The Taliban have enlisted a new type of recruit to their cause: birds. Afghan police shot down a large non-native bird equipped with a specially made suicide vest containing a GPS tracker, explosives and a mobile phone detonator. Sharp eyed police grew suspicious of the bird when they saw wires sticking out from under its feathers.
The bird was spotted in the Faryab province in Northern Afghanistan, near the border with Turkmenistan, the Daily Mail has reported. Major General Abdul Nabi Ilham told NBC News that when the bird was shot, it exploded scattering “suspicious metal stuff” across the area. “We are gathering all the stuff, but found parts of what looks to be GPS and a small camera,” he said.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Taliban fighters have been able to gain access to Camp Bastion, a large base in Helmand Province in the south of the country which was handed over to Afghan forces by British and American troops when they pulled out of the base last month. It was held for three days by the Taliban before Afghan soldiers were able to wrestle back control.
The last of the British and American forces are set to leave the country this month, in the light of which Taliban forces have stepped up their attacks. Despite America pouring some $61 billion into training and equipping the 350,000 strong Afghan force, local Afghan officers are complaining about lack of resources.
Ahmadullah Anwari, the district police chief in Helmand Province said “Sometimes up to 200 Taliban attack our checkpoints and if there are no army reinforcements, we lose the fight. It shames me to say that we don’t have enough weapons and equipment. But this is a bitter reality.” 4,600 Afghan forces have lost their lives this year alone.
Over the weekend, three South African nationals, a father and his two teenaged children were killed by Taliban insurgents in a guest house in Kabul, the capital of Afghanisan. The family had lived in the country for twelve years, with the father running the US-registered charity Partnership in Academics and Development (PAD). His wife, who was not in the compound at the time of the attack, worked as a doctor in a clinic in Kabul.
The Taliban attackers were killed by Afghan commandos, but international helicopters and special forces were part of the clean-up operation, which lasted a number of hours. This was the third such attack on a compound used by foreign organisations within ten days. The attacks have claimed the lives of two American soldiers, two British embassy workers and dozens of Afghans.
A Taliban spokesman said that the guesthouse housing the South African family had been targeted because it was thought to be a Christian centre. This is the second time this year that they have attacked a premises because they thought it had Christian links.
In response to the attacks, the police chief for Kabul resigned.