Afghanistan/Taliban – Twenty-five people were killed in two attacks in Afghanistan on the 27 Feb 16 including one in the capital, with the blasts potentially jeopardising attempts by Kabul to persuade the Taliban to join peace talks set for next month. Witnesses and officials described how the suicide bomber detonated near the defence ministry in the centre of Kabul just as offices closed for the day, in an attack later claimed by the Taliban. "Twelve people, including two Afghan soldiers were killed and eight others injured," a ministry statement said, while a previous toll given by Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi stated nine were dead and 13 injured. The bomber was on foot, ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri added. Analysts have previously observed the Taliban stepping up attacks in the heart of the capital to gain leverage ahead of attempted peace negotiations with the Western-backed government in Kabul. Earlier on the 27 Feb a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck at a market in Asadabad, the capital of restive Kunar province, killing 13 people and injuring at least 39.No group has yet claimed responsibility for that attack, which a spokesman for the provincial governor and a police official both said targeted a tribal leader fiercely opposed to the insurgents, Haji Khan Jan. The blasts come amid fresh efforts by Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US to restart talks aimed at ending the Taliban's long and bloody insurgency in Afghanistan. Delegates from Afghanistan, China, the US and Pakistan met in Kabul last week for a fourth round of talks aimed at forming a path back to the nascent peace process. The four countries have called for a direct dialogue between the Taliban and Kabul by next week, but analysts have termed the deadline "completely unrealistic", especially as the insurgents have said they have not been contacted by the quartet.
Major attacks in Afghanistan since 1 Jan 16
Kabul: A day after Taliban attacked a bus of the Afghan Defence Ministry in Kabul, the toll has risen to 15 while 31 others were injured, the ministry said on the 28 Feb 16.
Those killed in Saturday`s attack included 11 personnel from the ministry and four passersby, Xinhua reported.
The injured included 26 military workers and five civilians, the ministry said.
The following is the listing of major attacks in Afghanistan since January 1, 2016.
On February 27, about 13 persons were killed and 40 others injured after a suicide bomber attacked a pro-government local leader, Khan Jan, in Kunar province. Khan died in the attack.
On February 22, a Taliban suicide attacker killed 13 people, including six Afghan Local Police (ALP) officers, and injured 11 in Parwan province.
On February 17, three civilians were killed and 12 injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Faryab province.
On February 11, five ALP officers were killed following a insider attack in Kunduz province.
On February 10, two police officers launched an insider attack, killing five policemen and injuring six officers in Kandahar province. One attacker was killed in shootout.
On February 8, six civilians were killed and nine injured in a suicide bombing in Paktika province.
On February 8, three military officers were killed and 18 injured when a suicide attacker struck an army bus in Balkh province.
On February 1, at least 20 people, mostly police officers, were and 29 others were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive jacket at the gate of Civil Order Police station in western Kabul.
On January 30, a police chief and an intelligence director were killed in an IED attack in the Dangam district of Kunar.
On January 26, Zubair Khaksar, a local Journalist and cultural advisor to governor of Nangarhar, was killed in a targeted killing.
On January 26, some nine police were killed in an insider attack in Uruzgan province.
On January 20, up to seven media workers and a policeman were killed and 24 injured as a suicide car bombing struck a bus carrying employees of a local TV channel in Kabul.
On January 17, a suicide attack struck a guesthouse of a local leader Malik Usman Shinwari in Nangarhar, killing 12 civilians and injuring 13 others. Shinwari was among the injured.
On January 13, seven security forces and two civilians were killed and 11 injured after three gunmen attacked a building near Pakistani consulate in Nangarhar.
On January 4, one suicide bomber was killed after his car bomb went off along a main road near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The target remained unknown.
On January 4, three civilians were killed and 38 others, including two foreign soldiers and five policemen, injured after a suicide truck bomb hit Camp Baron, a heavily protected residential compound of foreign civilian contractors near Kabul airport.
On January 3, gunmen seized a building near Indian Consulate office in Balkh, killing one security force soldier and injuring nine others. The gunmen were killed after one-day clash with security forces.
On January 1, three civilians were killed and 18 injured after a suicide car bomb targeted a local French restaurant in the Qala-e-Fatullah Khan area of Kabul.
Malaysia – Australia has warned of a possible terror attack in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, urging travellers to be vigilant after a number of arrests it was reported on the 23 Feb 16. "Terrorists may be planning attacks in and around Kuala Lumpur," Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in its latest advice issued late on the 21 Feb 16.
"Attacks could be indiscriminate and may target Western interests or locations frequented by Westerners. You should be particularly vigilant at this time." The advisory, which did not raise the overall threat level for the country from "exercise normal safety precautions", said there was "an ongoing threat of terrorism in Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur and other major cities". It noted that Malaysian authorities had arrested a number of people allegedly involved in planning attacks, including, it said, against entertainment venues in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian police said late last month they had arrested seven alleged ISIS militants plotting violence, including one who had allegedly been in contact with Indonesian extremist Bahrun Naim. Naim is one of three high-profile Indonesians fighting for ISIS in Syria. Indonesian police say he played a central role in motivating groups to launch attacks in that country. Malaysia practises a moderate brand of Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent years. But concern has risen in the multi-faith nation, with authorities saying scores of Malaysians had gone to join the ISIS jihad in Syria and Iraq.
Pakistan – Militants said on the 20 Feb 16 that they had blown up a girls’ school in Pakistan’s restive northwest, the latest in a string of attacks on educational institutions. There were no casualties, but the bomb destroyed three out of five classrooms of the government girls’ primary school in Tiarza village of tribal South Waziristan, a local security official said. Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the “Sajna” arm of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the school had been targeted because it was run by the military and the group was opposed to female education. Tariq said that militants captured 18 people including school security guards and labourers before planting the explosive, but later released them. Since 2002, when the army moved into north-western tribal areas to fight the Taliban, militants have blown up hundreds of schools. Pakistan’s army stepped up its offensive in the region after the Taliban’s massacre of 153 people, mostly school children, in Peshawar in December 2014, and killed or pushed hundreds of militants to Afghanistan. Last month Taliban gunmen stormed a university in the north-western town of Charsadda, killing 21 people in a chilling reminder of their ongoing ability to carry out occasional high-profile and brazen attacks. Overall, levels of militant-linked violence have dropped dramatically, with 2015 seeing the fewest deaths among civilians and security forces since 2007 -- the year the Pakistani Taliban umbrella group was formed. But the threat posed by the Taliban remains, particularly in the northwest.
Philippines/Saudi Arabia – Philippine officials said on the 24 Feb 16 that they have strengthened security for Saudi Arabia's embassy and its national airline because of a possible threat. Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said the Saudi government had asked several countries, including the Philippines, for improved security. He said he was unaware of the nature of the reported threat. Seguis noted that Saudi Arabia has a conflict with Iran, where the Saudi Embassy recently came under attack, but said it's hard to say whether the reported threat was connected to that. "It's our responsibility under international convention to protect, as a host state, foreign diplomatic missions," Seguis said. "It's just a security augmentation, maybe because of their present situation with Iran." Protesters set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and attacked its consulate in another Iranian city in response to the kingdom's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric on Jan 2. The protests prompted Saudi Arabia to cut diplomatic ties with Iran, escalating tensions between the long-time regional rivals. Chief Superintendent Pablo Balagtas, who heads the national police's Aviation Security Group, said additional armed officers have been posted in the boarding area of the Saudi flag carrier, which operates flights between Manila and Jeddah, at Manila's international airport. Police were also deployed to help guard the airline's luggage area and carry out patrols "for deterrence," Balagtas said. Additional police were also deployed at the Saudi Embassy and the ambassador's residence, Seguis said. 361 COMMENT: As with other nations such as the UK and the US who suffer terrorist threats in different countries the Saudi government may also be in a similar position due to the conflict in Yemen. Terrorist may be looking at Saudi soft targets outside of the Region due to the tight security in its home country. COMMENT ENDS
Philippines – Filipino security forces have reportedly killed more than 40 jihadists during a five-day battle in the southern Philippines it was reported on the 27 Feb 16. The jihadists “claimed links with” the Islamic State:
Philippine security forces killed as many as 42 Muslim rebels claiming links with Islamic State and captured their stronghold during five days of fighting in the mountains of a southern island, an army spokesman said on Friday (26 Feb 16).
Three soldiers were killed and 11 wounded when the forces seized the bastion of an affiliate of Jemaah Islamiah, a Southeast Asian network of Islamist militants, in the province of Lanao del Sur. The “affiliate” of Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI), traditionally seen as al Qaeda’s branch in Southeast Asia, was likely a splinter of the group that emerged in 2014 and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and the Islamic State shortly after his announcement of the caliphate. Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader and co-founder of JI, left the group and formed his own Islamic State-loyal group, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid. However, Bashir’s two sons and several other leaders left and formed their own group, Jemaah Ansharusy Syariah. According to the Jakarta Post, more than 50 percent of Bashir’s followers abandoned him and joined Jemaah Ansharusy Syariah. According to its leader, it is directly part of al Qaeda’s global network now. (See LWJ report, Islamic State launches suicide assault in Indonesia’s capital.) Other groups loyal to the Islamic State in the Philippines and the wider Southeast Asia region includes Katibat Ansar al Sharia, Katibat Marakah al Ansar, Ansar Khilafah in the Philippines, the Mujahidin Indonesian Timor, and a portion of or the entirety of the Abu Sayyaf Group, another group that was traditionally loyal to al Qaeda.
Thailand – Police in southern Thailand were injured on the 27 Feb 16 by an improvised bomb hidden inside a parked car exploded leaving seven officers and two civilians injured.
The attack in Pattani province was believed to have been carried out by Muslim insurgents who targeted the outpost used by Special Forces, said police Col. Keerati Waeyoosoh, the Pattani police superintendent. Keerati said the bomb, made from a cylinder gas tank, was placed inside a car that had been stolen earlier Saturday from a tire shop whose owner was shot three times but survived. The car was then parked before it exploded outside a roadside restaurant adjacent to the police camp, which was destroyed by the blast. The insurgents are known for drive-by shootings and bombs placed on parked motorcycles and cars. Meanwhile, Thai security authorities quickly dismissed a claim on the 25 Feb 16 by former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh that an Islamic State (IS) cell was active in the far South of Thailand. Gen Chavalit said he was wondering if the government was aware that a group calling itself “Black Swan” which, according to him, is an IS affiliate, was establishing a presence in the deep South. Gen Chavalit also urged the government to launch a probe into the Black Swan group and improve the efficiency of its intelligence agency, saying conflicts in the deep South have changed.
Turkey – Turkey's president says there is evidence to prove the Kurdish YPG militia based in Syria were behind Wednesday's (17 Feb 16) deadly bombing in Ankara. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they had been supported by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey. Both groups deny involvement. He also said there had been 14 arrests over the attack on the military convoy. Earlier on the 18 Feb 16 another convoy in south-east Turkey was hit by a bomb, killing at least six troops. Wednesday's bombing in Ankara targeted the convoy as it passed close to key government buildings. Twenty-eight people - at least 20 of them military personnel - were killed and 61 injured. Earlier, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu named the Ankara bomber as Salih Necar, a Syrian national and member of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). "A direct link between the attack and the YPG has been established," he said, adding that PKK militants inside Turkey provided the YPG logistical support. The political arm of the YPG "completely refuted" the claims of its involvement, saying Turkey is not its enemy. A senior member of the PKK said he did not know who was responsible. But President Erdogan, speaking on live television, said: "Even if the leaders of YPG or PKK deny being involved in the attack, there is evidence proving they were behind it." He said he hoped that this would convince Turkey's allies of the link between the two groups. The PKK, which has been fighting for Kurdish self-determination since 1984, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies. Turkey has also designated the YPG a terrorist group, but its allies, including the United States, back the YPG in its fight against so-called Islamic State (IS). Turkey feels under increasing pressure. The ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in Jul 15, prompting months of military operations, curfews, attacks and hundreds of dead and injured in the south-east of the country. Ankara also seems to be getting increasingly involved in the Syrian conflict. In the last week Turkish artilleries have been shelling YPG targets across the border. There have been three suicide bombings in three cities, killing almost 150 people, in the last seven months. The latest attacks, in Ankara and Diyarbakir, are adding to the already alarming mood. Despite Turkey's claims, Washington said it had not yet determined who was behind the attack in Ankara. Ben Rhodes, US Deputy National Security Adviser, added that the US government had made clear to the YPG that Turkey was an important ally and that defeating IS was their mutual focus.
Turkey – Turkish security forces have foiled 18 suicide attacks since the start of the year, three of them by intercepting vehicles planned for use as car bombs, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said in an interview with the Kanal 7 television station on the 28 Feb 16. Ala said that one of the three vehicles had been found last week at Istanbul's Bogazici University, parts of which were evacuated on the 25 Feb 16 in an apparent bomb scare. A car packed with explosives was detonated in Ankara this month next to military buses waiting at traffic lights in the administrative heart of the capital, killing 29 people, most of them soldiers. NATO member Turkey faces multiple security threats. It is part of a US-led coalition fighting Da’esh in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, and is battling Kurdish militants in its southeast, where a two-and-a-half year ceasefire collapsed last July triggering the worst violence since the 1990s. The government blamed the Ankara bombing on a member of a Syrian Kurdish militia working with PKK militants inside Turkey. A suicide bomber killed 10 German tourists in the historic heart of Istanbul in January in an attack Turkey blamed on Da’esh.