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THE STANS
15 Afghan army trainees killed in Kabul suicide attack: defence ministry
by Staff Writers
Kabul (AFP) Oct 21, 2017


A suicide bomber killed 15 Afghan army trainees as they were leaving their base in Kabul on Saturday, the defence ministry said, in the latest deadly attack in the capital.

"This afternoon when a minibus carrying army cadets was coming out of the military academy, a suicide bomber on foot targeted them, martyring 15 and wounding four," defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP.

Kabul Crime Branch chief General Mohammad Salim Almas said police have launched an investigation into the attack which happened in the west of the city.

"The minibus was carrying army trainees to their homes from Marshal Fahim military academy," Almas told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

It was the second suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in 24 hours and the seventh major assault in Afghanistan since Tuesday, taking the total death toll to more than 200, with hundreds more wounded.

The spate of deadly attacks underscores deteriorating security across the war-torn country as the resurgent Taliban step up their attacks on police and military bases and Islamic State continue to target Shiite mosques.

It was the fifth time since Tuesday that militants have launched a major attack against Afghanistan's beleaguered security forces already badly demoralised by high casualties and desertions.

In the deadliest of the recent attacks, around 50 Afghan soldiers were killed in a Taliban-claimed assault on a military base in the southern province of Kandahar.

Insurgents blasted their way into the compound using two explosives-laden Humvees -- a tactic used in three separate attacks this week -- officials said.

The militants razed the base in the Chashmo area of Maiwand district to the ground, according to the defence ministry.

Afghan security forces have faced soaring casualties in their attempts to hold back the insurgents since NATO combat forces pulled out of the country at the end of 2014.

Casualties leapt by 35 percent in 2016, with 6,800 soldiers and police killed, according to US watchdog SIGAR.

The insurgents have carried out more complex attacks against security forces in 2017, with SIGAR describing troop casualties in the early part of the year as "shockingly high".

The attacks included assaults on a military hospital in Kabul in March which may have killed up to 100 people, and on a base in Mazar-i-Sharif in April which left 144 people dead.

THE STANS
Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation
Baghdad (AFP) Oct 18, 2017
Iraqi forces said Wednesday they had achieved their objectives in a lightning operation that saw them sweep through disputed Kurdish-held territory in a punishing riposte to an independence vote last month. On Monday and Tuesday, federal troops and allied militia retook the northern province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oil fields, as well as formerly Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh and Diyala ... read more

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