Three male suicide attackers wearing burqas on the 21 Feb 14 stormed a police headquarters near the Afghan capital Kabul, killing one policeman. The militants stormed the police base in the Sarobi district, 50 kilometers east of Kabul. One suicide attacker died when he exploded a vehicle bomb outside the police base entrance. Three other militants covered in burqas, typically worn by women, were also shot dead. Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the two-hour attack. Male militants have previously used the all-enveloping burqa to disguise themselves and evade security checks in Afghanistan, including in a 2012 attack when four French troops were killed. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents were behind Friday's attack. “The mujahideen fighters were equipped with heavy and light weapons and suicide vests, and caused heavy casualties to the enemy,” he said in an emailed statement.
Pakistan – A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has been shot dead in a militant stronghold near the Afghan border, security sources say. Asmatullah Shaheen was ambushed as he drove through a village near Miranshah in North Waziristan, reports said. Two others in the vehicle also died. It is unclear who killed them. There has been no word from the militants. Shaheen was briefly the Pakistani Taliban interim leader after its chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed last year.
Philippines – On the 16 Feb 14 suspected Abu Sayyaf extremists kidnapped a Filipino couple in the southern Philippines adding to a group of hostages they are holding that includes two European tourists, military officials said. Bonifacio Salinas and his wife got off a motorcycle taxi and were walking back to their home in Jolo town in Sulu province after dawn when six gunmen approached and dragged them into a van. Marines and police were tracking down the militants and the couple, who are employees of Jolo's water supply agency. No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction, but Abu Sayyaf militants were considered the main suspects sources explain. The gunmen fled with their captives toward Patikul town, where Abu Sayyaf factions hold several hostages in mountain encampments, including two European bird watchers who were abducted two years ago. The Abu Sayyaf, which is on a U.S. list of terrorist groups, is one of at least three armed Islamic groups outside of a peace deal the government expects to sign soon with the main insurgent group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Filipino officials acknowledge that the autonomy deal would not immediately halt decades of violence in the south, the homeland of minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, but would shift the 11,000-strong main Muslim group to help foster economic development and peace in the Philippines' poorest regions. U.S.-backed local offensives have considerably weakened the Abu Sayyaf, which has had past links with al-Qaeda militants, but the group, which has more than 300 gunmen split into several factions, remains a national security concern. Philippine marines raided an Abu Sayyaf encampment in Sulu's Talipao town on the 8 Feb 14, killing six militants. Since the marine assault, Abu Sayyaf militants have retaliated twice by attacking civilian and military convoys, sparking clashes that killed a marine soldier, an Abu Sayyaf fighter and a pro-government militia, according to the military.