Ghanizada / Khaama: Afghan News Agency & Al Jazeera America – 2014-01-18 23:52:51
Taliban says Kabul attack was in reprisal to civilian deaths in US airstrike
Ghanizada / Khaama: Afghan News Agency
AFGHANISTAN (January 18, 2014) — The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has said that the attack on Lebanese restaurant was carried out in reprisal to the recent US airstrike in northern Parwan province of Afghanistan which left at least 14 civilians dead.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the attack was in response to US airstrike in Siah Gerd district of Parwan province.
Mujahid in a statement said, “Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate have attacked a restaurant in of Kabul city frequented by foreigners this evening, killing and wounding a scores of invaders and high-ranking local officials.”
“Friday’s attack hit the restaurant in the heart of the capital’s heavily-secured and fortified diplomatic center located in Wazir Akabar Khan, an area housing several embassies, NGOs,” Mujahid added.
He said, “The Islamic Emirate’s Mujahideen shortly after 7 p.m. local time stormed the restaurant with massive explosion which was followed by hours of gunfire and blasts that killed many foragers, mostly German invaders.”
Security officials in Kabul confirmed at least 21 people including foreigners were killed following the coordinated suicide attack on Lebanese Taverna restaurant in Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan area.
The United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMA) also confirmed its four personnel were among those killed in Friday’s incident and condemned the attack in strongest words.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) following a statement confirmed the death of the Head of the IMF in Afghanistan, Wabel Abdallah in the incident.
Article printed from Khaama Press (KP), Afghan News Agency: http://www.khaama.com
US Drone Strike on a Taliban
Gathering in Nuristan Leaves 9 Dead
Ghanizada / Khaama: Afghan News Agency
AFGHANISTAN (January 18, 2014) — At least nine Taliban militants were killed following a US drone strike in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan, local security officials said.
The officials further added that the drone targeted a gathering of the Taliban militants in Kamdish district.
Provincial security chief, Abdul Baqi Nuristani confirming the report, said the Taliban militants including Pakistani nationals were busy attending a meeting when they were targeted.
Mr. Nuristani further added that the Taliban militants who were killed in the airstrike belonged to Taliban militants group who were operating in Patigul area of Kamdish district.
He said at least five Pakistani nationals from Punjab province were also among those killed in the airstrike.
Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.
Nuristan is among the restive provinces in eastern Afghanistan which borders with the tribal regions of Pakistan. Taliban militants are operating in various district of Nuristan province and frequently carry out terrorist attacks.
Article printed from Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency: http://www.khaama.com
Death Toll Rises in Taliban
Attack at Kabul Restaurant
Al Jazeera America
KABUL (January 18, 2014) — Twenty-one people, including two US citizens, were killed Friday in a suicide bomb attack on a Kabul restaurant popular with foreigners and affluent Afghans.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Lebanese restaurant Taverna. The group has stepped up a campaign of violence in recent months after foreign forces handed over control of security operations to Afghan authorities ahead of their full withdrawal by the end of 2014.
The Taliban said the suicide attack was retaliation for an Afghan military operation earlier in the week in eastern Parwan province, which the group claimed killed many civilians.
“The target of the attack was a restaurant frequented by high ranking foreigners,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. He said the attack targeted a place “where the invaders used to dine with booze and liquor in the plenty.”
US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham on Saturday condemned the attack and offered condolences to the families of the victims.
“The US Embassy strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Kabul on January 17 against Afghans and those who are here to help them,” he said in a statement.
The head of the International Monetary Fund in Afghanistan, three United Nations staff and a member of the European Police Mission were among the dead. In all, those killed included 13 foreigners and eight Afghans. Police say a suicide bomber and two gunmen were also killed in the attack.
Kabul police chief Gen. Mohammad Zahir Zahir said the victims included two Britons, two Canadians, a Dane, a Russian, two Lebanese, a Somali-American and a Pakistani. At least four people were wounded and about eight Afghans, mostly the kitchen staff, survived.
“We escaped to the neighbor’s house through the roof,” said Ahmad Fawad, a cook at the restaurant. “There were around eight or nine of us, hiding ourselves there. All the guests who were eating dinner were killed including our manager and the other cook.”
Violence Ahead of Pullout
The attack took place in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which hosts many embassies and restaurants catering to expatriates and was carried out around dinnertime in the heavily fortified district, where many wealthy Afghans also live.
“Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law. They must stop immediately,” a UN spokesperson on Friday.
Gunfire continued for about 20 minutes after the initial blast, and the main road leading to the area was cordoned off.
The Afghan capital has often been hit by suicide and other bomb attacks, with the most recent incident last Sunday when a Taliban suicide bomber riding a bicycle detonated himself next to a police bus, killing a policeman and a civilian.
Foreign forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014, and President Hamid Karzai is deliberating whether to allow some US troops to stay to help maintain stability after many years of war.
Karzai’s refusal thus far to sign a security pact, known as the Bilateral Security Agreement, has strained relations between the two countries. US officials have said that unless a deal is reached to keep about 8,000 US troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban could stage a major comeback and that Al-Qaeda could regain safe havens.
The deal must be signed for the US and its allies to provide billions more dollars in aid.
Afghanistan’s fledgling security forces face a difficult year ahead as insurgents attempt to disrupt elections on April 5 that will determine a successor to Karzai.
Without a deal, the US could pull out all troops — the so-called zero option — leaving Afghan forces to battle the Taliban on their own.
Al Jazeera and wire services
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