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'Child killed' in Kabul guesthouse siege

An Afghan child was killed and another was wounded in a Taliban attack on a Kabul guesthouse used by a US-based aid group, Reuters reported citing an Afghan army commander.

Aid group Roots for Peace said four people were in the guesthouse. Credit: RTV

Afghan forces reportedly said the siege on the guesthouse was now over, with security forces having killed the last Taliban gunman inside the building.

The commander said there were no foreign casualties in the attack.

More: Aid group say four people in besieged Kabul guesthouse

'All guests and staff safe' after gunmen attack hotel

All the guests and staff at the Serena hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, are safe after gunmen attacked the building, an official claimed.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on the luxury hotel which is home to many United Nations staff and foreign delegations who are in the country ahead of next month's presidential election.

The group claim the fight is still underway.

Read: 'Two or three gunmen' entered luxury hotel in Kabul


Taliban suspends talks with US over prisoner exchange

The Taliban have suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and US prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said today.

File picture of a US soldier in Afghanistan. Credit: Reuters

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email -using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

"Therefore, the prisoner exchange process has been delayed until further notice," Mujahid said. He provided no further detail on why that decision had been made.

Taliban kills 19 Afghan army soldiers, kidnaps 7

The Taliban has killed 19 Afghan army soldiers and kidnapped seven in an attack on a base in the country's eastern Kunar province this morning, the spokesman for the provincial governor said.

The spokesman, Abdul Ghani Musamem, said the attack occurred in the early hours of Sunday in Ghaziabad district, a remote, mountainous area of Kunar near the border with Pakistan. Musamem said Afghan forces had launched an operation to try to free the soldiers captured by the Taliban.

The Afghan Defence Ministry confirmed in a statement there was a Taliban attack on army checkpoints in that area but declined to give any immediate figures on casualties.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

Army dog 'snatched during SAS mission in Afghanistan'

A British military dog captured by Taliban forces in Afghanistan is believed to have been taken during an SAS mission.

Read: Militants capture British Army dog in Afghanistan

The Taliban said the dog was taken during a battle a month ago in Laghman province, to the east of the capital, Kabul.

The Ministry of Defence has not issued any comment on the reports, but a spokesperson for ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force) confirmed that a military working dog went missing late last year during a mission.

'16 people killed' in Kabul 'including 13 foreigners'

A NATO soldier arrives at the scene of the blast. Credit: Reuters

Kabul police chief Gen. Zahir Zahir has told ITV News that 16 people have been killed in the Afghan capital bomb attack, including 13 foreigners, while four U.N. employees who "could have been present in close proximity to the attack" remain "unaccounted for", the Associated Press has reported.

Gen. Zahir Zahir also confirmed that five people had been wounded.


Taliban 'could retake key territory', says Army head

Vital territory won by British forces in Afghanistan risks being lost to the Taliban as Britain completes its military withdrawal by the end of next year, the head of the Army has told The Telegraph.

Chief of the General Staff Sir Peter Wall Credit: Radburn/PA Wire

General Sir Peter Wall told the newspaper that key towns such as Musa Qala, where British troops suffered heavy casualties, could be retaken by Taliban insurgents.

He said: “The Taliban will be contesting the places we’ve left and there are these iconic places like Musa Qala which we fought over and suffered quite significantly,

“It would be quite bad news if the Taliban were to get back into a place like that.”

New Pakistan Taliban chief linked to Malala shooting

An Islamic seminary belonging to hardline cleric Mullah Fazlullah in Swat Valley. Credit: Reuters

The Pakistani Taliban have elected Mullah Fazlullah, a ruthless commander from the Swat Valley, as their new leader following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike last week, a Taliban spokesman said.

"Fazlullah is the new TTP (Pakistani Taliban) chief," he said. "The decision was taken at a shura meeting today."

Mullah Fazlullah was thought to have briefed the two assassins sent to kill schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who now lives in Britain after recovering from gunshot wounds to the head.

Pakistan: Mehsud killing 'derails' Taliban peace talks

The Pakistani government says the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud is a US bid to derail planned peace talks. Some lawmakers have demanded the blocking of US supply lines into Afghanistan in retaliation.

The US ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson (centre) has been summoned over the Taliban killing Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed

"The murder of Hakimullah is the murder of all efforts at peace," said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar. "Americans said they support our efforts at peace. Is this support?"

Despite Mehsud's reputation as an uncompromising commander, Pakistan's new government had vowed to try to stop the violence through peace talks and it reacted angrily to his death.

Shah Farman, a spokesman for the government of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said provincial lawmakers would pass a resolution on Monday to cut NATO supply lines into landlocked Afghanistan. A major one passes through the nearby Khyber Pass.

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