Afghan foreign minister visits Pakistan to discuss Islamabad’s counter-terrorism plan.
Taliban insurgents dressed in police uniforms killed up to 15 policemen after raiding a security checkpoint in southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, in the latest attack of their intensifying summer offensive.
The attack on Tuesday in Musa Qala district in the volatile province of Helmand highlights an expanding insurgency that has left beleaguered Afghan forces stretched on multiple fronts. “At least nine policemen were killed after insurgents disguised in police uniforms attacked a check post in Musa Qala district,” said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the governor of Helmand.
But Bashir Shakir, a member of the provincial council, gave a higher toll, saying 15 policemen were killed in the late night attack.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the raid.
The Taliban are stepping up their summer offensive, launched in late April, amid a bitter leadership dispute following the announcement of the death of longtime supremo Mullah Omar. A wave of bombings since last Friday in the capital Kabul have killed at least 56 people and wounded hundreds, prompting fury from President Ashraf Ghani who blamed Pakistan for failing to rein in the Taliban.
Observers say the new upsurge in violence represents a bid by new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor to distract attention from the crisis roiling the militant movement.
Afghanistan’s intelligence agency on Wednesday roundly blamed Pakistan’s army for the devastating attacks in Kabul. “The involvement of Pakistan military… has been confirmed to us by many sources,” Haseeb Sediqi, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, told a press conference. “They used their proxy force, the [Taliban-allied] Haqqani Network to carry out these bloody attacks.”
An Afghan delegation led by Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani will visit Islamabad Thursday to discuss Pakistan’s “counter terrorism plan,” the foreign ministry in Kabul said.