Ill-disciplined movement allowed Kandahar airport attack
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): A parliamentary commission on Wednesday said “a lack of coordination among security organs, negligence and illegal business activities paved the way for a daylong Taliban attack" that killed 50 people at the airport in southern Kandahar province a week back.
The brazen attack that began on Tuesday ended after 20 hours late on Wednesday when all the 11 attackers were killed. The attackers were laced with suicide vests, hand grenades and guns, killing 50 people, including 38 civilians, 10 Afghan soldiers and two police.
The assailants were able to enter the airport and holed up in a school building, a residential building for airport servants and the adjacent bazaar where most of the civilian casualties occurred.
The attack also left 35 shops of civilians, 15 civilian homes, a school building and at least 15 vehicles destroyed or damaged.
Members of the Wolesi Jirga’s interior security commission on Tuesday arrived in Kandahar City and inspected the airport and held meetings with families of the victims and shared their findings with media representatives on Wednesday.
Lawmaker Abdul Hai Akhunzada headed the delegation while other members of the panel included Attaullah Habib, Zahid Almas and Shukria Eisakhel.
Akhunzada said after the attack on the airport the Wolesi Jirga’s administrative board decided to send the interior commission’s members to Kandahar for investigation and to extend condolences to the families of the victims.
Yesterday, he said, they talked to families of the victims and then they investigated the sites at the airport where the Taliban carried out their group attack.
The lawmaker said the Kandahar airport was an important area and such attacks on it had a negative impact on domestic and international levels and therefore the incident be thoroughly investigated.
“We investigated the attack from our side. At the airport, we met army, police, public order and border police officials. We held talks with shopkeepers and families living in the apartments.”
Akhunzada said the presence of the bazaar and activities of shopkeepers and business companies at the airfield were not legal. “The location of the shops is not legal and there exists no planning or framework for them.”
He said the entry and exit of employees of business firms and shopkeepers at the airport was not organised and legal.
Another reason, he said, was the lack of coordination between security organs. Though police, public order police and border police personnel existed at the airport, but the responsibility of security was with the Afghan army alone, the lawmaker said.
He said the attack proved deadly because the ANA special unit forces had not been allowed during the attack.
The MP said their investigation showed 10 attackers were involved in the assault and if the special unit had been allowed to retaliate, many casualties would have been avoided.
These weaknesses paved the ground for the Taliban attack and enabled the attackers to reach their targets easily, he added.
He said they had urged the Kandahar governor and security organs during meetings with them to pay attention to order and discipline at the airport and control people’s movement there to prevent such incidents in future.
Another member of the delegation, Attaullah Habib, criticised the provincial security organs and their improper command resulted in increased civilian casualties.
“ANA 205 Atal Military Corps commander Gen. Daud Shah Wafadar has some mental problem. He is stubborn and listens to no one. His improper command led to the killing of so many civilians.” He also lashed out at the provincial spy department for not having any information about the attack.
To a question that the Taliban believed to have entered the airport disguised as labourers and found weapons and explosives inside the airport, the lawmaker replied their investigation was not yet over and intelligence agencies had investigated this aspect.
He said the attackers had entered the airport in two vehicles a white and a red-coloured.