Taliban

Taliban secure hold on key Afghan city despite US airstrike

U.S. warplanes carried out an early morning airstrike on Taliban positions, but government ground troops sent to try to retake Kunduz, one of Afghanistan's wealthiest and most strategic cities, were stalled by roadblocks and ambushes, unable to move closer than about a mile (two kilometers) toward their target.

A NATO officer said more airstrikes were unlikely as "all the Taliban are inside the city and so are all the people." He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media on the issue.

Taliban capture northern Afghan city

"Kunduz city has collapsed into the hands of the Taliban," Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told the Associated Press.

The fall of Kunduz marks a major setback for government forces, who have struggled to combat the Taliban since the U.S. and NATO shifted to a supporting role at the end of last year.

Military reinforcements have been sent to Kunduz, where government forces managed to fend off a major Taliban assault earlier this year. "We are trying our best to clear the city as soon as possible," Sediqqi said.

US strikes southern Afghan district seized by Taliban

"U.S. forces conducted airstrikes in Musa Qala today against individuals threatening coalition and Afghan forces," Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, said without providing further details.

Afghan Army Brig. Gen. Mohammad Rasool Zaizai said Afghan and allied warplanes struck army and police headquarters in the Musa Qala district in northern Helmand province Thursday, likely killing fighters and civilians.

Pakistan sentences 7 to death over school attack

An army statement released Thursday says another militant was sentenced to life in prison. It says army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif has confirmed the sentences.

The statement says the eight belong to the Taliban and two local militant groups.

The attack on the army-run school in Peshawar, in which nearly all the victims were schoolchildren, shocked Pakistanis and led the country to lift a moratorium on executions in place since 2008.

Taliban kill 14 police in southern Afghanistan

Bashir Ahmad Shaker, a provincial council member in Helmand, said the attackers were dressed as police and driving in a police vehicle, allowing them to sneak past a checkpoint and carry out the attack early Wednesday.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack and said the insurgents had captured eight police.

     

Afghan president calls on Pakistan to rein in Taliban

In a televised address, Ashraf Ghani also blamed neighboring Pakistan for what he described as Islamabad's support to the insurgents whose war against Kabul is now nearing its 14th year, and said he was sending a delegation to Islamabad later this week to demand a stop to this.

"We know they have sanctuaries there, we know they are active there," Ghani said, referring to Taliban leaders living in Pakistan. "We need all those activities to be stopped."

Afghan Taliban confirm Mullah Omar's death, choose successor

The Taliban Shura, or Supreme Council, chose Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, who had served as Mullah Omar's deputy for the past three years, as its new leader, two Taliban figures told the Associated Press, saying the seven-member council had met in the Pakistani city of Quetta.

White House says Mullah Omar death reports are credible

Afghanistan's main intelligence agency announced Mullah Omar's death earlier Wednesday and said he'd been dead for more than two years.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz isn't commenting on the time frame, but he says the U.S. intelligence community is looking into the circumstances around Mullah Omar's death.

Afghan intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead

Abdul Hassib Seddiqi, the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, said Wednesday that Mullah Omar died in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Karachi in April 2013.

"We confirm officially that he is dead," he told The Associated Press.

The confirmation comes two days before the Afghan government and the Taliban are to hold their second round of official peace talks in Pakistan.

     

Taliban suicide bomber, gunmen attack parliament in Kabul

The brazen attack on the symbolic centre of power raises questions about the NATO-trained Afghan security forces' ability to cope with militant attacks.

The attack began when a Taliban fighter driving a car loaded with explosives blew up outside the parliament's gates, Kabul police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi said.

Six gunmen who took up positions in a building near parliament were killed after a gun battle lasting nearly two hours, Mr Karimi said.