Four attackers killed in brazen assault on Afghan presidential compound

Presidential attack Four suicide bombers and three security guards were killed Tuesday during a brazen attack on the heavily fortified presidential palace in Kabul (AFP, BBC, NYT, Pajhwok).  The attackers used land cruisers similar to those used by coalition forces, ISAF uniforms, fake badges, and vehicle passes to access the compound, and they were able ...

ALLI GHAZNAVI/AFP/Getty Images
ALLI GHAZNAVI/AFP/Getty Images
ALLI GHAZNAVI/AFP/Getty Images

Presidential attack

Four suicide bombers and three security guards were killed Tuesday during a brazen attack on the heavily fortified presidential palace in Kabul (AFP, BBC, NYT, Pajhwok).  The attackers used land cruisers similar to those used by coalition forces, ISAF uniforms, fake badges, and vehicle passes to access the compound, and they were able to bluff their way past two security checkpoints before they were halted by security officers (AP).  The Afghan Taliban released a statement taking responsibility for the attack and claimed the targets were the presidential compound, the defense ministry, and the Ariana Hotel, which they said is the CIA base in Kabul (Post). 

Presidential attack

Four suicide bombers and three security guards were killed Tuesday during a brazen attack on the heavily fortified presidential palace in Kabul (AFP, BBC, NYT, Pajhwok).  The attackers used land cruisers similar to those used by coalition forces, ISAF uniforms, fake badges, and vehicle passes to access the compound, and they were able to bluff their way past two security checkpoints before they were halted by security officers (AP).  The Afghan Taliban released a statement taking responsibility for the attack and claimed the targets were the presidential compound, the defense ministry, and the Ariana Hotel, which they said is the CIA base in Kabul (Post). 

Zabihullah Mujahid, an Afghan Taliban spokesman, went on to say that the Kabul attacks would not affect the reconciliation process as that follows a "political track" (ET).  He also noted that there is currently no ceasefire agreement between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and the United States.  Renouncing violence is one of the pre-conditions the Afghan and U.S. governments have laid out for the talks.

James Cunningham, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, denounced the early morning attack and noted that the attackers were killed without achieving their goals (Pajhwok).  According to Cunningham’s statement, "this again demonstrates the futility of the Taliban’s efforts to use violence and terror to achieve their aims."  Separately, Ambassador James Dobbins, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and President Hamid Karzai met in Kabul on Monday to discuss the peace process and reaffirm their commitment to reconciliation (Pajhwok, Pajhwok).

Eleven civilians and six policemen were killed Tuesday in separate roadside bombings in Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces (Pajhwok).  In Kandahar, one man, eight women, and two children were killed while on their way to a shrine, and six policemen were killed in Uruzgan as they returned from an operation in a nearby district.  The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast in Uruzgan, but not the bomb in Kandahar.

Affiliate support

In a video statement released Tuesday, Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said the organization supports peace negotiations between the Afghan Taliban and the United States (Dawn).  Ehsan said the group has pledged its allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar and would accept any decision he makes.

Following his meetings in Afghanistan, Amb. Dobbins heads to Pakistan on Tuesday for a two-day visit (Dawn).  He will meet with Sartaj Aziz, the Prime Minister’s advisor on foreign affairs and national security, as well as other officials.  He is expected to brief them on his discussions concerning the Afghan peace process.

Former Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf’s legal troubles continued Tuesday when the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) listed him as the main defendant in the Benazir Bhutto murder case (Dawn).  The FIA leveled charges of terrorism against the former leader and accused him of hatching a conspiracy that led to Bhutto’s assassination. 

Eight soldiers were killed and at least six others were wounded in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday when militants ambushed a vehicle carrying army personnel (NYT, Reuters).  Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant pro-Pakistan group, claimed responsibility for the ambush and warned of more such attacks. 

Computer whiz 

Lahore resident Muhammad Huzair Awan, 7, has allegedly become the youngest Microsoft certified computer specialist after scoring 780 out 1000 on a recent certification exam that tested program installation, upgrading and migrating to Windows 7, and hardware configuration, as well as several other technical challenges (ET). While the third-grader, who will receive his official certificate in July, wants to become a computer engineer, for now he is focused on upgrading his laptop and playing Angry Birds. 

— Jennifer Rowland and Bailey Cahall 

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