Suicide bombers and militants firing mortars attacked Kabul’s airport during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday, prompting a U.S. air strike that accidentally killed civilians, officials said. The clashes and casualties overshadowed a visit intended to demonstrate U.S. support for the Afghan government and provided a sharp reminder of the risks associated with a more aggressive U.S. policy that is expected to increase the number of air strikes. Hours after Mattis touched down in Kabul, militants fired high explosive ammunition including mortar rounds near the main airport and detonated several suicide vests in an attack claimed by both the Taliban and Islamic State. Mattis’ visit came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, promising a stepped-up military campaign against the Taliban who have gained ground as they seek to re-establish their brand of Islamic law after their 2001 defeat.
Moscow has evidence that terrorists used sarin in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun in April, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Weapons Control Department, Mikhail Ulyanov stated at a news conference on Tuesday. “We are keeping a close watch on the situation. There is a huge amount of evidence implicating the terrorists, who set off a sarin bomb ‘on the ground’ for provocative purposes, knowing the blame would be pinned on Damascus”, he specified. Experts refuse to visit the scene of the alleged April 4 chemical attack in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun although the security situation allowed this, he went on. The diplomat said “this arouses indignation” that neither investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact-Finding Mission nor experts from the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism have visited Khan Sheikhoun and the Shayrat airbase. Experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) claimed that chemical agents were used, among other things, in the city of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. According to OPCW experts, sarin or another similar nerve agent was sprayed in the city on that day.
Afghanistan today didn’t mince words in declaring at the UN that terror in Afghanistan is the “product of (a) long-standing policy” of Pakistan. Afghanistan also said that that terror’s “roots are located in terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens outside” its borders. With its unequivocal declarations, Afghanistan today joined US President Donald Trump, the BRICS countries, Japan and India in naming and shaming Pakistan, a country many have come to call a “terrorist state”. Afghan foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani said – at the UNSC’s open debate on Afghanistan – that while Afghanistan has tried to resolve issues with Pakistan, the latter hasn’t responded positively. Rabbani’s comments came a little over a month after Trump outlined his administration’s strategy for Afghanistan where the US has been involved in a long drawn out conflict, since 9/11/2001.
“We now have an opportunity for a dialogue with our neighbours on how we can work together earnestly to eliminate terrorism and contain extremism. Now, we call on all of our neighbours, near and far, to join us through the Kabul process in our comprehensive quest for peace and regional stability. I call upon Pakistan to engage with us on a comprehensive state-to-state dialogue on peace, security and regional cooperation leading to prosperity”, Ghani addressed a conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Ghani appealed to the international community to change their perspective regarding Afghanistan’s problem. “For too long, the conflict in Afghanistan has been viewed through the prism of civil war. But this war is not within our soil, it is over our soil”, he said. Ghani also laid emphasis on the Rohingya crisis, Afghanistan’s role in regional counter-terrorism and the renewal on UN institutions.
The SBU counterintelligence operatives revealed that the leader of a Kharkiv-based 18-strong terrorist cell was in fact a rather successful local scientist who had skillfully convinced other locals into clandestine cooperation to avenge for the failure of the so-called “Kharkiv People’s Republic” project, TSN Tyzhden reports. After the cell was exposed by the SBU, pro-Russian media attempted to raise public hype by claiming that the law enforcers detained an ordinary pensioner. However, the man in question, Mehti Logunov, says: “If I were younger, I would join Strelkov [aka Igor Girkin, one of Russia’s masterminds behind the start of hostilities in Donbas against the Ukrainian forces]!” Unable to do so due to a senior age, the man chose to convince vulnerable Ukrainian men to join the ranks of armed Russian proxies in Donbas. Logunov offered a young man who just got out of prison to undergo training at a sabotage training camp in Russia. The cache with weapons for the newly- recruited agent was located not far from his house, as seen from a corresponding map found in the group leader’s house.
The Syrian map has drastically changed since the end of 2016 after the Syrian opposition lost swaths of land to the regime, and the regions previously controlled by Daesh were handed over to the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the PYD, which, backed by the U.S., has established control over areas in Hasakah, Deir Ez-Zor, Raqqa, Jarabulus and Aleppo. Attempts by PKK terrorists to seize control over the two biggest operation border crossings of Bab al-Salamah and Bab al-Hawa are ongoing. The U.S.- PYD alliance has prioritized its goal of seizing control over the biggest operational border crossings with Turkey as PKK terrorists continue to target Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salamah with mortars and missiles. The PKK is currently listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. So it is in open war with Turkey. According to the journal, PKK terrorists, who occupy approximately 600 kilometers of the border with Turkey, are trafficking humans and smuggling weapons and fuel across the border through underground tunnels they dug in close vicinity to border gates. The tunnels also serve as a passageway for foreign terrorists from Europe and Turkey as they cross into Syria to receive training in terror camps established in PKK-occupied regions.
Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri underlined that his forces are cooperating with the regional countries in the fight against the terrorist groups despite the opposition and obstacles imposed by the US. “Despite all plots and schemes by the enemies, specially the US, which are hatched and implemented everyday, the Armed Forces are successfully conducting their mission to safeguard the country’s security and help fight against terrorism in neighboring countries”, General Baqeri said, addressing a forum in Tehran on Monday. He added that the Syrian and Iraq armies and their allies’ victories against terrorist groups in Aleppo and Mosul are inspired by the Iranian forces’ holy defense during the imposed war (1980-1988) which was supported by the western powers.
Terrorists from the Islamic State (IS) controlled Saturday evening the district of Wadi Al-Hamar – 90 km away from Sirte – and according to eyewitnesses, they set up checkpoints and kidnapped at least three people.The member of the House of Representatives (HoR) Amer Nasser, confirmed that IS militants had seized the district near Sirte. Meanwhile, Haftar’s forces have been besieging Al-Noufiliya area for two days and have kidnapped a number of men from there.Al-Noufiliya is an area so close to the Wadi Al-Hamar district, where IS militants made their fresh return. Dignity Operation sources said there is clear mobilization of forces in the aim to have control on the area from Ras Lanuf to Al-Arbaeen town in eastern Sirte, where IS militants are building up their return, according to Afrigate news website on Sunday.