Dozens dead as Taliban attacks nearly wipe out Afghan Army camp

Updated 19 October 2017
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Dozens dead as Taliban attacks nearly wipe out Afghan Army camp

KABUL: Taliban militants have killed at least 58 security personnel in various attacks in Afghanistan, officials said Thursday.
The surge in Taliban attacks raises concerns about growing instability in the country. The deadliest attack occurred in the Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province, where militants stormed an army base after a suicide attacker slammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the compound, officials said.
Taliban spokesperson Qari Mohammad Yousuf said all the 60 security personnel in the compound were killed in the attack.
But the Defense Ministry’s chief spokesperson Dawlat Waziri told Arab News that of the 60 soldiers present at the base, 43 were killed, nine were wounded, six were missing and two survived. He said 10 militants were also killed. Yousuf did not confirm the death toll on the Taliban’s side.
The number of Taliban attacks against security forces has risen following an increase in US airstrikes since August, when President Donald Trump, as part of a new strategy, pushed for more attacks against the militants.
In two separate attacks, the Taliban killed 12 policemen in 24 hours. This came a day after more than 70 people — most of them security personnel — were killed in a string of Taliban attacks, making this week the bloodiest since April, when militants killed around 140 army personnel in an attack on a military base in the country’s north.
Political analyst Bashir Bezhen cited three reasons for the rise in Taliban attacks: Encouragement from Pakistan in response to the growing proximity between Washington, Kabul and New Delhi; civilian casualties caused by US airstrikes; and security forces’ “incompetent leadership.”
The assault nearly wiped out the Kandahar army camp, Afghan officials were quoted as saying by AP.
Afghan forces have struggled to combat a resurgent Taliban since US and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, switching to a counterterrorism and support role.
The Taliban unleashed a wave of attacks across Afghanistan on Tuesday, targeting police compounds and government facilities with suicide bombers, and killing at least 74 people, officials said.
Among those killed in one of the attacks was a provincial police chief. Scores were also wounded, both policemen and civilians. Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, Murad Ali Murad, called Tuesday’s onslaught the “biggest terrorist attack this year.”
Over the past two years and after the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops, the Taliban have stepped up attacks and spread from their southern heartland across the country. Attacks in the north have also increased.


Boko Haram kills second kidnapped aid worker in Nigeria: Red Cross

Updated 23 min 7 sec ago
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Boko Haram kills second kidnapped aid worker in Nigeria: Red Cross

ABUJA: Daesh-allied Boko Haram militants have killed another kidnapped female Red Cross worker in northeast Nigeria in a “despicable act of cruelty,” the agency said on Tuesday, a month after militants murdered one of her colleagues.
Three female health workers were kidnapped on March 1 during a Boko Haram raid on the remote town of Rann, in Borno state, that killed three other aid workers and eight Nigerian soldiers.
Two of the kidnapped women, Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa, worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), while the third, Alice Loksha, worked for the UN children’s agency, UNICEF.
The ICRC said on Tuesday it had received information Liman had been killed by her captors, without giving further details. The government had also earlier announced news of the second killing.
“The news of Hauwa’s death has broken our hearts,” ICRC’s Regional Director for Africa, Patricia Danzi said in a statement.
“We appealed for mercy and an end to such senseless murders. How can it be that two female health care workers were killed back-to-back?“
There had been no news of the trio until last month when the ICRC said it had received footage of Khorsa’s killing from a Boko Haram faction.
The faction then threatened to kill Liman and Loksha, as well as a 15-year-old Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state, in February.
The ICRC last weekend appealed for their release underscoring that they were “doing nothing but helping communities” in the conflict-riven region.
But Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed earlier announced the latest death as a deadline expired and said the government was “shocked and saddened” at the killing, calling it “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly.”
He did not initially identify the victim but later added in a tweet that he “commiserated with the family of Hauwa Liman.”
“It is very unfortunate that it has come to this. Before and after the deadline issued by her abductors, the federal government did everything any responsible government should do to save the aid worker,” he said.
“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through. In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole.”
He said officials continued to work to free the others from captivity.
More than 27,000 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, while nearly two million others remain homeless due to the conflict.
Nigeria’s military and government maintain the extremist rebels are weakened to the point of defeat but fighters from the Daesh-backed faction have conducted repeated raids on military bases in recent months.
The faction split from the faction led by long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in August 2016 in protest at the latter’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians in raids and suicide bombings.
Analysts say they believe the switch by militants from attacking “hard” government and military targets to killing hostages is the result of a hard-line takeover of the Daesh-backed faction.
Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, abducting thousands of women and girls, and forcing young men and boys to fight in their ranks.
The mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno state town of Chibok in April 2014 brought global attention to the insurgency and was widely condemned. Some 107 girls have since been released or found.