Taliban attacks southern Afghanistan airport
An Afghan policeman works during the visit of the German Defense Minister in Kabul on December 8, 2015. (AFP/Kay Nietfeld)
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Taliban militants have launched an attack on the airport in the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, clashing with security forces there.
According to Sameem Khpalwak, a spokesman for Kandahar governor, the assault occurred on Tuesday after the militants "managed to breach the first gate of the complex."
There have been no reports of casualties so far.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, meanwhile, confirmed the raid and said a number of Taliban members had entered the airport grounds and engaged in fighting security forces.
Earlier in the day, two bombers attacked a police station in Kandahar, blowing up their explosives.
In a separate development, at least 54 Taliban militants were killed and dozens more injured in renewed infighting between rival Taliban factions in Shindand district near the western Afghan city of Herat.
Officials said loyalists to new Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour clashed with those loyal to Taliban commander Mullah Mohammad Rasool, who served as the governor of the southern Nimruz province during Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan. Mullah Rasool’s loyalists later set fire to their rivals’ bases.
Ehsanullah Hayat, a police spokesman in Herat, stressed that there is growing division among the Taliban militants in the area.
Afghan media also reported on Tuesday that at least 11 people lost their lives in a US-led drone strike in the Khogyani district of the eastern Nangarhar province.
The dead are said to be Taliban elements; however, the group is yet to comment on the incident.
Five other people—reportedly Taliban militants—were also killed in a bomb blast in the Chaparhar district, based on reports.
The United States regularly uses drones for airstrikes and spying missions in Afghanistan, as well as in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border, among other places.
Washington claims that the airstrikes target militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks. The United Nations also says the US drone attacks are “targeted killings” that flout international law.
Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity years after the United States and its allies attacked the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s war on terror. Although the Taliban militant group was removed from power as a result of the invasion, many areas in the country are still threatened by insecurity.
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