The Afghan parliament has been attacked by Taliban fighters in Kabul, with a series of explosions and gunfire forcing politicians to evacuate on the 22 Jun 15. Five people were reportedly killed, in addition to the seven fighters who launched the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the raid, which injured at least 21 people. About two hours after the initial explosion, police declared the operation had ended with seven attackers being killed - including a suicide car bomber. The attack started with a suicide car bomb exploded outside the parliament, a usual way of initiating an attack. Attackers then continued the attack, firing from a building under construction across the street. Monday's session of parliament was well attended because the defence minister nominee was to be introduced by the second vice president. Neither was in the building at the time of the attack. The Taliban has been on the offensive across the country in recent weeks - taking control of districts in northern Kunduz province and staging attacks in southern Helmand province. 361 COMMENT: The blast confuses those around them, when the fire-fight begins it takes a short while to regain control of senses and duty before command and control can be established. The attackers have the advantage of surprise. In the past there have been a number of attacks where the insurgents/terrorists use a building site to take up defensive positions. The attack was probably planned because of the introduction of the new Defence Minister and to show supporters and others that the Taliban are “in control” not the government. COMMENT ENDS
At least 11 Afghan soldiers were been killed in a Taliban ambush in western Afghanistan, officials stated. "The Taliban ambushed a convoy of soldiers in Karukh district of Herat, killing 11 Afghan army soldiers [on the night of the 28 Jun 15]," Ehsanullah Hayat, spokesman for the provincial governor said. "The soldiers were riding in pick-up trucks." Taliban fighters have increased their attacks on Afghan security forces since launching their annual spring offensive. The Taliban launched their offensive, named "Azm" (determination), in late Apr 15, vowing nationwide attacks in what is expected to be the bloodiest summer in a decade. 361 COMMENT: Although the Afghanistan military may not have the capability to move troops safely, moving them in un-armoured vehicles will only risk more casualties. COMMENT ENDS.
Afghanistan – 30 Jun 15 a powerful blast has targeted a NATO military convoy in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, wounding 19 people, including women and children, officials said. The blast came on the main road to the airport, around 500 metres from the US embassy and near a base for foreign troops. NATO said none of its troops were killed or injured in the attack. "It was a suicide car bomber targeting a convoy of foreign forces in Kabul," interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. The blast came about a week after the Taliban staged an attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul, killing at least five people. Also on the 30 Jun 15, a suicide attack on the police headquarters of a southern province killed three people and injuring more than 50, including policemen.
China – At least 18 people have died after Chinese Muslims attacked police with knives and bombs at a traffic checkpoint in apparent revenge for the government's crackdown on Ramadan it was reported on the 24 Jun 15. The attack occurred in the southern city of Kashgar, where tensions between ethnic Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese have led to bloodshed in recent years. Last week, China inflamed divisions by banning civil servants, students and teachers from fasting during the Muslim holy month and ordering restaurants to stay open. Suspects killed several police officers with knives and bombs after speeding through a traffic checkpoint in a car in Kashgar's Tahtakoruk district. Armed police responded by killing 15 suspects 'designated as terrorists', it was reported by U.S.-based Radio Free Asia, which cited Turghun Memet, an officer at a nearby police station. The attack, which happened on the 22 Jun 15 comes at the beginning of Ramadan, a sensitive time in Xinjiang after a rise in attacks over the past three years in which hundreds have died, blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants. Such incidents are frequently reported in overseas media, but not confirmed by the Chinese government until days later, if ever. China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from fasting during the Muslim holy month.
Pakistan – A Pakistani police officer says authorities have killed four militants, arrested two and seized a large cache of weapons that were meant to be used in an upcoming attack it was reported on the 29 Jun 15. Senior police officer Shahzad Sultan said a militant exploded a suicide vest during the raid on a house near the eastern city of Lahore, injuring nine officers. Sultan says a search turned up six suicide vests, dozens of hand grenades, assault rifles and other weapons. The raid was carried out jointly with intelligence officials. The police official said the militants were planning to target important buildings in Lahore during the current Ramadan holiday. 361 COMMENT: Although none of the open source reports mention what the specific target or targets were to be this could have been a well planned and co-ordinated attack. With so many suicide vests the attack may have been planned for a very important location or a series of coordinated attacks. The logistics to put this together and coordinate it would have been rather large. It would have been another coup for the terrorist group who were to implement the attack especially in light of other terrorist attacks during Ramadan. COMMENT ENDS
Philippines – Suspected Abu Sayyaf extremists detonated a pipe bomb that killed a soldier and wounded eight others on the 16 Jun 15 in an attack that was followed by a brief gun battle in a town in the southern Philippines. An army infantry battalion commander, Lt. Col. Cristobal Paolo Perez, said the militants who attacked the military convoy may have been trained by a Malaysian terror suspect, Abu Anas, who has been hiding in the jungle strongholds of the local insurgents. He said the pipe bomb used in Tuesday's attack in Tipo Tipo village on Basilan Island was similar to homemade explosives seized by the military in an Abu Sayyaf stronghold on Basilan, where Anas has made bombs and provided bomb-making training to Abu Sayyaf militants. The Abu Sayyaf, a loose grouping of around 400 Muslim rebels, has turned to ransom kidnappings, extortion and other crimes to survive years of battle setbacks dealt by U.S. military-backed Philippine offensives. It is one of several Muslim rebel groups operating in the predominantly Christian nation's south.
The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons on the 16 Jun 15 in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the killings earlier this year of dozens of police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. President Benigno Aquino III and Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, the leader of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, witnessed the handover of 75 assault weapons, including mortar and rocket launchers, by the guerrillas near a southern rebel stronghold, along with the identification of a first batch of 145 guerrillas, who agreed to return to normal life with promises of government support. The autonomy deal, signed by the government and the rebels last year after years long talks brokered by Malaysia, was expected to be one of the major legacies of Aquino, a reformist leader whose six-year term ends next year. But the involvement of the Moro rebels in fierce clashes that killed 44 police commandos, who hunted and killed a top Southeast Asian terror suspect on Jan. 25, ignited public criticisms of the Moro insurgent group and the peace agreement. The passage of a law in the Philippine Congress that would authorize the creation of a more powerful Muslim autonomous region in the country's south has been delayed. It is uncertain if the guerrillas would accept a watered-down version of the autonomy bill drafted by government and rebel representatives. The uncertainty has led to fears that impatient guerrillas may return to violence. A few hundred rebels broke off from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front approximately five years ago when the main insurgent group pursued peace talks with Aquino's government. The guns, which comprise the first batch of weapons to be laid down, will be turned over to an independent decommissioning body. They will be stored in a mutually designated depot in the south. The United States and several Asian and European countries have backed the peace deal as a way to prevent impoverished rebel strongholds from turning into breeding grounds of Islamic extremists. At least four smaller and more hard-line armed groups, including the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf, are not involved in the peace talks and have continued sporadic attacks, including kidnappings in the south and neighbouring Malaysia.
Sri Lanka – The State Department's annual Country Report on Terrorism for 2014 released on the 19 Jun 15 noted that there have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war, but a total of 13 LTTE supporters, several of which had allegedly planned attacks against US and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014. The LTTE's international network and financial support are still intact despite its military defeat at the hands of Sri Lankan government troops in 2009, a US government report has said. The State Department's annual Country Report on Terrorism for 2014 released on Friday noted that there have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war, but a total of 13 LTTE supporters, several of which had allegedly planned attacks against US and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014. The report noted that before their defeat the LTTE was responsible for an integrated battlefield insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders. It conducted a sustained campaign targeting rival Tamil groups, and assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993. Although most notorious for its cadre of suicide bombers, called the Black Tigers, LTTE also had an amphibious force - the Sea Tigers, and a nascent air wing - the Air Tigers. Fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military escalated in 2006 and continued through 2008. In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE's key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi. In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighters, killed LTTE leader Prabhakaran and other members of the leadership and military command, and declared victory. The report also noted that in March 2014, the government announced it had designated 16 organisations and 422 individuals as terrorist entities and/or facilitating terrorist financing designed to help revive the LTTE. "The Sri Lankan government did not provide information regarding criteria for designation or any supporting evidence", the report contends.
Turkey/Islamic State/Da’esh/Kurds – Kurdish forces have discovered a 400-meter (440-yard) long tunnel dug by ISIS militants near the Turkish border with Syria, a spokesman for the militia said on the 22 Jun 15. Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, discovered the half-completed tunnel after they captured the border town of Tal Abyad last week, spokesman Redur Khalil said. He said it wasn't clear whether it was eventually meant to lead into Turkey as the tunnel splits into two different directions at one point. A tunnel linking Turkey to ISIS-held territory might offer some insight into the many ways in which Muslim radicals from around the world have slipped across the Turkish border to reach the fanatical group, whose territory straddles Syria and Iraq. The YPG captured Tal Abyad last week from ISIS, cutting off a vital supply line to the group's self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa.
Turkey/Kurdistan – On the 29 Jun 15 the British daily newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported that Turkey had sent shock waves through the Middle East by preparing plans to send troops into Syria for the first time, turning the civil war into an international conflict on Europe’s borders. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has authorised a change in the rules of engagement agreed by the Turkish parliament to allow the army to strike at Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as well as the Assad regime. The aim is to establish a buffer zone for refugees and against ISIL, but Mr Erdogan has also suggested that the main target of the intervention, if it goes ahead, will be to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish state on Turkey’s doorstep. The Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, has established dominance in a border strip across the north of the country in recent months. “We will never allow the establishment of a state in Syria’s north and our south,” Mr Erdogan said at the weekend. “We will continue our fight in this regard no matter what it costs.” Turkey has urged the creation of a buffer zone protected by international forces in the north of Syria ever since the civil war sent hundreds of thousands of refugees across the border. That figure is approaching two million, making Turkey the single largest host of refugees of any country. But until now it has refused to countenance “going it alone” in intervention in Syria. The plans were discussed in a meeting of the national security council last night. Following Mr Erdogan’s speech, Turkish media were briefed on new orders being given to the military to prepare to send an 18,000-strong force across the border, with some reports saying the move could take place as early as the 3 Jul 15. The troops would seize a stretch of territory 60 miles long by 20 deep, including the border crossings of Jarablus, currently in ISIL hands, and Aazaz, currently controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) but under attack from ISIL. The buffer zone would kill several birds with one stone. As well as allowing Turkey to establish refugee camps not on its soil but under its protection, it would prevent the two current zones of Kurdish control — from Kobane to the Iraq border in the east, and Afrin in the west — from joining up. The Turkish establishment is hostile to the YPG, as an offshoot of the PKK guerrilla group which has fought for autonomy in south-eastern Turkey for four decades. The zone would also allow Turkey more easily to control the flow of weapons and fighters into Syria, something that critics say it has not done well enough, encouraging the rise of ISIL. Changing the rules of engagement would give Turkey a pretext for intervention. The Assad regime has been driven back and has been careful to present no threat that would justify an attack, but ISIL is attacking FSA forces supported by Turkey on the border. “ISIL, along with other armed groups that have the potential to jeopardise Turkey’s security, will be included as threats to Turkey in the amended rules and the Turkish armed forces could launch an operation against ISIL once it approaches its borders,” the pro-Erdogan Sabah newspaper reported. It remains unclear whether the threat to intervene will be followed up by action. The military is said to be unhappy to involve ground troops in the civil war. They are said to be offering to join the international bombing campaign against ISIL instead. “It may be the government wants to do this but there are numerous institutional reservations,” said Sinan Ulgen, head of the Edam think tank in Istanbul. In particular, there is a question mark over whether the intervention would be legal under Turkish law without a vote in parliament, or in international law without a UN Security Council resolution. There would also be intense opposition to the operation being approved by the prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who is only still in place because of difficulties forming a coalition after his party, the Islamist AKP failed to win a majority in this month’s election. The intervention would also be opposed by the rival Republican People’s Party (CHP), which blames Mr Erdogan for making the Syrian war worse by supporting Islamist rebels rather than using his influence to negotiate peace. “There is not sufficient reason to send Turkish troops to Syria,” said Faruk Logoglu, who until the election was head of the CHP’s foreign affairs committee. “Once you do that there is no way out.” The Financial Times reported on Monday that Jordan was drawing up similar plans for a safe zone in southern Syria, following concerns that ISIL could take over territory close to its border if the Assad regime was to withdraw from the city of Deraa. 361 COMMENT: By setting up buffer areas in the country in which the conflict occurs is probably the best way ahead. By doing so you are controlling more of what is happening in your own country and the flow across the borders including burrowing underground. Turkey has been accused in the past of aiding ISIL by allowing weapons and personnel across its border. This along with many other problems will stop. If one country does it then the other will follow suit. (See also from this reporting period Kurdistan/Iraq in the Middle East section of this Terrorist and Security report) COMMENT ENDS