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Taliban targeting aid groups and NGOs

May 15, 2019

Summary: Taliban claim attack on US aid agencies in central Kabul

Afghan security forces guard the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, May 8, 2019. The Taliban attacked the offices of an international NGO in the Afghan capital, setting off a huge explosion and battling Afghan security forces in an assault that killed at least five people, interior ministry said in a statement. (Rahmat Gul / AP)

The New York Times has an article out by Rod Nordland, examining the Taliban’s recent targeted attacks on aid agencies.

Two American aid groups – CARE and Counterpart International were struck by one large attack in Kabul claimed by the Taliban, with as many as 13 reported killed.  The attack was initiated by a common Taliban tactic of suicide bombers blasting gates open to allow other gunmen and bombers to penetrate into the compound or building itself.

Taliban fighters attacked the offices of a U.S.-based aid organization in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, setting off a huge explosion and battling security forces in an assault that lasted more than six hours and killed at least five people, the Interior Ministry said. Dozens of civilian vehicles and shops were either destroyed or damaged, and several buildings were also damaged. A large plume of smoke rose from the area and the sound of sporadic gunfire could be heard…The ministry’s statement said the attack ended after all five insurgents were killed by Afghan forces. “Around 200 people were rescued from both buildings within the compound,” it said.

The attack targeted U.S.-based aid organization Counterpart International, which has offices near those of the Afghan attorney general, said Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi. The group’s offices are in a compound with two five-story buildings…Johan Bass, U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, strongly condemned the attack on the NGO. He said the targeted organization helps local communities, trains journalists and supports the Afghan people.

Map locating an attack in the Shar-e-Naw area in Kabul.The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in a statement also condemned the insurgents for deliberately targeting a civilian aid organization.

“Today’s attack was particularly deplorable, hitting civilians helping Afghans,” the statement said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group attacked the organization because it was involved in “harmful Western activities” inside Afghanistan, without elaborating…The Taliban said they would continue their attacks during Ramadan, but would be “very careful of civilians during any operation.”

The insurgents have rejected past cease-fire proposals, saying U.S. and NATO troops must withdraw from the country first. The Taliban also refuse to negotiate directly with the government in Kabul, seeing it as a U.S. puppet.

Image result for taliban attack counterpart international mapThe Taliban gave an official statement explaining their rationale for the the attack.

“Amid the ongoing Al Fath Operations, an American network named “Counterpart” was brought under a martyrdom attack in Kabul city earlier today…

The said target was under the surveillance of Mujahideen for a very long time. Between 40 to 50 foreign advisors and tens of hirelings were based in the building where they groomed Kabul administration security and other personnel in implementing pro-western objectives.

Today’s attack resulted in tens of foreign invaders and their hirelings killed and wounded. Similarly, enemy reinforcements coming in from the outside were also engaged for 6-hours as a result dozens of other gunmen including high-ranking officers were killed and wounded…

This US network “Counterpart” began its operations in 2013 and was funded by satanic USAID with $70 million budget to implement 5 year pro-occupation projects.

The members of this group included stooges of all levels from Ashraf Ghani to lower-ranking individuals who implemented these projects and played an active role in the election process of the Kabul administration.

This network trained security personnel of the Kabul administration to supposedly strengthen and expand their “capabilities” so just like their foreign masters, they also embrace ruthlessness, murder, oppression and enmity towards Islamic values as well as abhor mosque, madrasa, Mullah and religious scholars.

The ruthless armed forces who know no Islamic and humanitarian limits such as Zero One, Zero Two and others are also a product of these institutions.

On the other hand, this network encouraged and promoted inter-mixing between men and women at the highest levels which has resulted in rampant moral corruption spreading in cities and areas under the control of Kabul administration over the past eighteen years, enmity towards Islamic values expanding and the job of students of this institution was to even challenge Islamic laws and regulations.

The said network funded by USAID was also implemented a program code named ‘Afghan Angel’ that promoted moral corruption and religious deviation in our country.”

 

Although generally recognised and respected across Afghanistan, the Red Cross itself has been the target of attacks by insurgents.[1] Most concerning of all, in August 2018, the Taliban declared that they would no longer give safe passage or protection for the Red Cross operating in Afghanistan.[2]  Although this was subsequently revoked, the Taliban reinstated this ban in April 2019.[3]

These are soft targets that are easy to hit and to garner media attention.  Terror attacks in crowded central Kabul inevitably generate a disproportionate amount of collateral casualties and damage.  The Taliban’s policy on targeting of such groups has been fluid over the years.  But these actions do not give any encouragement to the thoughts of peace talks which are currently supposed to be ongoing.

 

[1] Graham-Harrison, E., ‘Red Cross office in Afghanistan hit by suicide bombers’, The Guardian, 29 May 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/29/red-cross-afghanistan-suicide-bombers

[2] ’Afghanistan Taliban withdraws protection for Red Cross’, BBC News, 15 Aug. 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45194774

[3] ‘Afghan Taliban bans WHO and Red Cross work amid vaccination drive’, Reuters, 11 Apr. 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-taliban-aid/afghan-taliban-bans-who-and-red-cross-work-amid-vaccination-drive-idUSKCN1RN257

 

 

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