South Asia News
Afghanistan cancels annual military parade due to security concerns
Apr 27, 2011, 13:37 GMT
Kabul - The Afghan government decided Wednesday to cancel an annual Victory Day military parade due to fears of attacks by Taliban insurgents, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The parade, which was slated to be held on Thursday to celebrate 19 years since the fall of the last communist government, was cancelled after cabinet ministers decided to scrap it because of 'security reasons,' the statement said.
The cancellation, which came hours before the planned ceremony and after weeks of military drills, highlighted the threat posed by Taliban insurgents.
The government began holding the parade after the fall of the Taliban regime in late 2001.
In April 2008, insurgents opened fire on a stage where President Hamid Karzai, cabinet ministers and foreign diplomats were seated to review the parade.
Karzai narrowly escaped unharmed, but three people including an influential lawmaker were killed.
Taliban militants have conducted daring attacks in recent weeks, including an assault by a Taliban sleeper agent on the Afghan Defence Minister's office. The militant group is also believed to have infiltrated Afghan security forces.
On Wednesday, the Taliban claimed that one of their fighters breached security and shot dead nine foreign soldiers at a Kabul airbase.
NATO confirmed that eight soldiers and one civilian contractor were killed in the incident, but Afghan army officials said that the attacker was a veteran army pilot who turned his weapons on his foreign trainers after an argument.
The Defence Ministry said that other social gatherings, including artistic shows, will be held on Thursday.
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