Dozens killed, wounded in Taliban attack on Afghan airport

admin   •   December 10, 2015   •   3020

Afghan security forces stand guard at the entrance gate of Kandahar Airport where Taliban stormed on late Tuesday, in Kandahar, Afghanistan December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Afghan security forces stand guard at the entrance gate of Kandahar Airport where Taliban stormed on late Tuesday, in Kandahar, Afghanistan December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Dozens of people were killed in fighting at the airport in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar after an overnight attack by Taliban insurgents while a key district in neighboring Helmand province fell to the insurgents, officials said on Wednesday.

The attack on the airport, one of the most heavily protected bases in the country, underlined the Taliban’s ability to inflict serious damage on security forces that are still shaken by the insurgents’ brief capture of the northern city of Kunduz in September.

With final mopping up operations continuing late on Wednesday afternoon in Kandahar, 24 hours after the attack began, 37 civilians and members of Afghan security forces had been killed and 35 wounded, the defense ministry said.

In addition, nine Taliban were killed and another wounded with a final survivor still resisting security forces, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the effort to repel the attack had proceeded slowly to minimize casualties.

“Afghanistan’s national army forces are bravely fighting terrorists in airport areas and are trying to act cautiously to avoid harm to civilians,” the ministry said.

A doctor at the local hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 41 people – 37 civilians and 4 soldiers – had been killed.

In a separate incident in neighboring Helmand province, where the Taliban has been increasing pressure for weeks, insurgents captured the district of Khanishin, a major control point for drug smuggling routes through the south.

Fourteen policemen were killed and 11 others wounded, provincial council chief Karim Atal said.

The airport in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second biggest city, has for years been a major hub for operations of international forces, most of whom had withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

A spokesman for NATO’s Resolute Support mission said there had been no reports of casualties among the hundreds of international personnel at the air base, but he had no other details.

PEACE CONFERENCE

The raid in one of the Taliban’s traditional strongholds coincided with the start of a regional security conference in Islamabad, where Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a plea for more support from neighbors to fight the growing insurgency.

The Taliban, fighting to re-establish hard-line Islamist rule after U.S.-led military intervention ousted them from power in 2001, have been struggling to settle a leadership dispute which has seen scores killed in fighting between factions.

But the attack in Kandahar showed their continued ability to inflict damage and will also increase pressure on Ghani’s government to contain the spreading insurgency, which has claimed thousands of civilian and military casualties since the start of the year.

Officials said fighters attacked a perimeter area of the huge and heavily fortified complex on Tuesday evening, initially taking up position in a school in a residential area of the site, which houses both a civilian airport and military base.

NATO military personnel, civilian contractors and Afghan forces are based there.

Earlier, the Taliban said in a statement 150 soldiers had been killed after suicide attackers had entered the base and attacked international forces and their Afghan allies. But the militants have often made exaggerated casualty claims in the past.

The attack follows an earlier incident in which two suicide bombers died attacking a police station in Kandahar.

(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni and Hamid Shalizi in Kabul and Mohammad Stanekzai in Lashkar Gah; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie, Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry)

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Philippines to accept Afghan refugees only via gov’t-to-gov’t arrangement

Marje Pelayo   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines will accept asylum seekers from Afghanistan only under a government-to-government agreement.

He stressed, the Philippines will not entertain any request from private entities or non-government organizations.

“With the formal end of evacuations from Afghanistan, the next stage is processing and asylum—short or long stay. The Philippines will not accept nor listen to any proposition to accept any refugees unless it is government to government and only by their respective Foreign and Justice ministers; especially of the UK, the US and other Western countries most active in the evacuation,” Locsin said in a tweet on Monday (August 30).

“We will not entertain any request for asylum coming from NGOs however well-meaning or reputable or any other non-state parties,” he added.

Locsin emphasized that if ever the Philippines will open its doors to Afghan refugees, “it will be all humanitarian and not a bit monetarist.”

The Foreign Affairs secretary noted that there are only 24 Filipinos remaining in Kabul as of August 30, eight of them requesting repatriation while 16 others opted to stay.

As of Monday, a total of 187 Filipinos have been evacuated from Afghanista since the Taliban seized the nation’s capital.

Mindanao, secured amid threat of possible spillover of Afghan tension — PNP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has assured that the Mindanao region remains secured amid warnings of a possible spillover of the tension in Afghanistan.

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar made the assurance after Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism Research chief Rommel Banlaoi warned that the spillover in Afghanistan could inspire local terrorist groups to carry out attacks.

Eleazar said that the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are closely coordinating to thwart attacks that may be carried out by local terrorist groups.

“I assure the public that the police and military will not allow a spillover of the Afghan conflict. Hindi namin hahayaan na makapaghasik ng kaguluhan sa bansa ang mga lokal na terorista para sabayan ang gulo sa Afghanistan (We will not let local terrorists to bring chaos amid the situation in Afghanistan),” he said.

The PNP chief said that the national police would be on full alert and intensify intelligence gathering operations to ensure there is no spillover in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, he urged the public to remain vigilant and immediately report unusual incidents that could threaten the safety of our communities. AAC

UN urges nations to receive Afghan refugees, refrain from deportations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 17, 2021

The United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres is urging all countries to be willing to receive Afghan refugees and refrain from deportations.

Guterres also called on all nations to unite and work together. He added that the UN continues to have staff and offices in areas that have come under Taliban control, and “will stay and deliver in support of the Afghan people in their hour of need.”

“It’s time for the international community to stand, work & act together: We must speak with one voice to uphold human rights. We must unite to make sure Afghanistan is never again used as a safe haven for terrorists,” he said.

Meanwhile,  Malacañang said the Philippines is open to accepting refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., during a public briefing on Tuesday (August 17), said that the Philippines will not hesitate to admit individuals fleeing their homelands because of fear of persecution.

“Since time immemorial, the Philippines has had jurisprudence even before the convention on refugees welcoming asylum seekers,” he said.

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