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Military

Taliban Attack Kandahar Airport

by VOA News December 08, 2015

Deadly clashes erupted in Afghanistan Tuesday night after a group of at least nine heavily armed Taliban suicide bombers attacked the airport in the southern city of Kandahar.

Regional corps commander General Daud Shah Wafadar told VOA he was apparently the target of the attack that killed a bodyguard and wounded another.

"I was going back to my residence from work when I came under attack, but I escaped unhurt," Wafadar said, adding the violence occurred inside the residential part the airport.

Holed up in school

He said that Afghan forces quickly engaged the assailants and killed four of them while the rest have taken up positions in the nearby school building.

"One of the attackers managed to enter the house of an officer next to my residence and has taken the family hostage," General Wafadar said.

Afghan security forces are carefully conducting a counterterrorism operation to avoid civilian casualties, he added.

The Taliban, in a statement sent to VOA, claimed its suicide bombers have inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan security forces, killing and wounding dozens of them and that intense fighting is raging there. But the insurgent group often exaggerates the toll in such attacks.

Meanwhile, Afghan officials reported Tuesday that fighting between rival Taliban factions left dozens of people dead and many more wounded in the western city of Herat, which borders Iran.

Militants sources said the Shindand district, the scene of the fighting, in the province is where leaders and fighters of a recently formed breakaway Taliban faction are entrenched.

There have been reports the mainstream insurgency had been preparing to mount an assault on the dissident group for refusing to plege alligiance to its new chief, Mullah Mansour Akhtar.

Shindand district

The Taliban said the fighting started after 'bandits in Shindand district with the help of members of Afghan militias mounted an unexpected' attack on Taliban fighters, killing at least eight of them.

The Taliban said that its counteroffensive defeated the assault, killing dozens of the attackers. It is not possible to verify the fighting details.

There have been reports the mainstream insurgency had been preparing to mount an assault on the dissident group for refusing to plege alligiance to its new chief, Mullah Mansour Akhtar.

But the Taliban has not commented on the reports of fighting or allegations it is moving against those opposing the new leadership.

There have been reports of infighting in recent weeks in other parts of Afghanistan since Mansour took charge of the group in July when it confirmed the death of its founder Mullah Omar.

Some key Taliban members opposed Omar's successor and announced to form the splinter faction in November.



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