Seven militants killed in attack on Kabul International Airport

Multiple assaults Seven heavily armed Taliban fighters launched a pre-dawn attack Monday morning on the military side of Kabul International Airport, where a large international base is located, though damage was limited to a tent inside the facility (AP, AP, NYT, NYT, Pajhwok).  The militants were equipped with suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms, according to government officials.  Two Afghan civilians were ...

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images
MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images

Multiple assaults

Seven heavily armed Taliban fighters launched a pre-dawn attack Monday morning on the military side of Kabul International Airport, where a large international base is located, though damage was limited to a tent inside the facility (APAPNYTNYTPajhwok).  The militants were equipped with suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms, according to government officials.  Two Afghan civilians were wounded and all seven attackers were killed - two when they detonated their vests and five in gunfire from security personnel.  It was one of three attacks on state facilities Monday morning. 

Multiple assaults

Seven heavily armed Taliban fighters launched a pre-dawn attack Monday morning on the military side of Kabul International Airport, where a large international base is located, though damage was limited to a tent inside the facility (APAPNYTNYTPajhwok).  The militants were equipped with suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms, according to government officials.  Two Afghan civilians were wounded and all seven attackers were killed – two when they detonated their vests and five in gunfire from security personnel.  It was one of three attacks on state facilities Monday morning. 

Three other suicide bombers attempted to attack a district police headquarters just outside of Kabul, while another six tried to take a provincial council building in Zabul province. The six attackers in Zabul were killed by security forces later Monday morning (Pajhwok). Twenty people were injured in the attack, including two council members, but they are all recovering at a nearby hospital.  Elsewhere in Afghanistan, at least nine Taliban fighters and one Afghan Local Police officer were killed in separate incidents (Pajhwok). 

Two American soldiers and an American civilian were killed on Saturday when a soldier with the Afghan National Army opened fire at a base in Paktika province (NYTPost).  The gunman, identified as a company commander, was killed almost immediately and a second man was detained in relation to the incident.  Afghan officials said the incident followed an argument, though it is unclear what the argument was about. The confrontation marked the deadliest insider attack this year. In Farah province, an Italian solider died when two men on a motorcycle threw a grenade at his convoy.  The Taliban praised the attack but did not take responsibility for it. 

Anti-drone resolutions

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly on Monday calling for the end of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Dawn). Similar to the parliamentary resolution that was passed in April 2012, the PTI measure said the drone strikes were a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.  However, it added a demand that the federal government abolish all agreements with the United States pertaining to the drone campaign.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also hoping to end U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani territory by offering to eliminate "terrorist sanctuaries," according to a senior government official (ET). Speaking anonymously, the official acknowledged that there are reasons for the drone attacks and that the new government must address those concerns.  He said Sharif’s newly elected government was working on a new anti-terror strategy that would be discussed at Monday’s cabinet meeting, the first for the new government.  That report comes just days after seven people were killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan and an official protest was lodged with U.S. Embassy officials (NYTPost). 

Sharif met with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday to discuss finding a middle ground with Pakistani Taliban leadership (ET).  While the Pakistani Taliban rescinded its peace offer after the death of deputy leader Waliur Rehman in a drone strike, Pakistan’s Minister of Information, Pervaiz Rashid, said the new government was working to create an environment that would bring them back to the negotiating table. 

Violence that broke out on Saturday following the death of Arif Baloch, a local youth, continued on Monday with five deaths throughout Karachi (ET).  Fighting broke out between the Kutchi Rabita Committee, a local community group, and an unidentified rival organization after Baloch’s death, though it is unclear who attacked Baloch and which group, if any, Baloch belonged to.  To date, at least 11 people have died and 18 have been injured in the fighting (ETET). 

Six people were killed in Khyber Agency on Monday when militants attacked three NATO containers (DawnETPajhwok).  The drivers of the vehicles were killed when militants set the containers on fire, but it is unclear if the other deaths involved the militants or security forces. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a recent letter, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri ruled against the merger of the Syrian-based Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq, saying the groups should have consulted or at least notified al Qaeda’s leaders beforehand (AlJ).  The ruling, which comes two months after the merger was announced, is an attempt to end defections, increasing tensions, and infighting among the groups’ members.  However, sources familiar with the situation say the new group – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – has consolidated about 90 percent of the Arab and foreign fighters currently in Syria, making its disbandment extremely unlikely. 

Sophisticated operations?

Months after Asadullah Khalid, Afghanistan’s spy chief, was wounded by a suicide bomber, a spokesman for the National Directorate of Security has confirmed the attacker, who was stripped searched, hid the bomb inside his rectum (NYT).  The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack, evaded direct questions about the body-cavity bomb saying, "There is a commission…organizing and masterminding these sophisticated and complicated operations. We can’t reveal the secret because we may use these tactics again in the future."

— Jennifer Rowland and Bailey Cahall 

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.