Monday, 22 April, 2019

Gunmen attack an intelligence training centre in Kabul

Published on: 8:54 pm - Thursday | August 16, 2018

Gunmen attacked an intelligence training centre in Kabul on Thursday, officials said, as families buried loved ones killed by a suicide bomber a day earlier in the war-weary Afghan capital.

The attack on the training facility 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.

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

Live television footage showed humvees patrolling the empty streets while
gunfire echoed and a helicopter circling above.

Commandos were also deployed to the scene to help contain the fighting,
according to another security official.

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 a predominantly Shiite area of western Kabul,
where students were studying for college entrance exams, killing at least 37

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group Thursday via their
Amaq propaganda service, as families of the dead held a mass funeral where
mourners wept and clutched the wooden coffins.

An industrial-sized digger helped soften the arid ground for the fresh
graves as men removed rocks from the soil with pickaxes.

Mourners decried the unrelenting bloodshed, while others dismissed
murmurings of possible ceasefires and peace negotiations between the
government and the Taliban, even though the attack was claimed by IS.

“Death to your ceasefire and death to your ghost peace talks,” cried one of
the funeral attendees. “They are killing our educated people and everyday
they are killing us.”

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

The brief respite sparked hopes the truce could clear the way for talks to
end the nearly 17-year-old conflict.

However the devastating attacks across the country in recent days have led
many to question how such negotiations could move ahead.

“Everyday we are witnessing deadly attacks in Kabul and other major cities.
So, I believe the Taliban do not believe in peace talks,” said shopkeeper
Shahenshah Shahin in Kabul.

Analysts have suggested the Taliban may be trying to shore up its position
before any potential negotiations by proving they can hit government
installations at will.

“The Taliban will try to have an upper hand during talks, so we can’t rule
out more attacks until a ceasefire,” said Taliban expert Rahimullah Yusufzai.

“It’s the fighting season and the Taliban will want to rack up victories
before winter.”

While it has been months since The Taliban have claimed a major attack in
Kabul, the group has been conducting blistering attacks on security forces
across Afghanistan, including a massive, days-long onslaught on the eastern
city of Ghazni during the past week.

Afghan forces appeared to have finally pushed Taliban fighters from the
strategic provincial capital, as the UN warned that reports suggested up to
150 civilians might have been killed in the fighting.

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

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




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