to
build the processes and systems necessary to ensure the long-term
sustainability of our forces."

Security agreements that Ghani signed with the United States and NATO
soon after taking office will allow the deployment of around 13,000
foreign soldiers, mostly Americans, to continue in Afghanistan after
the current combat mission ends. The residual force will primarily
assist and advise Afghan security personnel.

The Taliban cite the security agreements as the reason for their
stepped-up attacks.



Credit: VOA News

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