Taliban Attack Targets Afghan Government Personnel
A Taliban attack on a mosque and a dining facility today at Camp Shaheen outside Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan has killed “probably more than 50” friendly Afghan forces and civilians, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said here today.
Air Force Col. John J. Thomas briefed the Pentagon press corps by telephone from Centcom headquarters in Tampa, Florida, noting that information about the attack, which had occurred just hours before the press call, still was being gathered.
“The attack was apparently against a mosque and a dining facility where there were Afghan government forces and probably Afghan civilians who work at the base,” Thomas told reporters. “What we know is that the Afghan national forces have responded, and they know that they have killed several enemy [fighters] in response to the attack.”
Thomas said that officials from the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan will follow up later in the day with more information.
The spokesman said there was “no indication” that coalition forces were harmed in the attack.
During his briefing, Thomas played a clip from surveillance video taken in western Mosul March 29 that showing ISIS firing at Iraqi Counterterrism Service forces while hidden among civilians.
“Our Iraqi partners and [the task force] have seen the tactic of ISIS intentionally placing civilians in harm’s way,” he said in a later statement that accompanied the video's release. “While the video cannot portray intent, it does show actions, including knowingly establishing firing positions while civilians were present.”
Multiple longer videos were condensed, chronologically, into the 2:21 minute clip to show armed fighters carrying weapons before those fighters fire from that fighting position, Cencom officials said.
“The coalition, through full motion video and real-time surveillance, observed the civilians and therefore did not respond with an airstrike against the position,” Thomas said. “The Iraqi government previously released a portion of this video on social media.”
ISIS Operative Killed
Centcom also confirmed today that on April 6, Abu Bakr al-Uzbeki, an operative of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, was killed by U.S. forces during an operation targeting the member of ISIS.
Thomas said Uzbeki, killed in the eastern Syria city of Mayadin about 27 miles east of Deir ez-Zor, was a close associate of the so-called caliph of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Uzbeki facilitated the movement of ISIS foreign terror fighters and funds,” the Centcom spokesman said, noting the deceased terrorists had played a key role in ISIS's external terror-attack plotting. He also facilitated the high-profile attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve that killed 39 civilians.
“ISIS remains committed to taking advantage of failed and weakened states,” Thomas said, “and we continue to move against those terror plotters as we go forward.”
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