Terror warnings ahead of Afghan holiday

/ Source: The Associated Press

Australia warned Thursday of a high threat of terrorist attacks in the Afghan capital during celebrations marking the overthrow of communist rule by mujahedeen fighters.

Friday commemorations of the 1992 overthrow of the communist-backed government in Kabul could result in an “extremely dangerous security situation and the very high threat of terrorist attack,” the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said.

“We continue to receive a stream of reporting indicating that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets including places frequented by foreigners,” the department said.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul posted a warning Thursday advising Americans to limit their travel in the next two days due to the holiday and two bombings Tuesday on the road leading to Kabul’s airport, which wounded two people.

The U.S. warning mentioned no specific security threats and embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said he was unaware of any intelligence suggesting possible terror attacks.

Extra forces deployed in Kabul
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi said extra forces will be deployed to protect the celebrations in Kabul, particularly a speech by President Hamid Karzai and a military parade.

“We have taken all necessary security measures and are confident that we are going to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the mujahedeen victory,” Azimi said.

Australia said possible terrorist targets in Kabul included the Intercontinental and Serena hotels, clubs, restaurants, markets and the airport.

A communist government ruled Afghanistan for three years following the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet forces that ended a decade-long occupation.

The government was toppled in 1992 by the same mujahedeen fighters who opposed the Soviets and who then dragged the capital into a bloody civil war that lasted four years, killing an estimated 50,000 people, until the hard-line Taliban regime took control.

The Taliban were ousted by a U.S.-led invasion following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for harboring Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terror organization.