US Special Forces in Hunt for Kabul Terrorists
General Nicholson Confirms Special Forces Role in Afghanistan
Following the latest deadly suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, US General John Nicholson, who commands US and NATO’s Resolute Support mission in the country, revealled that US Special Forces were involved in operations to track down Islamic militants in the city.
An Islamic State (ISIS-K) suicide bomber targeted a crowd celebrating the Persian new year, Nowruz, Wednesday near a Shi’ite Muslim neighbourhood, killing 31 and wounding 65 more. The bomber has been identified as a Pakistani man, who detonated his suicide vest amidst the gathering in the Kart-e-Sakhi area. Police and rescue workers say the death toll could rise.
Afghan Forces Clearing Kabul
General Nicholson disclosed last week that Afghan forces have launched a campaign to clear militant “safe houses” and “facilitation networks” from sections of Kabul.
In recent months, IS terrorists have frequently targeted Shi’ite places of worship and gatherings in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.
The most recent ISIS-K attack took place March 9 when a suicide bomber attacked a Shi’ite mosque, killing 10 people.
Afghan authorities have lately tightened security across the city and intelligence officials have claimed to have arrested IS operatives and uncovered the group’s cells.
The government is under fire for not preventing insurgents and terrorists from carrying out deadly attacks in Kabul.
US Special Forces Hunting Islamic Terrorists “House-to-House”
Nicholson said intelligence-driven raids as well as “house-to-house” searches in about 18 districts inside the city are ongoing. The general added Afghan intelligence operatives, together with US Special Forces, have successfully identified and taken out a number of militant-linked locations.
Nicholson, however, acknowledged the security campaign faces “a big challenge” in a city of more than five million people that has grown in a “very haphazard” way during the past 10 years. He also noted a large amount of criminal activity in the city.
“Often we find criminal networks that helped enable the activities of terrorists,” he said, adding, “So, we are dealing with a pretty significant problem inside the city to clean it up.”
Source: Voice of America
Image: US Special Forces, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan (2014).