Afghan security forces have ended a siege launched by Taliban at an airport in Kandahar. Besides the 11 insurgents, the fight claimed the lives of around 50 people – soldiers, police and mainly civilians.
Afghan officials said on Thursday that they had killed the last of the 11 Taliban insurgents who launched the attack, but not before numerous civilians and security personnel lost their lives in the ensuing siege.
Insurgents infiltrated one of the largest air bases in Kandahar on Tuesday, just as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other regional leaders were getting ready to meet for a peace conference in Pakistan.
According to the defence ministry, the siege, which lasted more than 24 hours, claimed at least 50 lives, most of them civilians. Suicide bombers attacked a bazaar and a school in the airport complex, while other militants took families in the area hostage, according to official reports.
An elusive peace
The airport also serves as a training base for NATO forces, although no international security personnel were harmed in the attack.
Pakistan held meetings between Kabul and Taliban forces in July, but the talks were stalled after the Taliban confirmed the death of their longtime leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Ghani was attending this week’s meeting in Pakistan to help resume peace talks.
Taliban forces had launched an attack in Kunduz in September, only to eventually be repelled by US-backed Afghan forces. The attack prompted US, Germany and NATO to expand the scope of their recently-reduced missions in the war-torn country.
blc/msh (AP, Reuters)