Security Council press statement on terrorist attacks in Kabul and Kandahar

04 May, 2018, 14:25 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • A Central American child who is traveling with a caravan of migrants peers from a bus carrying the group to the border wall for a gathering of migrants living on both sides of the border in Tijuana Mexico Sunday

A double suicide blast in Kabul left 25 people dead including AFP photographer Shah Marai and eight other journalists, while a BBC reporter was killed in a separate attack in eastern Khost province.

No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both Taliban and Islamic State group are active and have repeatedly claimed attacks in Kabul.

The first explosion was carried out by an attacker on a motorbike.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Afghanistan and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured. "There is absolutely no justification for such a senseless and heinous act".

The murder of journalists and other innocent people was a great testimony to what the United States stood for, and more importantly, what it stood against, the secretary remarked.

Jim Mattis, speaking to reporters, claimed President Donald Trump's new strategy for Afghanistan was working as the Taliban had not been able to take control of more districts.


Defense Secretary James Mattis said during a surprise visit to Kabul in March that the USA wants a victory defined as "political reconciliation". "The Taliban realize the danger of the people being allowed to vote", Mattis said.

Not far from it, I came across a group of several dozen Taliban fighters, dressed in black.

But following the recent bombings - as well as a new audit showing that Afghan security forces have shrunk by 10 percent - Mattis stressed that work is still ongoing to improve the situation within the country. He said he received reassurances that Pompeo agrees with the president that the Iraq war was a "mistake" and that it is time for US troops to leave Afghanistan.

"The Afghan military is being made more capable, you'll notice that more of the forces are special forces, advised and assisted, accompanied by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mentors and these are the most effective forces", Mattis said. He added that this expansion was why the Taliban had not taken any district centers or provincial centers.

Afghan government forces experienced a "sharp decline" throughout 2017, losing about 36,000 personnel, a decrease of more than 12 percent from the overall level of 296,000 troops who were on duty in January 2017.

The report also found that, since August 2016, insurgents have expanded control over parts of the country by 4 percent.

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