50 Killed as Taliban Siege Kandahar Airport

Civilian Flights Grounded Since Tuesday Evening Raid

Late Tuesday afternoon, Taliban fighters forced their way through the gate of the Kandahar Airport, which in addition to be the city’s civilian airport also serves as the main Afghan and NATO headquarters for southern Afghanistan, as well as the CIA’s base of operations for the country. After hours of fighting, officials claimed the situation resolved with nine killed.

This was apparently not true, as locals have reported fighting raged through the airport compound well into Wednesday, and there is still no conclusive sign that the fighting has ended outright. The Afghan Defense Ministry is now reporting 37 killed, many civilians. Doctors confirmed the 37 were all civilians, and said four Afghan soldiers were also slain. Nine Taliban were also killed, and the Defense Ministry confirmed at least one still at large in the airport.

Residents near the airport say that the sounds of battle were heard through the night, and that no civilian flights have taken off from the airport since Tuesday’s attack began. With so many important bases, the Kandahar Airport was considered the most secure site in southern Afghanistan.

The Taliban has not issued any statements regarding the attack, but their ability to infiltrate the base with what appears to have been less than a dozen fighters and cause days of havoc definitely serves as another embarrassment for the Afghan government, and its inability to secure the area.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.