In the past 24 hours, the Taliban has launched sudden attacks, with varying degrees of success, on a range of targets in both Pakistan & Afghanistan including a U.S. airbase, the Afghan Presidential Palace, a NATO base, hotels & embassies belonging to the United States, Britain, Germany, Iran and Russia. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a sophisticated attack on a prison in Bannu, Pakistan which has resulted in the freedom of 380 inmates.
Authorities have stated that 380 out of 944 escaped, among them at least 20 “very dangerous” Taliban militants and Adnan Rashid who was on death row for attempting to assassinate former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.
The early-dawn jail raid involved at least 100 Taliban militants armed with rocket propelled grenades, modern firearms and an assortment of vehicles according to prison guards who survived the attack.
Meanwhile in the Afghan capital of Kabul, firefights between several groups of armed men and Afghan security forces broke out after rocket attacks shortly after dusk.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, over 36 were arrested and killed for attempting to or actually carrying out attacks with suicide bombings and coordinated attacks.
The embassies of the countries targeted reported no deaths but only damages to the buildings or property.
Several passerby were killed and injured amid the crossfire of the fighting sides and sporadic gunfire.
The militants used the familiar strategy of positioning themselves on higher ground such as rooftops of nearby buildings in the heavily guarded district of embassies and the presidential palace to start the attacks.
Witnesses in Kabul reported rocket attacks on sites frequented by foreigners such as a supermarket and the Kabul Star Hotel.
Suicide bombings occurred in the city of Jalalabad where a military base was also attacked. The Jalalabad airport came close to being attacked by a nearby explosion which occurred in coordination with the planned bombings.
The city of Gardez also suffered from effective suicide bombings where at least a dozen civilians and policemen were wounded.
During the attacks, the Afghan security forces with voluntary help from a few members of Afghan Parliament, among them Naeem Hameedzai, who stayed behind to fight managed to suppress the attackers until a U.S. convoy and other military forces arrived.
Two arrested would-be-attackers confessed that they were part of the infamous Haqqani Network which, though a separate group, works together with the Taliban in coordinating attacks.
The attacks in Aghanistan come during a fragile time for both Pakistan & Afghanistan and 2 years before the scheduled 2014 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
(Cover Photo: BBC)