12 Somali soldiers killed in Shabab attack

Updated 19 September 2015

12 Somali soldiers killed in Shabab attack

MOGADISHU: Twelve Somali government soldiers have been killed in an attack by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabab militants, officials and witnesses said Saturday.
The attack occurred early Friday at a military base in the Yaq-Bariweyne area about 100 kilometres (65 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu.
“Several of the militants were also killed during the fighting,” said Mohamed Adan, a Somali military official. Witnesses said the militants overran the camp, looted military supplies and then left.
“The Shabab fighters took control of the camp and looted everything. The commanders addressed residents of the village, they said the rule of Sharia law will be back soon,” said Abdirahman Somow, a local eyewitness.
“The Mujahedeen fighters carried out a dawn raid on the Yaq-Bariweyne military camp, nearly fifteen apostate soldiers were killed and a huge amount of military supplies have been taken,” the Shabab also said in a brief statement posted on militant websites.
The Shabab, who have recently lost a string of key bases in the face of an offensive by the African Union’s AMISOM force, has stepped up counter attacks involving hit-and-run raids on several bases, including an attack on an African Union camp earlier this month that left at least 50 dead.
The Shabab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 AMISOM troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
nur-sas/boc


Taliban aim to sign deal with US by end of month

Updated 18 January 2020

Taliban aim to sign deal with US by end of month

  • Washington has for weeks been calling on the militants to reduce violence
  • The Taliban and the US had been negotiating the deal for a year

KABUL: The Taliban are aiming to reach a withdrawal agreement with the US by the end of January and are prepared to “scale down” military operations ahead of signing the deal, according to their chief spokesman.
The statement by Suhail Shaheen to Pakistani daily Dawn comes as the group and the US held discussions in Doha this week, after insurgent sources told AFP they had offered to initiate a brief cease-fire.
“We have agreed to scale down military operations in days leading up to the signing of the peace agreement with the United States,” Shaheen told Dawn in a report published Saturday.
He added that the Taliban were “optimistic” a deal with Washington could be signed before the end of the month and that the reduction in fighting across the country would also include the targeting of Afghan forces.
“It’s now a matter of days,” said the spokesman.
Washington has for weeks been calling on the militants to reduce violence, posing it as a condition for resuming formal negotiations on an agreement that would see US troops begin to leave the country in return for security guarantees, after a near two-decade fight.
The Taliban and the US had been negotiating the deal for a year and were on the brink of an announcement in September 2019 when President Donald Trump abruptly declared the process “dead,” citing Taliban violence.
Talks were later restarted between the two sides in December in Qatar, but were paused again following an attack near the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, which is run by the US.
Any agreement with the Taliban is expected to have two main pillars — an American withdrawal from Afghanistan, and a commitment by the insurgents not to offer sanctuary to militants — and would ultimately have to be given final approval by Trump.
The Taliban’s relationship with Al-Qaeda was the main reason cited for the US invasion more than 18 years ago.
A deal would hopefully pave the way for intra-Afghan talks.
Many observers agree that the war can no longer be won militarily, and that the only route to a lasting peace in Afghanistan is for an agreement between the Taliban and the US-backed government in Kabul.
The Taliban have until now refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate regime, raising fears that fighting will continue regardless of any deal ironed out with the Americans.

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