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Archive for Afghanistan

Newsline: Afghanistan Detained Two Pakistani Embassy Staffers

Pakistan on Thursday pulled out the Vienna Convention when two of its staffers in Kabul were detained for hours by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS). The two men were picked up by NDS from a stationery shop at a market. The staffers detained in Kabul were identified as Hassan Khanzada, visa assistant at the embassy, and Syed Munir Shah, staff driver. Pakistan accused Afghanistan of violating Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations (1961). “It was emphasised that such incidents undermined the constructive engagement which the two countries envisaged for strengthening of bilateral ties,” Dawn quoted Pakistan Foreign Office as saying. The embassy approached the Afghan foreign ministry and sought immediate release of the two staffers. Pakistan summoned Afghanistan’s deputy head of mission Zardasht Shams on Wednesday to lodge protest over the detention. Khanzada and Shah were finally released after three hours, it said, adding that it was unclear why the staffers were detained. The incident serves another blow to the already fraught ties between the two countries.


Newsline: Car bomb kills eight people near US Embassy in Kabul

A car bomb targeting a convoy of foreign troops exploded near the US Embassy in Kabul on Wednesday, killing eight people and wounding 25 others, an Afghan official said. The blast hit at 7:55 a.m. (local time) in Kabul police district 9, near the embassy and Supreme Court, according to interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish. No information was immediately available on the nationality of the troops, but Danish earlier said all the victims were Afghan civilians. US Forces Afghanistan later said three members of the international coalition suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.


Newsline: US Embassy In Afghanistan Fires 6 Over Drug Infractions

Six people working at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, have been fired for using or possessing illegal drugs. A State Department official says the firings followed an investigation into allegations of misconduct. The official says those who were embassy employees have been fired and others who were contractors for the embassy have been removed from the contract. The official is declining to provide details about what led to the investigation. But the infractions are particularly troubling given the yearslong effort by the U.S. to address the narcotics trade in Afghanistan. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss personnel situations publicly and requested anonymity.


Newsline: Five UAE diplomats killed in Afghanistan attack

The United Arab Emirates says five of its diplomats were killed in a bombing in Afghanistan’s Kandahar that killed at least 11 people and wounded 17 others, including the UAE Ambassador. The official Emirati news agency, WAM, said the officials were “on a mission to carry out humanitarian, educational and development projects”. The blast, which struck the provincial governor’s office during a visit by the UAE delegation, was one of a string of bombings that hit three Afghan cities on Tuesday, killing nearly 50 people and wounding 100. The diplomats were expected to open a number of UAE-backed projects as part of an aid programme to Afghanistan. In honour of the dead, government institutions across the UAE were directed to fly the flag at half-mast for three days. The Taliban denied carrying out the bombing, saying the attack was a result of “internal local rivalry”.


Newsline: US Embassy in Afghanistan closes after attacks

The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has closed following deadly insurgent attacks on a German Consulate and an American military base. In a statement late Saturday, the embassy says it will be “closed for routine services” Sunday “as a temporary precautionary measure.” The unusual decision comes after four Americans – two soldiers and two contractors – were killed in a suicide attack Saturday on the Bagram Airfield near the capital, Kabul. Two days earlier, insurgents attacked the German Consulate in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killing six people and wounding more than 100. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul regularly warns Americans against travel to Afghanistan, where a Taliban-led insurgency is in its 16th year.


Newsline: 6 killed in Taliban attack on German consulate in Afghanistan

Heavily armed Taliban militants attacked the German consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif late, killing and injuring Afghan personnel before being repelled by special forces. The assault left at least six dead and many injured after German and Afghan security forces pressed back assailants on the grounds and in the consulate building in Afghanistan’s third-largest city, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters Friday in Berlin. Deutsche Presse-Agentur put the number of injured at more than 120. Taliban fighters detonated a truck bomb in front of the German consulate on Thursday night in retaliation for the country’s alleged assistance with a U.S. air raid in Kunduz on Nov. 3 by providing intelligence, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told DPA. That attack earlier this month killed more than 30 civilians. No Germans were hurt in Thursday’s bombing.


Newsline: Spain ambassador to Afghanistan probed over embassy attack

Spain’s National Court it was investigating the country’s ambassador to Afghanistan and his former deputy for alleged security flaws after an attack on the Kabul embassy last year that left six dead. Four Afghan policemen and two of their Spanish counterparts were killed in December last year when Taliban insurgents burst into the embassy after a car bomb blew off the gate of the compound, sparking a shoot-out inside. Relatives of one of the Spanish policemen who died and seven others who were injured filed a complaint accusing Ambassador Emilio Perez de Agreda and his then deputy Oriol Sola of involuntary manslaughter. According to court papers published Wednesday, the plaintiffs allege the ambassador failed to act on warnings of security flaws at the embassy. Since it was built in 2008, there had been warnings about flimsy sentry boxes, or doors that were only made out of wood, which were later reinforced, according to the papers. The building is outside the secure “green zone” in the Afghan capital, where many other Western embassies are located. The ambassador, though, had his home in the “green zone” as his predecessor had “refused to live in the embassy due to the potential danger,” the writ said. When the attack happened, Perez de Agreda was on holiday in Spain, and Sola was in charge. On December 11, 2015 — the day of the attack — French intelligence services warned of the risk of an attack against the Spanish embassy, but no special security measures were taken, the writ further alleges. A spokesman for the foreign ministry said Perez de Agreda is still ambassador in Afghanistan, but Sola has since left due to “normal staff rotation.”