Tag Archives: Taliban

Suicide bomb kills at least 80 and wounds more than 350 in Afghanistan

Taliban denies responsibility for massive blast in Kabul which comes amid wave of renewed militant violence across the country and at beginning of holy month of Ramadan

The death toll in a huge explosion that rocked Kabul’s city centre has risen to 80 and another 350 people have been injured, Afghanistan’s Public Heath Ministry has said.

The damage is believed to have been caused by a powerful suicide car bomb deployed during rush hour on Wednesday morning, police spokesperson Basir Mujahid confirmed.

Continue reading Suicide bomb kills at least 80 and wounds more than 350 in Afghanistan

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Suicide attack on NATO convoy in Kabul kills four: At Least 256 Killed

The blast also destroyed or badly damaged a number of civilian vehicles nearby.

A suicide bombing near the U.S. embassy in Kabul on Wednesday killed four people and wounded at least 22, Afghan officials said, in an attack on a convoy of armoured personnel carriers used by the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

Continue reading Suicide attack on NATO convoy in Kabul kills four: At Least 256 Killed

U.S. Concerned Russia Supplying Arms To Afghan Taliban

A top U.S. Army general has suggested during a visit to Afghanistan by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that Russia is arming Taliban militants.

General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said during a joint press conference in Kabul with Mattis on April 24 that he wouldn’t dispute that Russia’s involvement in the Afghan war includes Moscow providing weapons to the Tailban.

Continue reading U.S. Concerned Russia Supplying Arms To Afghan Taliban

Twitter ‘misplaces’ Taliban official in Pakistan

tweet

A senior spokesman for the Taliban has denied that he is in Pakistan, after one of his tweets located him there.

Zabihullah Mujahid appeared to have had his location tagged to his Twitter updates on Friday, labelling him as being in “Sindh, Pakistan”.

He dismissed the location as an “enemy plot”, tweeting that he was definitely in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is often accused of having covert links with the Taliban, an allegation it denies.

After Twitter users noticed the labelling, he tweeted: “My Twitter account has been manipulated – as part of weak efforts of enemy plot, it showed that I am based in Sindh of Pakistan, I call this attempt as fake and shame [sic].”

“Now, the enemy’s fake act has been exposed, and with full confidence, I can say that I am in my own country.”

His exact location is a secret. However, many Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to seek shelter in neighbouring Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s Opium Industry Now Employs More People Than Its Military

Afghanistan Muddy Boots

Afghanistan’s opium economy provides more employment — “up to 411,000 full-time-equivalent jobs” — than even the country’s armed forces, according to a quarterly report released today by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

The country’s poppy cultivation is at an all-time high, covering more than 200,000 hectares, another SIGAR report found earlier this month.

Opium and its derivatives are the country’s largest export, worth $3 billion in 2013, an increase from $2 billion in the year before.

In fact, Afghanistan’s opium production has been on a constant uptick since 2010, according to a chart included in the SIGAR report:

SIGAR Poppy Cultivation Estimates Graph

“Counternarcotics Appears To Have Fallen Off The Agenda”

Despite the rampant growth of an illicit drug economy that stokes corruption and even finances the Taliban, the concern over opium has diminished. The US and its partners seem to have given up on opium eradication as a goal in the country. As the SIGAR report notes, it isn’t even mentioned in “the declarations and communiqués from the conferences on Afghanistan reconstruction that have become a mainstay of the international effort.”

Opium cultivation is paid only “oblique reference” in the 2012 document laying out the country’s reconstruction. Indeed, nowhere in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework do the words “poppy” or “opium” appear, even as the industry plays an ever-bigger role in the life of Afghans.

Meanwhile, appropriations for the Department of Defense’s Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities Fund (or DOD CN) have plummeted since a steady climb in the aughts and a peak in 2012. Since 2002, the US has spent nearly $7.8 billion trying to tackle Afghanistan’s opium problem.

This chart shows how that effort recieved less and less US budgetary attention, at the same time opium production in the country increased:

Counter Narcotics Funding Afghanistan SIGAR

Read the entire report here.

Afghanistan: Still Top Opium Producer, User

According to FP: Afghanistan remains awash in opium, despite $8.2 billion in American taxpayer dollars spent since 2002 to curb its rampant drug production and trade, a U.S. reconstruction watchdog concluded.

FP writes that the country’s own drug use rates remain among the highest in the world, according to a new quarterly report by the congressionally mandated Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, or SIGAR.

A 2014 World Drug Report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime confirmed Afghanistan again leads the world in opium production and for the third consecutive year saw more land being used for poppy farming — a record 520,000 acres — despite U.S. efforts.

Not only is Afghanistan yet again the world’s largest grower and producer of illegal opium. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime representative Jean-Luc Lemahieu says it also has more than one million drug users.

For most of the last twenty years, Afghanistan has been the world’s largest opium producer; in 2000, the country accounted for roughly 70 percent of the world’s heroin supply.

Then in 2001, the Taliban banned poppy, citing Islamic prohibition against drugs, and wiped out 99 percent of the country’s production of the crop.

The prohibition caused near economic ruin in rural areas. Some farmers tried to replace the poppy with wheat, which requires more water, and in the spring of 2001, many questioned whether the Taliban could enforce the ban for another year.

Afghanistan’s southern provinces, which have been disproportionately affected by the recent surge in violence, continued to drive overall production, with a 27% increase in yields.

Afghan opium continues to flood drug markets, including 90 percent of Canada’s supply and 85 percent of the worldwide market, according to the SIGAR report.

Yet hardly any Afghan heroin makes its way to the United States, despite the growing appetite for the drug. Overall, the U.N. found that Afghan heroin accounted for only 4 percent of drugs sold in the United States.

Afghan conflict: At least 7 killed in powerful explosion in Kabul

AP Photo

A Taliban suicide bomber driving a car has targeted a Nato troop convoy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, reportedly killing one civilian and injuring 22.

The blast took place on the main road to the airport, close to the US embassy and the diplomatic quarter.

Two Nato troops suffered light injuries, an alliance statement said.

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Afghan security forces have taken on much of the task of battling Taliban militants since Nato ended major combat operations last December.

A smaller contingent of foreign troops remains in the country to provide training and support to local security forces.

More than 4,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting this year, prompting fears that the toll for 2015 could exceed that recorded last year.

Nato forces at scene of blast in Kabul

A massive plume of smoke was seen rising above the scene of the blast. A man named Ahmad Farhad told the Associated Press news agency that he seen a car attack the Nato convoy.

“I saw two to three damaged vehicles and wounded victims were everywhere and there was no one to help them,” he said.

One person was killed in the blast, the Afghan interior ministry said. The injured reportedly include women and children.

The blast struck a busy shopping area in Kabul (AP)

Casualty figures have fluctuated throughout the day, with earlier reports saying more people had died.

The latest attack will raise fresh questions over a peace process between the government and the Taliban that has just begun to take shape, says the BBC’s David Loyn in Kabul.

Last week, Taliban militants launched a high-profile assault on the parliament building, as legislators were preparing to select a new defence minister.

Earlier on Tuesday, militants carried out a suicide on a police building in Helmand province, reportedly killing two people and wounding more than 50.

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