Afghanistan between two poles of terrorism

The Taliban launched coordinated attacks in the Afghan capital and three other provinces on April 15. In Kabul, the Taliban targeted seven different locations in the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic enclave, seizing control of several buildings under construction and opening fire on the US, German, Russian, and British embassies, the Afghan parliament, the Kabul Military Training Center, and other sites. Gunfire and at least 10 explosions were heard in locations throughout the capital. Two people were reported killed and fighting is said to be ongoing. In Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, a suicide assault on the airstrip left several wounded. Attacks were also reported in the provincial capitals of Paktia and Logar. (Long War Journal, AFP, April 15) Hours earlier, Pakistani Taliban militants launched a nighttime assault on the prison at Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, freeing nearly 400—including what the Taliban Movement of Pakistan called “special members” in a statement. (Long War Journal, April 15)

Three days earlier, more than 1,000 people took to the streets in Maimana, capital of Afghanistan’s Faryab province, to protest a NATO-led night raid that resulted in the death of madrassa teacher Qayamuddin in the Arab Khan area. Qayamuddin’s brothers and a cousin, who were detained during the raid in Arab Khana area by Afghan and international troops, were released on after the protest. (PAN, April 13)

Even in those areas not under Taliban control, harsh sharia justice survives in Afghanistan. Last week, a 40-year-old woman was beheaded in the Alisher district of Khost province, apparently as punishment for real or perceived disobedience to her husband. Fortunately, the victim’s husband and co-wife had been detained in connection with the murder. (PAN, April 9)

But in Baghan province, it was local authorities who themselves carried out the public lashing of a young man who had confessed to drinking alcohol. The punishment 80 lashes, which were caught on video, was imposed by a local judge. (RFE/RL, April 12)

See our last posts on the Af-Pak theater and US atrocities.

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  1. Afghan resistance strikes heroic blow against schoolgirls
    The Taliban (or someone of like mind) steps up the war on women… More than 100 schoolgirls were hospitalized April 17 after drinking water apparently poisoned by conservative militants in the small town of Rustaq in the northeastern province of Takhar. “I think some radical elements who oppose girls going to school are behind this act,” said district governor Mohammad Hussain, according to AFP. Reuters tells us: “The Afghan government said last year that the Taliban, which has been trying to adopt a more moderate face to advance exploratory peace talks, had dropped its opposition to female education.” We’re skeptical.