Army Pilot Massoud Atal buried in Kandahar

KABUL (Tolo News): Massoud Atal, a military pilot, who was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in PD14 of Kandahar city on Wednesday afternoon, wa laid to rest in his hometown in Kandahar province.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that Atal had pursued his education abroad and was expected to complete his training on nighttime flights in the near future. After completing his education in Afghan Air Force Academy Atal went to Czechia and then to the US where he pursued his education.

“He was educated abroad. Investments were made on him and he became a pilot, but he is lost–simple as that. Was the government unable to give him a guard?” said Zabiullah, Atal’s cousin. “The government has a responsibility to protect its cadres,” said Bismillah, a friend of Atal.

“From the human perspective, the context of military power, and also from an economic perspective, such attacks are devastating,” said Atiqullah Amarkhel, a military analyst in Kabul. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Atal was 29 and had more than 50 hours of flight time in his career. Over the past years, many pilots from Afghanistan have pursued their education in Czechia, the US and the UAE.

Interior Affairs Minister Massoud Andarabi on Tuesday, while speaking to the Afghan senate about the security situation in the country and particularly in Kabul, said that the Taliban is behind the targeted killings. “The Taliban had major plans to overrun more areas in the provinces including Helmand, but they were prevented, causing the group to focus on targeted killings in Kabul,” Andarabi said.

He believes that attacks in the country have increased in Afghanistan since the US and Taliban signed the peace agreement in February this year in Doha. “The Taliban is seeking leverage in the peace efforts by putting pressure on the government with IED bombings in Kabul and by launching attacks in districts,” he further said.

“The people who were arrested over the targeted killings have confessed that a group was created by the Taliban under the name of ‘Obaida’ in Logar province to target government employees, journalists and civil society activists to raise the people’s voice against the government,” according to Andarabi. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief Gen. Zia Saraj addressed the Senate also, saying that “over 18,200” insurgent attacks have occurred in the last 10 months, “99% of them by the Taliban.”

“The Daesh group was only responsible for one percent of the attacks,” he said. 6,100 people have been arrested in the country and“3,600 of them were involved in the insurgency activities.” “70 of these arrested people was involved in target killings while seven others were wanted to carry out suicide attacks,” he added.