A suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunduz province on Friday, killing 46 people and wounding more than 140. Video footage showed bodies surrounded by debris inside the mosque that is used by people from the minority Shi’ite Muslim community. No group immediately claimed responsibility. The blast follows several attacks, in recent weeks, some of which have been claimed by the Sunni Muslim militants of Islamic State.
Chaotic scenes have broken out in Kabul after hundreds of Afghans flocked to the passport office in an effort to arrange documents to allow them to flee the country. Taliban security officials had to beat back some members of the crowd to try to maintain order a day after it was revealed the office would open this week.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley offered senators a blunt assessment of the hasty U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. “It was a logistical success, but a strategic failure,” Milley told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. He suggested the war had been lost, but touted the U.S. military effort that evacuated more than 124,000 people in the final weeks of the U.S. presence in the country.
The top US general, Mark Milley, will appear before Congress on Tuesday in what is expected to be the most heated cross-examination of a senior US military officer in over a decade. In the book, Peril, the Washington Post journalists report that Milley twice called his Chinese opposite number to reassure him that the US would not conduct a surprise attack, and that the US general would alert Beijing if the president tried to order one.
Female players from Afghanistan’s junior national soccer team have crossed the border into Pakistan. The girls had spent the past month in hiding amid fears of a crackdown on women’s rights by the Taliban. Members of the women’s side flew out of Kabul last month but the youth team were reportedly left stranded as they lacked passports and other documents.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane from Islamabad touched down in Kabul on Monday morning, according to an airline spokesman. This marks the first flight to land in Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan since the chaotic final withdrawal of US troops last month. PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said in a statement that the service was a “special flight” to create “goodwill” with the people of Afghanistan and to “strengthen humanitarian efforts.”
The first international commercial flight since the end of the chaotic Western airlift from Afghanistan last month took off from Kabul airport on Thursday with more than 100 passengers on board, officials said. About 113 passengers were on board, including U.S., Canadian, Ukrainian, German, and British citizens, a source with knowledge of the matter said. They will land in Doha and head to a compound currently hosting Afghan and other evacuees.
Taliban gunmen fired into the air to disperse anti-Pakistan protestors in the capital of Afghanistan. Video clips on Tuesday showed people running as gunfire was heard. There were no immediate reports of injuries. People are protesting against the Taliban and Pakistan’s alleged interference in Afghanistan’s affairs, with the Islamist group calling the neighboring nation its “second home”.
The Taliban on Wednesday showed off dozens of American-made armored vehicles along with newly seized weapons at victory celebrations in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. Fighters waved white Taliban flags from Humvees and armored SUVs at the military parade, where many of the vehicles appeared in near perfect condition. The Taliban also organized an air display with a recently seized Black Hawk helicopter.
A drone has destroyed a vehicle which was carrying “a substantial amount of explosive material” and heading to Kabul airport, US officials have confirmed. A military official said the strike on Sunday caused “significant secondary explosions”. This is the second airstrike the US has conducted against the militant group, which said it carried out Thursday’s suicide bombing that killed 13 of its service members and scores of Afghans.