Thursday 19 April 2018

US officials warn Pakistan after Taliban embassy siege

Eltaf Najafizada and James Rupert

Top US officials blamed a Taliban faction with ties to Pakistan's military intelligence agency for the attack on the US embassy in Kabul and said the Obama administration will not accept its haven in Pakistan.

The attackers, who seized a building under construction and fired rocket-propelled grenades into the embassy, came from the Jalaluddin Haqqani group, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker said. Afghan forces ended the 20-hour siege yesterday.

The Haqqani fighters operate from a sanctuary in Pakistan's borderland with Afghanistan.

Mr Crocker and US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said the Haqqani group was also behind last Saturday's truck-bomb attack on a US base southwest of Kabul that injured 77 Americans. Mr Panetta called the Haqqani group's continued "safe haven" in Pakistan "unacceptable".

"I'm not going to talk about how we're going to respond," he said. "I'll just let you know we are not going to allow these kinds of attacks to go on."

Eleven Afghan civilians died in the attack and suicide bombings, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, said. Five Afghan police officers were also killed.

Meanwhile, pictures were released yesterday (left) of Cheryl Cole, who has flown to Afghanistan to help boost the morale of those serving on the front line. The former 'X Factor' judge set off for Helmand province last night on a visit to mark 10 years of British operations in the country.

Irish Independent

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