Taliban storm airport complex in Kandahar
Explosions and gunfire rang out as Taliban militants stormed the airport complex in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar Tuesday, officials said, with fighting still ongoing.
“The insurgents managed to breach the first gate of the complex,” Samim Khpalwak, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, told AFP, adding that there was no immediate information on casualties.
Separately, more than 50 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in renewed fighting between rival Taliban factions in Shindand district near the western Afghan city of Herat, a local police spokesman said on Tuesday.
The latest clashes underlined the fragmented state of the militant movement since the Taliban confirmed in July that its founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died more than two years earlier in 2013.
Rival groups have rejected the authority of Omar’s successor Mullah Akhtar Mansour and called for a new process to choose a leader. There has been intermittent fighting in which scores have been killed.
Ehsanullah Hayat, a police spokesman in Herat, said 54 insurgents had been killed and around 40 wounded in the fighting between commanders loyal to Mullah Mansour and his rival Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund, which he said was continuing.
The clashes follow days of confusion over the fate of Mullah Mansour. Reports that he had been seriously wounded in a shootout with other Taliban commanders were rebutted in an audio recording purporting to show he was still alive.