Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tale of Taliban Spring Offensive

Taliban suicide bombers hit Kabul,attacked Jalalabad, Logar, Paktia their primary targets were western military and diplomatic installations.Tailban's 'Spring Offensive" on western military & diplomats.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was moved to a safe area and the presidential palace went into lockdown as the capital Kabul was hit by a wave of attacks Sunday, an aide said.
The embattled president was discussing the budget with a group of lawmakers when explosions and gunfire rocked three locations in the capital, including an upmarket diplomatic enclave close to his office, media  source said.

Heavily-armed Taliban suicide bombers on Sunday unleashed a wave of coordinated attacks in Afghanistan with several explosions and gunfire rocking the diplomatic area and Parliament in Kabul and three other cities but no Indian target was attacked. Gunmen launched series of attacks in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, assaulting Western embassies in the heavily guarded, central diplomatic area and at the parliament in the west, the officials media said.

According to India's Ambassador to Afghanistan Gautam Mukhopadhyay, all Indians were safe. ITBP Director General Ranjit Sinha said there was no threat to the Indian embassy as it was located three to four km away from the scene of the attack this afternoon by the Taliban gunmen who came from different directions in perhaps an unprecedented assault of this nature.Taliban claimed responsibility for around a dozen attacks by the gunmen in central Kabul which has stunned Afghan authorities. Any casualties is still unknown but Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoubi Salangi was quoted as having said one attacker had been killed near the Parliament.

The militants attacked five-star Kabul Star Hotel in Wazir Akhbar Khan area of the capital and some tried to enter the Afghan parliament firing rockets but were engaged by security forces and driven back, officials said.An unknown number of Taliban men armed with light and heavy weapons targeted Afghan governmental and International offices in three different areas of Kabul, police said. A number of Taliban militants took positions at a newly-build building at the Shahr-e-Naw, a neighborhood of Kabul. They battled with Afghan forces for several hours after the militants began assaulting Western embassies.The building is located close to American embassy, Turkey embassy, presidential palace, Iranian embassy, ISAFs headquarters, German embassy, UK embassy and different other diplomatic offices."I am on the spot and hearing the gunfire being traded between the suicide bombers and Afghan forces. Until now I heard several explosions," a news agency correspondent reported from the scene of attack.

In central Kabul, insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades and rifles from an unfinished eight-story commercial building. From their perch, at least four men fired in the direction of the German Embassy and NATO’s military headquarters, both of which were just a few hundred yards from the attackers.
This is a message that our spring offensive has begun,” said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who said the primary targets were western military and diplomatic installations.In a text message to the reporters, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said: "Today, afternoon, at 1 pm, suicide bombings are happening by our Mujaheddeen at the ISAF headquarters, Parliament building, and other diplomatic offices in Kabul, and our enemies got many casualties." The militants also struck at an airport in Jalalabad, Logar and Paktia. A few others Taliban militants armed with heavy weapons positioned at a newly-build building are targeting Afghan parliament at the Darul Aman area of Kabul. The battle is ongoing between Afghan and Taliban militant forces, Afghan private tv, Tolo Tv, said. Another group of militants are targeting an ISAFs base, Turkish military base, and a training camp of Afghan National Army at Pule Charkhi area of Kabul. They are targeting them from a building which they took under their control.According to the eyewitness, suicide bombers had taken over the newly-built five-star hotel in Kabul, which was reportedly on fire.
Outside Kabul, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates to Jalalabad airport in eastern city of Nangarhar province, wounding several people, police said. 

Four bombers tried to enter the airport and two detonated their explosives when they were stopped at the gate, officials said.Two others were wounded and arrested.Taliban militants also attacked ISAF's Provincial Reconstruction Team, Or PRT, in Jalalabad."The battle is going on," Tolo tv said."In Jalalabad, several mujahidin attacked airport and PRT compound. The fighting is going on and our mujahidin are showing very strong resistance," the Taliban spokesman said.
According to reports, Taliban also attacked Military Academy Compound in Jalalabad road, District No 9 of Kabul. In Logar province, Taliban militants attacked a police compound, PRT Compound and provincial Intelligence Department.

In Paktia province also, Taliban attacked police Regional Zone Compound, airport, police headquarters and Intelligence Department. "The fighting is going on in all the provinces," Mujahed said.The attackers also fired rockets at the parliament building and at the Russian embassy, officials said. The embassies were not immediately available to comment.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Sunday expressed Pakistan's deep concerns over reports of attacks in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan."Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism in all formsand has consistently encouraged dialogue to resolve issues in Afghanistan," Khar said.
The Foreign Minister also said that Pakistan stands in solidarity with all Afghan brothers and sisters suffering the continuous violence and instability in the country.Khar added that the delegation of female Parliamentarians visiting Kabul were safe and under no threat.

Delhiites are not eager to vote and their daily life is busy commuting from office to home.MCD polls on April 15 with  cozy temperatures at ease to  seal the electoral fate of 2,400 candidates when people hit the polling booths on Sunday to elect councilors for the newly-carved Trio- municipal bodies in the capital.

Election is seen as a litmus test for ensuing of next year’s Assembly polls. The campaign ended at an unusual time of 5:30 AM on Saturday.
Political parties and candidates, a large chunk of them independents, spent a sleepless night wooing voters at the last minute.The counting of votes will take place on Tuesday. The polls to the three civic bodies – East, North and South—carved out from Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is crucial for Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, and the opposition BJP, as the Assembly elections is just 18 months away.
The State Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for Sunday’s polling by deploying around 70, 000 officials for conducting the polls and over 30,000 police personnel for security.

Militants storm Pakistan jail, freeing hundreds of prisoners

By sagarmedia on April 14, 2012 | Edit
  BANNU: Unknown assailants stormed Central Jail Bannu with heavy gunfire, emptying the jail of its 400 inmates, Geo News reported. Dozens of police guards and attackers were injured in the cross firing .According to police sources, unknown militants attacked Bannu Central Jail with heavy gunfire. Rocket launchers were also used in the attack.The injured have been rushed to district hospital.
Jail administration has asked for more police force to tackle the situation. Heavy contingent of FC and army have arrived for police assistance.
Militants stormed a prison on early Sunday in northwest Pakistan, injuring several policemen and prisoners, state and private TV channels reported.TV channels reported that hundreds of inmates also escaped after heavily armed militants lobbed hand grenades at the main gate of the central prison in Bannu, a main district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Bannu is located near the North Waziristan tribal region which borders Afghanistan.
After hurling hand grenades, the gunmen used automatic weapons and fired at the police guards. The attackers blew the main gate with grenades, helping the inmates to flee.
There was no official comment on the attack.The attack triggered exchange of firing between the police and the attackers. Dozens of police guards and prisoners were injured in the firing and were shifted to a local hospital.
>Reports said the gunmen arrived in vehicles and on foot and launched the attack. They escaped after the attack.The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Local TV channels reported that it is the first biggest attack on a prison in Pakistan.
Geo TV reported that nearly 400 prisoners, including those involved in serious crimes, escaped. Express and ARY TV channels reported that around 800 prisoners fled from the jail. There was no report if any militant was among those who fled after the attack

UNSC: Advance team of unarmed observers to Syria

UN Security Council on Saturday decided to send an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria in order to monitor a ceasefire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the observers to “liaise with the parties and to begin to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties.”
The Security Council “expresses its intention, subject to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, to establish immediately, after consultations between the secretary-general and the Syrian government, a United Nations supervision mission in Syria to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties,” the resolution said.
The UN mission is also mandated to monitor the implementation of the six-point peace plan by Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, the resolution said.
Annan’s six-point plan, widely backed by the international community, calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, a daily halt in fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment for the wounded, as well as talks between the government and opposition.
The Syrian government has accepted Annan’s six-point plan and the April 10 deadline to put an early end to the fighting in the Middle East country, which has been plunged into the crisis since March 2011.
The advance team, drawn from various UN peacekeeping or observer missions in the region, will be deployed soon after the approval of the Security Council, Ahmad Fawzi, Annan’s spokesman said earlier in Geneva.
The full mission would reach 250 observers, Fawzi said, and as is common on such missions, Syria would have ultimate approval over the nationalities involved.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the UN, told the Security Council after the vote that the revised draft resolution is “more balanced and better reflect the realities on the ground.”
Shortly before the council vote, Churkin said that he was satisfied with the revised draft and would vote in favor of the text.
Churkin, when speaking to reporters here Friday, criticized the U.S. draft for asking too many work to be done, saying, “We have put together a shorter version of (the U.S.) text.”
Russia’s draft takes out the demand for “unimpeded” access by observers and the warning of new measures. It also crosses out a condemnation of human rights abuses in Syria.
The Security Council “calls upon the Syrian government to ensure the effective operation of the mission, including its advance team” by “ensuring its full, unimpeded, and immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfill its mandate, ” the resolution said.
The resolution also calls on the Syrian government to allow “unobstructed communications” for the mission, including its advance team, and allow it to “freely and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with the mission.”
The Security Council “calls upon the parties to guarantee the safety of the advance team without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities,” the resolution said.
The resolution “requests the secretary-general to report immediately to the Security Council any obstruction to the effective operation with the Syrian authorities.”
The Security Council “expresses its intention to assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate,” the resolution said.
Meanwhile, the Security Council “reiterates its call for the Syrian authorities to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in accordance with international law and guiding principles of humanitarian assistance and calls upon all parties in Syria, in particular the Syrian authorities, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance,” the resolution said.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said here Friday that humanitarian organizations need to obtain unhindered access into Syria as there are at least a million people remain in need of urgent humanitarian help in the country.
“Even as the political and military situation evolves, the immediate priority for humanitarian organizations is to obtain unhindered access, especially to people in areas which have seen heavy fighting,” Amos said in a statement.

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