The Envoy
  • Afghan police moving toward the scene of an attack in Kabul on April 15, 2012. (Getty)

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated attacks on and near several foreign embassies rocked Kabul on Sunday, as gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades into the residences of Western diplomats near the so-called "green zone" of the Afghan capital.

    The Taliban also were said to be behind a raid on a jail in northern Pakistan that freed hundreds of inmates and wounded at least four prison officials.

    In Kabul, the Taliban said their "main targets were the German and British embassies and the headquarters of Afghanistan's NATO-led force," according to Reuters. Two rockets hit a British Embassy guard tower near Reuters' Kabul offices, the news service said. A supermarket near the German embassy was also struck.

    According to the New York Times, gunfire and "several explosions broke out near the German and British embassies and a major NATO military camp, usually a heavily guarded area of the Afghan capital" just after 1:35 p.m. local time. Rockets landed near the British and Canadian embassies and World Bank office, the paper reported.

    CNN reported that attackers took over a central Kabul hotel close to the presidential palace, United Nations office and several foreign embassies--and that the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message.

    Kabul police said there were at least two other attacks in progress near the presidential palace and Parliament.

    An Afghan man examines the remains of a car after three suicide bombers were killed before they reached Jalalabad airport, April 15, 2012. (AP)

    A NATO spokesman confirmed the attacks, according to the Times, in as many as seven locations.

    U.S. army forces there were seen moving through the area, though the U.S. embassy did not sustain an attack, reports said. However, the embassy was in "lock-down mode," according to CBS News.

    In September 2011, suicide bombers led a 19-hour attack on the U.S. embassy. A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told Al Jazeera that the ISAF similar tactics were used in Sunday's attacks.

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    Read More »from Taliban attacks: Militant group claims responsibility for embassy assault in Kabul, prison raid in Pakistan
  • A massive earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday, triggering immediate tsunami warnings for the regionand fears for an area devastated by an earthquake almost eight years ago. The tsunami warnings were later lifted.

    According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 8.6 magnitude earthquake struck 270 miles southwest of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, at a depth of 14 miles.

    Two hours later, an 8.2 magnitude aftershock also struck off the coast of the Sumatra island.

    According to CNN, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for the entire Indian Ocean. According to the New York Times, the earthquake could be felt in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

    Fearful residents in Banda Aceh fled to higher ground after the quake, and several aftershocks could be felt there.

    According to Reuters, power was down in Aceh province.

    "The electricity is down, there are traffic jams to access higher ground," a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster management agency told the news service. "Sirens and Koran recitals from mosques are everywhere."

    There were no immediate reports of damage, injuries or fatalities, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on local television.

    In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people in the region.

    Read More »from Indonesia earthquake: Tsunami warnings lifted after 8.6 magnitude quake strikes off coast
  • New video aired on Al Arabiya television this week shows Osama bin Laden's three wives, who are currently under house arrest in Islamabad, Pakistan. While security is present, the footage gives a rare glimpse into everyday life for the family of the late terrorist leader.

    The women, their faces covered, are shown praying and reading the Quran as their children play with toys nearby.

    Bin Laden's wives and two of his daughters are serving 45-day sentences for illegally entering the country, though they have been in government custody last May, when U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed bin Laden in a raid on their compound. The family is expected to be deported to their home countriesYemen and Saudi Arabiaafter their sentences end on April 18.

    "The documents are almost ready for the Yemeni wife," Mohammed Amir Khalil, the family's lawyer, told London's Telegraph. "For the Saudi wives there are still some things to be arranged. Saudi Arabia was initially unwilling to take them back but there is some hope."

    Read More »from Bin Laden’s wives: New video shows family under house arrest in Islamabad


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