Explosion Near US Embassy and NATO HQ in Kabul

Diplomatic Security SitRep:02/24/2018

At least two people were killed and seven wounded Saturday in an attack in Afghanistan’s capital for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

A suicide bomber struck in the diplomatic area of Kabul near NATO headquarters and the U.S. Embassy, Afghanistan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said, adding that the casualty count could rise.

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Meanwhile, at least 18 soldiers died in an attack on a checkpoint in western Afghanistan. That attack was linked to Taliban insurgents, said Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry. He said two other soldiers were wounded in the attack in the Bala Buluk district.

Kabul Bombing 2

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

ISIS, in a statement posted Saturday by its Aamaq news agency, said the Kabul attack was carried out by a bomber with an explosive vest and targeted the gate of the headquarters of the Afghan intelligence service.

Kabul Bombing

The resurgent Taliban and the newer ISIS affiliate have been blamed for increased violence in Afghanistan after U.S. and NATO forces concluded combat missions in 2014 that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.

Last month, President Donald Trump issued a stinging statement deploring a Taliban-orchestrated suicide car bombing that killed at least 95 people and wounded 158 others in Kabul.

 

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The latest incident comes shortly after the U.S. Embassy in the Balkan state of Montenegro was attacked Thursday by an individual armed with a hand grenade, who hurled the explosive at the compound before blowing himself up.

That attacker reportedly resented NATO and posted pro-Marxist memes online.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.\

Trackback:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/24/explosion-rocks-kabul-near-us-embassy-and-nato-headquarters.html

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Russian Embassy Official Arrested Smuggling 400kg of Cocaine in Russian Embassy via Diplomatic Pouches.

 

Diplomatic Security SitRep:02/23/2018

  • cropped-diplomatic-security-situation-report.jpg Russian ambassador tipped of the authorities after luggage found in embassy 
  • A sting operation was mounted with drugs intercepted and replaced with flour 
  • Operation resulted in the arrest of two suspects in Argentina and three in Russia 
  • High purity drugs destined for Russia as well as Germany, where gang boss livesRussian Argentina

 

A police officer and a former Russian diplomatic official are among those arrested after authorities seized a large cocaine shipment at the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said that 860 pounds (389 kilograms) of the drug were hidden inside diplomatic luggage.

The investigation began after Victor Koronelli, the Russian ambassador to the South American country, and three members of the Russian federal security service, reported to Bullrich that they had suspicions about the luggage found at a school annex of the embassy.

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Once authorities confirmed that there were drugs inside the 16 pieces of luggage, they devised a plan to catch the criminals.

They swapped cocaine for flour and placed a GPS to track the luggage and the luggage was flown to Russia in 2017.

Bullrich said three Argentine customs officials traveled to Russia to monitor the delivery, and that Ishtimir Khudzhmov and Vladimir Kalmykov, were arrested when they went to pick up the cargo.

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A suspect, who Bullrich only referred to as ‘K,’ was in charge of buying the drug, and introducing it to the embassy in Argentina. He is still at large in Germany and is wanted under an international arrest warrant.

The logistics were also coordinated by former embassy official Ali Abyanov, who was arrested in his Moscow apartment.

Russian-Argentine citizens Alexander Chikalo, suspected of being in charge of the logistics, and police officer Ivan Blizniouk, who is accused of providing contacts to jump through customs controls, were seized in Argentina.

497E31E600000578-5424231-The_cocaine_in_16_cases_pictured_was_replaced_by_flour_and_devic-a-3_1519343954743

Bullrich said the drugs were discovered had a street value of around $50 million (£35 million).

‘A gang of narco-criminals was trying to use the diplomatic courier service of the Russian embassy’ to ship the drugs to Europe, she said.

‘The cocaine was replaced by flour and monitoring devices were placed to monitor delivery’ of the 16 bags of the drug, Bullrich said.

 

The drug, of ‘very high purity,’ was destined for Russia and probably also Germany, where the suspected mastermind lives.

‘We believe the German police will arrest this fugitive,’ Bullrich said.

‘This has been one of the most complex and extravagant drug-dealing operations that Argentina has faced’, Bullrich said at a press conference.

Russian Argentina

‘At 3 a.m. we had to send people from the border police to buy the 389 kilograms of wheat to the central market because no one had 389 kilograms in a warehouse. The drugs never traveled to Russia. Only the flour traveled.’

The minister said Russian security service agents ‘came to Argentina on three occasions to assist in the investigation’ that took more than a year.

One of the two people arrested in Argentina is a naturalized Russian who was a member of the police force in Buenos Aires, said Bullrich.

Investigators believe the cocaine likely originated in Colombia or Peru.

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Pakistani Ex-Diplomat Charged with Plotting Consulate Attacks on US and Israeli Consulates.

Diplomatic Security SitRep:02/23/2018

cropped-diplomatic-security-situation-report.jpgCHENNAI: Former Pakistani diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui plotted to attack the US Consulate in Chennai, Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, Eastern Naval Command HQ in Visakhapatnam and ports across the country, according to a charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Poonamallee Special Court on Thursday.

The chargesheet named Amir Zubair Siddiqui, who was then visa counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.

Interestingly, Siddiqui was arrested for allegedly conspiring to attack vital establishments in India and was quietly withdrawn even before the NIA’s request under Mutual Assistance Legal Treaty (MLAT) reached Colombo.

The NIA filed supplementary charge-sheet against Amir Zubair Siddiqui and his aides Balasubramanian and Noorudeen under various sections of the Unlawful Activity Act 1967 and IPC for their involvement in conspiracy for waging war against the Government of India, causing explosion in the US Consulate in Chennai and at various places in South India, said the official statement.

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The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.
Hussain used his counterparts Sivabalan and Mohammad Salim to circulate fake currency in the state. During questioning, Hussain also confessed that he had also used Rafeeque (29) to pump in fake Indian currency in the state.

NIA sources said, “Hussain had met Siddiqui in Colombo on a few occasions and was instructed to collect information about defence establishments, movement of arms and ammunition to the Indian Army and arrange fake passports and visa for two Pakistan nationals to enter India” “Siddiqui was not named in the charge-sheet initially because we did not have proper evidences before. Now that we have strong evidence to prove his involvement in the terror plot, a supplementary charge-sheet was filed,” the police said.

Gathering details and photographs
The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.

Trackback:

http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2018/feb/23/pakistani-diplomat-amir-zubair-siddiqui-in-sri-lanka-plotted-to-attack-indian-installations-1777585.html

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Diplomatic Security Alert- 1 Dead in Grenade Attack on US embassy in Montenegro

Diplomatic Security SitRep 02/22/2018

US citizens are warned of ‘active security situation’ at embassy in capital Podgorica after man blows himself up with second device

US Embassy Grenade Attack

An unknown man threw a grenade at the US embassy in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, before blowing himself up with a second device, government officials have said.

The attack happened just before midnight on Wednesday, with people in the area hearing two explosions. No one else was hurt and there was no major damage.

“There was an incident,” a police official, who declined to give his name, told Reuters. He did not provide details.

A Reuters photographer in Podgorica said a police vehicle blocked the street where the embassy is located, adding that no damage was visible.

The embassy warned US citizens to stay away until further notice. “The US embassy in Podgorica advises US citizens there is an active security situation at the US embassy in Podgorica,” it said on its website. “Avoid the embassy until further notice.”

Montenegro, the smallest of all former Yugoslav republics, joined Nato in May last year, the 29th country to do so. The US established diplomatic ties with the tiny Balkan state in 2006 after it split from Serbia.

Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

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Security Alert from the US Embassy in Montenegro

Security Alert – U. S. Embassy Podgorica, Montenegro (February 22, 2018)

Location: Podgorica, Montenegro

Event: The U.S. Embassy in Podgorica advises U.S. citizens there is an active security situation at the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica. Avoid the Embassy until further notice.

Actions to Take:

  • Avoid the area around the U.S. Embassy.

  • Monitor local media for updates.

  • Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, and follow the instructions of local authorities.

  • Employ sound security practices.

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy – Podgorica, Montenegro

+382-20-410-500

+382-20-410-500(after hours)

PodgoricaACS@state.gov

State Department – Consular Affairs

888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

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Former Ambassador recalls attack on U.S. Consulate in Jeddah

A former U.S. ambassador spoke about the ethical challenges of serving in the U.S. Foreign Service at the Elliott School of International Affairs Tuesday.

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who is also a GW alumna, served as the U.S. Ambassador to Malta from 2012 to 2016. The event was hosted by the Elliott School’s new Leadership, Ethics and Practice Initiative, which delves into issues of ethics on an international level.

During her time with the foreign service, Abercrombie-Winstanley was stationed at posts in Iraq, Indonesia, Egypt and Israel. She later served as Consul General in Saudi Arabia, before her appointment as ambassador during the former President Barack Obama’s administration. She shared stories from her experiences abroad with students in the Elliott School.

Here are some highlights from the event:

1. Ethical decision-making

Abercrombie-Winstanley discussed five anecdotes from her career when ethics played a big role in her decision-making process, ranging from rules regarding expensive gifts to reporting affairs between an ambassador and one of his subordinates.

But she said the toughest call to make was when her regional security officer suggested that staff and workers coming from Jordan, Pakistan, India and the Philippines not be allowed to come into the building without first passing through a metal detector.

Abercrombie-Winstanley said she was hesitant to divide the consulate staff because Americans wouldn’t have to go through the same security checks.

“The local staff, most of them had been with the consulate for 20, 30 years,” she said. “All of us were under threat. All of us were in danger as we came through that gate.”

To solve the dilemma, Abercrombie-Winstanley said she came up with a compromise that everyone would walk through the metal detector.

2. Handling an attack on the U.S. Consulate General

Islamist militants attacked the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah in 2004, killing nine people during Abercrombie-Winstanley’s tenure as the Consul General. She said she faced many challenges as a leader both during and after the attack.

During the four hours the consulate was under attack, Abercrombie-Winstanley said her priorities were to account for staff and try to get help from Saudi officials. Despite sharing a wall with the Saudi National Guard, she said it took security forces an “inordinate” amount of time to arrive at the consulate to deal with the situation.

“The worst part of that day was then going to the widows and extending condolences. And, of course, I had to do it,” she said. “The ambassador went with me for a couple, but most of them I did on my own.”

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3. Sexual harassment in the field of diplomacy

The former ambassador also spoke about her personal experiences with sexual assault and harassment during her long career in the foreign service.

She discussed how it can feel “demoralizing” when someone in power makes advances and the intense psychological impact that sexual harassment can have on a person’s self-confidence.

She talked about harassment she faced during a trip to Ireland when she was serving as the Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council.

“It was the head of the delegation that I was talking about the peace process with,” she said. “We’d agreed to have dinner and, in short, he’s trying to kiss me.”

Abercrombie-Winstanley said it was during this time that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was all over the news and she was among a generation of women who still felt like they were living in a “man’s world.”

“It didn’t occur to me to accept or do anything I didn’t want to do, but it also didn’t occur to me to tell someone looking for redress,” she said. “I did not think that was possible.”

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Secret Service agent scuffled with Chinese officials over nuclear ‘football’

White House chief of staff John Kelly and a Secret Service agent scuffled with Chinese security officials over the U.S. nuclear “football” during a trip to China in November, Axios reported Sunday.

The nuclear football is the black briefcase containing the nuclear launch codes for the president. The aide carrying it is required to remain close to the president at all times.

The interaction reportedly took place during President Trump’s trip to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. The aide carrying the briefcase was blocked from entering the hall, and another official quickly told Kelly, five sources told Axios.

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Kelly then came over and told the officials to continue walking in, after which a Chinese security official grabbed at Kelly, and the chief of staff pushed him off, according to Axios. A Secret Service agent then tackled the Chinese security official, the publication reported.

U.S. officials were asked to not discuss the interaction, according to Axios. Chinese officials were never in possession of the bag containing the launch codes, and a top Chinese security official apologized to the Trump team afterward.

The interaction took place during Trump’s trip to China in November as part of his Asian tour.

The Trump administration’s handling of the launch codes came under scrutiny last year after a visitor to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida posted a photo on Facebook with the person he said was responsible for carrying the football.

Note: On 02/19/2018 The Secret Service has tweeted that these reports are false.  

More Info on the Nuclear Football:

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nuclear-halfbacks-carry-the-ball-for-the-president/

 

Trackback:

http://thehill.com/policy/international/china/374485-axios-us-and-chinese-officials-scuffled-in-beijing-over-nuclear

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US Military helps thwart US Embassy Terror Attack during Carnival Celebrations in Trinidad & Tobago

CNN has reported that US troops played a role in averting a Carnival terror attack in T&T.

On Thursday, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) at a special media briefing revealed that it unearthed ‘credible’ information of a threat to disrupt Carnival activities.

The TTPS added that several persons of interest were detained and were being questioned.

The Police Service also assured that all systems are in place for Carnival.

However, mere hours after this announcement the US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago issued a security alert saying that a terror plot had been thwarted.

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US government personnel were advised to exercise additional caution and increase situational awareness if they participate in Carnival events, out of an abundance of caution.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office also issued an advisory.

It cautioned that an attack is still possible.

Now, CNN on Friday reported that the US military helped thwart a terror attack in T&T.

 “US troops participated in anti-terror raids Thursday in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago helping to capture four “high value targets,” two US military officials told CNN.

The officials said US military personnel from US Southern Command, which oversees US military operations in the region, advised and assisted local Trinidadian security forces in apprehending the four extremists who are believed to be part of a network engaged in plotting terror attacks. The US troops did not participate in any direct combat.”

The CNN report added that T&T has long been an area of concern for the US military and intelligence communities as it is assessed to be home to ISIS sympathizers with officials saying that some of its citizens have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join extremist groups.

It noted that in April 2017, US Navy Admiral Kurt Tidd said some of the individuals who left T&T have shown up on film engaged in terrorist acts and have committed murders in Syria.

The CNN report also made reference to an October report by the Soufan Group, a security consultancy that tracks foreign fighters, which said that approximately 130 Trinidadians have travelled to Iraq or Syria to become foreign fighters.

Trachback:

http://www.looptt.com/content/cnn-reports-us-military-helps-thwart-trinidad-carnival-terror-attack

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Suspect in Botched Olympics Attack on US Embassy in South Korea Arrested.

Diplomatic Security SitRep 02/13/2018

A Korean-Canadian man has been arrested for a botched Molotov cocktail attack on the U.S. embassy in Seoul, police said Monday.
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The man, in his 30s, reportedly told police the attack was to punish the United States, which “has bullied South Korea and me.” He is known to have a mental disorder.

According to Jongno Police Station, which is in charge of the embassy’s external security, the man lit a handmade Molotov cocktail just outside the barbed wire fence encircling the embassy and was about to throw the fire bomb over the fence at 7 p.m. Sunday.

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But he accidently dropped the Molotov cocktail into a bag filled with nine other Molotov cocktails, and set them all alight. He threw away the burning bag and fled, but was caught by police who rushed to the scene.

Police said the man had made the Molotov cocktails hours before the botched attack using soju bottles he had bought at a convenience store near his home in Sadang, southern Seoul.

Trackback: http://m.koreatimes.co.kr/phone/news/view.jsp?req_newsidx=244053

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Carnival Attack on US Embassy Thwarted by Police in Trinadad

Diplomatic Security SitRep: 02/09/2018

The US Embassy in Port of Spain, capital of the two-island Caribbean nation, issued a security alert Thursday night, saying a plot had been thwarted but advising US government personnel “to exercise additional caution and increased situational awareness if they participate in Carnival events.”
The United Kingdom also issued a “Foreign Travel Advice” for the West Indies country on Thursday.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Trinidad and Tobago. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in crowded spaces and places visited by foreigners,” the advisory said, adding authorities in that country have made arrests.

The Police Service has confirmed that four people have been held for questioning in relation to a threat to Carnival 2018 celebrations.

Acting Assistant Superintendent of the Corporate Communications Department, TTPS PRO Michael Jackman.
Acting Assistant Superintendent of the Corporate Communications Department, TTPS PRO Michael Jackman.

This was announced during an emergency media conference at the TTPS Public Administration Building earlier today, by acting Assistant Superintendent of the Corporate Communications Unit and TTPS PRO, Michael Jackman.

 

ASP Jackman, though vague with the information presented, said the TTPS unearthed credible information of a threat to disrupt Carnival activities.

He said the threat was of a criminal nature and as such, several persons of interest were detained and are being interviewed.

The TTPS PRO said active operations are continuing in relation to the threat and added that the safety of the public is of paramount importance during this time.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service gives the assurance to residents and visitors alike that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service supported by the partner agency, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, will be providing the necessary security and safety arrangements for Carnival 2018 to be effectively enjoyed by all.”

In light of these developments, members of the public are urged to exercise extreme caution and report suspicious activities.

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“The public, as usual, should remain vigilant, alert of their surroundings and if they should see anything that appears suspicious they should do as they have done in the past and report it to members of the TTPS.”

“We advise persons of course in relation to the safety tips that we have disclosed through the various platforms in media, to be cautious during the carnival season and we maintain that.” 

Threat or terrorist attack?

After presenting the facts surrounding the threat to Carnival activities, ASP Jackman was probed by members of the media as to the type of “threat” that was neutralized.

However, the TTPS PRO skirted around the issue.

TV6 Senior Investigative Journalist Mark Bassant asked ASP Jackman a series of questions pertaining to the threat as he said he had information that it was a planned attack against the US Embassy on either Carnival Monday or Tuesday.

ASP Jackman in response said, “What I can say at this time is that four persons are presently detained and are being interviewed by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”

Asked the names of those arrested, ASP Jackman said he could not say.

He also responded to questions about who carried out the operation.

“As I said before, the information received going into the investigative process and the intelligence gathering activities that the TTPS had taking part in, revealed that it was a plan to disrupt the Carnival activities. We also have our intelligence agencies. They were active, they were vigilant and the discovery was made and the said reaction taken.”

Asked by a persistent journalist on whether it was a terror threat, ASP Jackman said, “I will take one more question from someone else.”

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Suspicious Package sent to Embassy of Ecuador in London

02/07/2018 Diplomatic Security Situation Report

A suspicious package was sent to Ecuador’s embassy in London on Tuesday, local authorities in the UK said. The embassy is home to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is living there as he evades a warrant for his arrest on breach of bail charges.

“Police are in attendance at the Ecuadorian Embassy in SW1 following reports of a small suspicious package,” officials said in a tweet. “There are no reported injuries. The item is being assessed by specialist officers.”

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Several reporters at the scene noted the sequence of events and posted video footage of police inspecting the package.

The incident occured on the same day that a UK judge upheld an arrest warrant against Assange, who is wanted by London police for breaching his bail conditions after surrendering to authorities, and then absconding, in 2012.

Assange’s lawyers had requested that police drop its warrant for the Wikileaks founder’s arrest.

But the judge, Emma Arbuthnot, said she was “not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn,” without elaborating why, The New York Times reported.

After Arbuthnot’s rejection, Assange’s lawyers asked her to drop the arrest warrant, arguing that it was no longer in the public interest. She said she would make that ruling on February 13, according to The Times.

Assange has been at the embassy for six years. He has refrained from leaving, he said, because he fears that if he does, the British government will extradite him to the US, where he is facing multiple charges for leaking classified information.

Assange initially sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy to prevent British authorities from extraditing him to Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he has denied. But last year, Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation into the matter, bringing an end to the seven-year legal stand-off.

Last month, Ecuador granted Assange citizenship, but he says he still fears he will be arrested if he leaves. Assange also requested diplomatic status, which would allow him to leave the Ecuadorian embassy without being arrested.

The UK’s Foreign Office rejected that request.

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Terrorist Attack on Russian Embassy in Afghanistan Foiled

Diplomatic Security SitRep 02/07/2018

An informed source told Sputnik Afghanistan that a terrorist attack on the Russian Embassy in Kabul has been prevented.

According to the source, a car with explosives has been found near the building of the Russian diplomatic mission. It contained some 1,000 kg of explosives in trotyl equivalent, the source said, citing preliminary data.

At the same time, media reports have been suggesting that an attack using the vehicle, a Mazda, had occurred not far from the embassy.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Embassy in Kabul haven’t yet confirmed the information.

Kabul has been increasingly rocked by terrorist attacks over the recent months. In late January, militants staged a blast in the Afghan capital’s diplomatic quarter, killing 103 people, and injuring 235 others. The Taliban terrorist group has claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Afghanistan is suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to the activity of the Taliban movement and Daesh terrorist group. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have been currently conducting joint offensive operations to combat terrorism across the country.

*NOTE: This story is from SPUTNIK and cites an UNKNOWN SOURCE.

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VP Igga responsible for attack on US Diplomat vehicle: Malong

Diplomatic Security SitRep 02/02/2018

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, James Wani Igga should he held liable for the 2014 attack on a United State diplomat’s car in the capital, Juba, the country’s former military chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan said.

Malong, in an email extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, said Igga “orchestrated” the attack and saw the US ambassador’s car shot at in Juba, “but didn’t report the incident to the authority”.

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“After US ambassador came to my office to inform about the shooting, I took the matter of investigating the incident personally; luckily, I quickly found out that the Vice President convoy has shot the car of the US ambassador. I told the vice president that your convoy has shot the car of the US ambassador the responsibility lies under your hand,” he wrote, adding that the Vice President blamed the incident on unknown gunmen “when the entirety is well known”.

Malong accused the Juba government of shielding “unknown” gunmen, whose activities are a nightmare to the country’s citizens.

“The moral is that the government of South Sudan is masking as the unknown gunman to its own citizens and the world at large just like the case of the US ambassador’s car,” stated the former army chief.

Malong claimed some “elites” in the government especially in the national security services, military intelligence and other operational security sects are using state apparatuses as tools for their own benefits.

“This intellectual extermination is a clear recipe for a failed state and a state failing the future by the elites through the immune killings of intellectuals,” said Malong in a letter his wife, Lucy Ayak Malek sent.

In November 2014, a US embassy vehicle carrying its envoy to South Sudan was shot at while moving in a convoy in Juba. Two bullets hit the car leaving two big holes, although the bullets could not penetrate the embassy vehicle.

The incident was then interpreted by analysts as a diplomatic blow to a country the US helped to secede from neighbouring Sudan in 2011.

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