3 killed in Taliban attack on police base in Afghanistan
By Baber Khan Sahel
Kabul, Sep 1 (efe-epa).- An attack by the Taliban on a police base in the southeastern Afghanistan left at least three people dead, besides the three attackers, and five policemen injured, official souces said on Tuesday.
The incident occurred around 5.30am local time after an attacker detonated his explosive laden car at the headquarters of the Public Protection Police Unit in Gardiz, capital city of southeastern Paktia province.
Then two armed suicide bombers tried to enter the base of the Afghan security forces and engaged in armed clashes with the police on patrol.
“The two attackers were killed in a counter attack by the security forces after a 10-minute long exchange of fire,” a provincial security official who asked not to be named told EFE, without providing further details.
“In this attack three policemen of the attacked unit are martyred and five others were injured,” Paktia governor’s office said in a statement, adding the injured policemen had been taken to a hospital for treatment.
Paktia Governor Halim Fedai, in an audio message shared by the governor press office, said that the situation was back to normal in the area, and under the control of the security forces.
“The enemies of peace and stability don’t want Afghanistan to have peace, therefore (they are) attacking public protection forces,” Fedai said.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack and said that after the car bombing several of their suicide bombers entered the base.
“In this attack, base of the enemy has been destroyed and tens of the enemy troops killed and injured,” Mujahid said in a statement, claiming the attack was still going on.
Mujahid alleged the move was in response to the police unit carrying out operations against the Taliban along the highways and escorting convoys of the Afghan forces through insecure areas.
The Taliban attack comes at a moment of a reduction in violence in the country since a three-day ceasefire was announced and observed by the Afghan security forces and the Taliban during the Eid al-Adha celebrations – one of the most important festivals for Muslims – between July 31 and Aug. 2.
Since then, the Afghan security forces have remained in a defensive posture and only responded when the insurgents have attacked first.
The ongoing reduction in violence has been a part of the efforts to pave the way for the start of the intra-Afghan talks between the rebels and the Afghan government after nearly two decades of war.
Last week, the chairman of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, said that peace negotiations between the government and the Taliban could kick off this week, after a delay of more than five months.
However, the Afghan government has said that it will not resume the release of the last group of Taliban prisoners, the main obstacle blocking the start of peace talks, unless the militants release a group of Afghan commandos.
Under the terms of the agreement between the Taliban and the Americans, Kabul was to release 5,000 rebel fighters from their prisons, and the insurgents would release 1,000 Afghan troops before direct peace talks could begin.
The 320 prisoners still being held by the Afghan government are part of the 400 controversial Taliban prisoners, whose release was approved by the grand assembly of the Afghan elders on Aug. 9.
The government began the release of these 400 prisoners on Aug. 13 with the release of 80 of them, before suspending the process.
No exact date has been announced so far for the first meeting which is expected to be held in the Qattari capital of Doha. EFE-EPA