Entries in Suicide Bombers (16)


Suicide Attack in Afghanistan's Capital Ends After Eight Hours

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- An attack on the headquarters of the Kabul traffic police department in Afghanistan that left three cops dead and four others injured has ended after an eight-hour battle between Taliban suicide bombers and police.

The attackers stormed the four-story-high building early Monday morning, with one blowing up his vest at the building's entrance, opening the way for the other attackers.  A gun battle ensued, lasting until late afternoon.

Kabul's police chief, Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi, told ABC News that police killed the last two suicide bombers before they could detonate their vests.  Five were killed in all.

He said police forces deliberately took their time in killing the attackers because they were close to rooms with important government documents.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Multiple Insurgents Killed in Series of Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghan authorities say more than 10 insurgents were killed in Kandahar City Monday afternoon in a series of suicide attacks.  

A spokesperson for the governor of Kandahar Province says three suicide bombers riding in a vehicle blew themselves up on a city street, killing two children and wounding six other civilians.

Authorities say several other insurgents launched a suicide attack on a Kandahar police station and were all killed by Afghan police.

In central Afghanistan, five Afghan police officers were killed when their truck struck a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban, Afghan officials said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Apologizes for Photos of Soldiers With Enemy Remains

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For the second time in three months, the most senior U.S. officials in Afghanistan have had to condemn images of soldiers disrespecting the bodies of their enemies.

On Wednesday, even before the Los Angeles Times had published photos it had obtained that appear to show American soldiers posing next to the mutilated remains of Taliban insurgents in 2010, America's top diplomat and military commander rebuked the soldiers in the photos and promised investigations.

The U.S.'s quick response Wednesday, and in January -- when video of U.S. Marines urinating on insurgents' bodies was called "inexplicable" -- appear to be attempts to convince an already skeptical Afghan public that not all Americans serving in Afghanistan treat dead bodies in ways that are forbidden by Islam.

But in this case, Afghan and American officials both said they did not expect that the new photos -- only two out of 18 given to the Los Angeles Times, according to the newspaper -- would incite widespread protest. Many Afghans shrug when they see evidence of U.S. mistreatment of Taliban fighters, and in the case of previous scandals, many Afghans have shown they are more incensed by mistreatment of religious texts, most notably the Quran, than they are of fellow Afghans.

Still, U.S. officials rushed to try and get ahead of the story, releasing almost simultaneous statements approved by senior officials in the State Department and the military.

"This behavior and these images are entirely inconsistent with the values of ISAF and all service members of the fifty ISAF countries serving in Afghanistan," said Gen. John Allen in a statement, referring to the U.S.-led coalition, the International Security Assistance Force. "These actions undermine the daily sacrifices of thousands of ISAF troops who continue to serve honorably in Afghanistan."

Added U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker: "Such actions are morally repugnant, dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military."

The Los Angeles Times reported that the photos were taken in 2010, when members of the 1st brigade, 82nd airborne served in Zabul, a small province in southern Afghanistan.

The photographs depict two separate incidents, according to the newspaper. In one, the soldiers arrived at a police station to inspect body parts of a bomber who had blown himself up. As Afghan police officers are holding up the corpse's legs, two Americans pose for a photo, grinning with their thumbs up.

In the second incident, which the newspaper said occurred a few months later, the same platoon was called by Afghan police to take fingerprints of Taliban fighters who had mistakenly blown themselves up when a bomb they were burying in the road exploded early. One soldier places the dead bomber's hands on another soldier's shoulder as the photo is snapped.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a soldier from within the unit provided the photos on condition of anonymity. He told the newspaper that, in the second case, the soldiers in the photograph "were frustrated, just pissed off -- their buddies had been blown up by IEDs [improvised explosive devices]… so they sort of just celebrated" when they realized the insurgents had accidentally killed themselves.

U.S. officials did not dispute the authenticity of the photos, which they said the newspaper first showed them in the last few weeks.

"It needs to be fully investigated and that investigation is already underway," Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Wednesday in Brussels. "Wherever these facts lead we'll take the appropriate action."

The newspaper reported that seven soldiers appear in the photos, and the military has "identified almost all the individuals," according to Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Command.

The Los Angeles Times reported that military officials requested they not to print the photos, but that it decided to go ahead in part because the soldier who gave the newspaper "expressed the hope that publication would help ensure that alleged security shortcomings at two U.S. bases in Afghanistan in 2010 were not repeated."

That seemed to suggest that the soldier objected to what his fellow soldiers had done and believed their actions and possibly those of his commanders helped reduce the unit's security. Around the time the photos were taken, two Taliban attacks on two of the brigade's bases killed half a dozen soldiers -- bases that the soldier who provided the photos told the newspaper were not sufficiently protected.

Los Angeles Times editor Davan Maharaj said that publication "would fulfill our obligation to readers to report vigorously and impartially on all aspects of the American mission in Afghanistan, including the allegation that the images reflect a breakdown in unit discipline that was endangering U.S. troops."

In Brussels, however, Panetta chastised the newspaper, saying its decision could endanger troops serving in Afghanistan.

"This is war and I know that war is ugly and it's violent. And I know that young people sometimes caught up in the moment make some very foolish decisions. I am not excusing… but neither do I want these images to bring further injury to our people or to our relationship with the Afghan people," Panetta said. "We had urged the L.A. Times not to run these photos and the reason for that is those kinds of photos have been used by the enemy to incite violence and lives have been lost as a result of the publication of similar photos in the past. So we regret that they were published."

The same brigade is now back in Afghanistan, although not the entire unit. U.S. officials Wednesday suggested that few, if any, of the soldiers in the photos had been redeployed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Photos Appear to Show US Soldiers Posing with Suicide Bombers

ISAF/Pfc. Cameron Boyd(NEW YORK) -- The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan along with the U.S. embassy there have strongly condemned photos released Thursday by The Los Angeles Times that appear to show American soldiers in Afghanistan posing with the bodies of suicide bombers.

According to the Times, the photos were taken in 2010 and involved paratroopers with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.  The newspaper obtained the photos from one of the division's soldiers.

In a statement Thursday, Gen. John Allen, head of the International Security Assistance Force, said, "The actions of the individuals photographed do not represent the policies of ISAF or the U.S. Army.  This behavior and these images are entirely inconsistent with the values of ISAF and all service members of the fifty ISAF countries serving in Afghanistan."

Allen said the incident is being "thoroughly investigated by U.S. national authorities."

"We will collaborate with Afghan authorities and carefully examine the facts and circumstances shown in these photos.  As part of this process, we will determine responsibility and accountability of those involved," he added.

An Army spokeswoman told the Times that most of the soldiers pictured have been identified.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, also issued a statement on Thursday, calling the actions "morally repugnant" and saying they "dishonor the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians who have served with distinction in Afghanistan, and do not represent the core values of the United States or our military."

The incident comes as relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan have been strained by recent events, including the inadvertent burning of Qurans at Bagram Air Field in February and the shooting rampage allegedly at the hands of a U.S. Army sergeant that left 17 Afghan civilians dead in March.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Taliban Stage Coordinated Assaults in Kabul, Afghanistan

ABC News(JALALABAD, Afghanistan) -- Taliban insurgents have laid siege to several Kabul neighborhoods, targeting military bases, diplomatic residences, a hotel and Afghanistan's parliament in a series of brazen, coordinated attacks carried out in broad daylight on Sunday.

Up to seven different locations in the city were targeted, including neighborhoods frequented by military and government officials, according to a statement from NATO.

Four suicide bombers also attempted to attack the Jalalabad airfield where Afghan and NATO forces are based.

One attacker blew himself up, while the other three were apprehended before they could strike, according to the airfield commander.

A vehicle laden with explosives was also found parked next to the Afghan parliament building, but the explosives were defused before it could detonate, according to local officials.

The assaults began with a series of explosions – up to ten, according to reports – followed by gunfire that sent women and children in busy streets scurrying for cover.

The gunfire could be heard echoing through the city for more than an hour after the initial explosions.

It's believed the gunmen then holed themselves up in a number of unoccupied buildings, including a building next to the Kabul Star hotel, using them as launching pads for rocket propelled grenades towards nearby targets.

Some of the heaviest fighting took place in the upscale Wazir Akbar Khan district, home to the British, Turkish and Iranian embassies.

Local TV reports say at least three rockets hit the Japanese Embassy, though there are no reports of any casualties.

The U.S. embassy, along with many other western embassies, was immediately put into lockdown.

The emergency measure follows "standard operating procedures after hearing explosions and gunfire in the area," according to U.S. Embassy Spokesperson Gavin Sundwall.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said in a statement that the attacks mark the beginning of the annual spring offensive and were months in the planning.

As the gunfire erupted, at least one member of Parliament picked up firearms, went to a nearby rooftop, and joined Afghan police in firing back at the militants, vowing to defend the country with their own blood, according to reports from Afghan media.

Although there are no reports of anyone killed, today's attacks raise serious questions about the ability of Afghan forces to defend their own capital, as the U.S. begins a major drawdown of 23,000 troops by the end of the summer. U.S. forces expect to fully withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan Leave Several Cops Dead

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Suicide attacks in western and southern Afghanistan on Tuesday left over a dozen people dead, including 11 police officers, according to local authorities.

In one attack, a suicide bomber driving a four wheel drive vehicle detonated his explosives at the entrance of the Guzara district building in Herat province.  The provincial police chief says more than 10 people were killed, including three policeman, and more than 20 others were injured.

Three other suicide bombers, armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, attacked the police office in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province.  A spokesperson for the provincial governor says one attacker detonated his explosives at the entrance of the building, while the other two attackers were killed by police.  Eight policemen died in the attack and a few others were wounded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Twin Suicide Attacks Rattle Syrian City of Aleppo

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Two "terrorist" explosions struck the northern Syrian city of Aleppo early Friday morning, according to State TV.

At least 25 people were killed and 175 others injured after two suicide bombers drove their vans into the military security building and the law enforcement headquarters, State TV quoted the Health Ministry as saying.

Aleppo, which borders Turkey and is Syria’s second largest city, has been relatively quiet as violence rages on in other parts of the country.

The weeping Syria State TV presenter began his report with graphic footage of at least five corpses, reporting that the blasts went off near a public garden where children and families had been playing and eating breakfast.

“Civilians and members of the military were martyred and wounded in the terrorist explosions that targeted Aleppo,” he said.

Concrete rubble filled the streets, as bulldozers cleared away the wreckage. No emergency vehicles or ambulances were visible in the footage.

Like Aleppo, the country’s capital of Damascus has been a stronghold for embattled President Bashar al-Assad and has been practically untouched by the 10-month long uprising that analysts say is on the brink of civil war. The last attack on the capital happened on Jan. 6 when a suicide attacker reportedly killed 26 people.

Meanwhile on Friday morning, the restive city of Homs started "raining" as the shelling by Pro-Assad forces continued. Activists say Thursday’s violence left over 100 people dead and expect Friday to be worse.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Twin Bombings Rock Syrian Capital; Dozens Dead, Injured

LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Two suicide bombers hit the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday, killing and injuring dozens of military personnel and civilians, according to Syrian state TV.

The state TV says the twin attacks targeted security and intelligence buildings and left at least 30 people dead; another 100 were injured.

Friday's bombings mark the first time Damascus has been attacked since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began months ago.  The incident also comes on the heels of the arrival of a team of Arab League observers who are in the country trying to resolve the turmoil stemming from the deadly, months-long crackdown on anti-government protesters.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner issued a statement Friday condemning the violence in Damascus. Here is Toner's statement in full:

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the bombings today in Damascus.  We extend our sympathies to the families of the victims.  There is no justification for terrorism of any kind and we condemn these acts wherever they occur.

For nine long months the Assad regime has used torture and violence to suppress the aspiration of the Syrian people for peaceful political change.  Throughout this time we have spoken out against the violence in Syria, as we have in other countries since the moment peaceful movements for democratic change began in the region, and we will continue to do so.  It is crucial that today's attack not impede the critical work of the Arab League monitoring mission to document and deter human rights abuses with the goal of protecting civilians.  We hope that this mission will proceed unfettered in an atmosphere of non-violence.  The burden is on the regime to cooperate fully and quickly with the monitoring mission.

The Syrian people continue to suffer daily.  They deserve a peaceful political transition that begins with respect of their human rights and an immediate end to repression.  The United States will continue to support the Syrian people in their struggle for a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


British Council Building Comes under Attack in Afghanistan

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- At least three people are dead and two others wounded after suicide bombers attacked a British compound in Kabul, Afghanistan Friday.

The attack began with a suicide car bombing and continued for more than five hours as at least four suicide bombers fought with Afghan police and U.S. and British forces from inside the heavily fortified British Council building.  The siege came in three waves, and workers reportedly hid inside a safe room during the attack.  At one point, British troops brought in a helicopter to evacuate their wounded.

According to officials, two Afghan policemen and a civilian worker were killed.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place on the day that Afghans were celebrating their 92-year independence from Britain.

Friday's bombing follows Taliban attacks earlier this week that left more then two dozen people dead in western and eastern Afghanistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Infamous Al Qaeda Bomb Maker Designing 'Belly Bombs'

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The latest design from al Qaeda's top bomb maker is a "belly bomb" developed to beat airport security in Europe and the Middle East where full body scanners are not widely used, according to U.S. officials.

A bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security warned, "DHS has identified a potential threat from terrorists who may surgically implant explosives or explosive components in humans to conduct terrorist attacks."

According to U.S. officials, the terrorist would detonate the bomb with a chemical-filled syringe.

"We do not think there would be enough to bring down a jetliner, but it is more likely the kind of bomb to be used in an assassination attempt," said one person briefed on the warnings.

U.S. officials told ABC News the "belly bomb" is the invention of Ibrahim Asiri, a young Saudi native who packed explosives into the rectal cavity of his 23-year old brother Abdullah for a suicide mission targeting the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince bin Nayef.  That bomb exploded prematurely, the officials said, and the only casualty was Asiri's brother.

Asiri is also credited with two other failed plots involving the bomb hidden in the underwear of a passenger on a Detroit-bound flight, and the bombs hidden in printers being shipped from Yemen to Chicago.

A U.S. official says the "belly bomb" threat information was recently obtained and led to the bulletin sent to security services overseas and the aviation security community.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration confirmed in a statement information about a new threat had been passed to U.S. air carriers and foreign partners in a statement.

"DHS/TSA recently briefed air carriers and foreign partners to provide greater insights into recent intelligence indicating the continued interest of terrorists to target aviation," the agency said.  "Due to the significant advances in global aviation security in recent years, terrorist groups have repeatedly and publicly indicated interest in pursuing ways to further conceal explosives."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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