Afghan Air Force pilot killed in Kabul bombing, attack claimed by Taliban

7/8/2021 10:49:00 PM

Afghan Air Force pilot killed in Kabul bombing, attack claimed by Taliban

Afghan Air Force pilot killed in Kabul bombing, attack claimed by Taliban

KABUL: An Afghan Air Force pilot was killed by a bomb in Kabul on Saturday (Aug 7), officials said, in an attack claimed by the Taliban. The pilot, Hamidullah Azimi, died when a sticky bomb attached to his vehicle detonated, officials said, adding that five civilians were wounded in the explosion

KABUL: An Afghan Air Force pilot was killed by a bomb in Kabul on Saturday (Aug 7), officials said, in an attack claimed by the Taliban.The pilot, Hamidullah Azimi, died when a sticky bomb attached to his vehicle detonated, officials said, adding that five civilians were wounded in the explosion.

Azimi was trained to fly US-made UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and had served with the Afghan Air Force for almost four years, the force's commander, Abdul Fatah Eshaqzai, told Reuters.He had moved to Kabul with his family a year ago due to security threats, Eshaqzai added.

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LinkedIn KABUL: An Afghan Air Force pilot was killed by a bomb in Kabul on Saturday (Aug 7), officials said, in an attack claimed by the Taliban.LinkedIn KABUL: The Taliban on Friday (Aug 6) captured their first provincial capital since launching an offensive to coincide with the departure of foreign troops, a major blow to an Afghan government desperately trying to push back the insurgents.LinkedIn KABUL: The Taliban on Friday (Aug 6) captured their first provincial capital since launching an offensive to coincide with the departure of foreign troops, a major blow to an Afghan government desperately trying to push back the insurgents.Survivors, relatives and a handful of foreign dignitaries attended this year's main event in Hiroshima to pray for those killed or wounded in the bombing and call for world peace.

The pilot, Hamidullah Azimi, died when a sticky bomb attached to his vehicle detonated, officials said, adding that five civilians were wounded in the explosion. Azimi was trained to fly US-made UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and had served with the Afghan Air Force for almost four years, the force's commander, Abdul Fatah Eshaqzai, told Reuters. She said the city - in southwest Afghanistan near the Iranian border - had been taken"without a fight", and social media showed clips of insurgents roaming the streets, being cheered by residents. He had moved to Kabul with his family a year ago due to security threats, Eshaqzai added. The veracity of the videos could not immediately be confirmed. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muhajid said in a statement that the Taliban carried out the attack. The fall of Zaranj came the same day as the head of the Afghan government's media information department was shot dead in Kabul in an attack claimed by the Taliban. Reuters was first to detail a Taliban campaign to assassinate pilots off-base that Afghan officials say claimed the lives of at least seven Afghan pilots before Saturday's killing. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also delivered a speech in the city, but was later forced to apologise for skipping part of the text -- reportedly on Japan's support of international nuclear disarmament -- apparently by accident.

The Taliban has confirmed a programme that would see US-trained Afghan pilots"targeted and eliminated". As the UN Security Council met in New York to discuss the conflict, Deborah Lyons, head of the world body's Afghan aid operation, painted a grim picture of the country's deteriorating situation. As the UN Security Council met in New York to discuss the conflict, Deborah Lyons, head of the world body's Afghan aid operation, painted a grim picture of the country's deteriorating situation. Related: Taliban assassinations of Afghan pilots 'worrisome,' US government watchdog says US and Afghan officials believe it is a deliberate effort to destroy Afghanistan's corps of US- and NATO-trained military pilots as fighting escalates across the country. The Taliban - who have no air force - want to level the playing field as they press major ground offensives that have seen them swiftly seize territory since May. 'COWARDLY ACT' In the Afghan capital, officials expressed shock at the assassination of Dawa Khan Menapal, one of the government's leading voices. Emboldened by Washington's announcement that it was ending its military mission by the end of August, the Taliban has launched a military blitz across the country which has gained momentum in recent days. "Unfortunately, the savage terrorists have committed a cowardly act once again and martyred a patriotic Afghan," said interior ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanikzai. On Friday the insurgents captured their first provincial capital in years when they took control of Zaranj, on the border with Iran in Afghanistan's southern Nimroz province. Menapal was popular in Kabul's tight-knit media community, and known for pillorying the Taliban on social media - even jokingly at times. "It is disappointing, even though we appreciate that Bach visited Hiroshima to learn the reality of bomb victims," he said.

As the Taliban eye other cities, the Afghan Air Force has played a crucial role in holding them back. Azimi's death came just days after the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), in a report to the US Congress, said the targeting of pilots detailed by Reuters was another"worrisome development" for the Afghan Air Force as it reels from a surge in fighting. The United States condemned the killing, with White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying the insurgents"do not have to stay on this trajectory". The United States condemned the killing, with White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying the insurgents"do not have to stay on this trajectory". In its quarterly report covering the three-month period through June, SIGAR described an air force increasingly under strain and becoming less ready to fight. Its fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters had a 39 per cent readiness rate in June, about half the level of April and May. We strongly urge them to do so. "All aircraft platforms are overtaxed due to increased requests for close air support, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance missions and aerial resupply now that the (Afghan military) largely lacks US air support," the report said." Psaki added that President Joe Biden continued to believe it was right to pull US troops out after 20 years of war." This year's ceremony is the first since an international treaty banning nuclear weapons entered into force last year when a 50th country ratified the text.

Source: Reuters/ec . The militants had warned Wednesday of more attacks targeting Afghan government leaders.