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Mar 27th, 2011

Explosives-Packed Truck Kills 20 in Afghanistan

Attackers shoot way into compound before detonating bomb


Updated March 28, 2011

KHOST, Afghanistan — Three suicide bombers killed 20 people in an attack on a construction firm in a restive province in southeastern Afghanistan, government officials said on Monday, with the Taliban claiming responsibility for the assault.

Violence across Afghanistan has spiraled in the past year, with Taliban-led militants stepping up their fight against the Afghan government and its Western backers as Kabul prepares to take over responsibility for security gradually from foreign forces.

An Interior Ministry statement said the attackers forced their way into the firm’s compound after killing a security guard and then detonated a truck packed with explosives.

“As a result, 20 employees of the construction company were killed and 50 others were injured,” the statement said. …

Violence across Afghanistan last year reached its worst levels since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001, with civilian and military casualties hitting record levels. …

Full story


Taliban Claims to Have Kidnapped 50 Afghan Police

By Rahim Faiez

March 27, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban claimed Sunday that it kidnapped 50 Afghan policemen in northeastern Afghanistan — part of the insurgents’ murder and intimidation campaign against anyone affiliated with the U.S.-backed government.

Also Sunday, a NATO service member was killed in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan, the coalition said. No details were released about the death, which raised to 94 the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

Militants ambushed the policemen Saturday afternoon after being tipped off that they would be traveling in Kunar province, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement to reporters. The policemen from Nuristan province had just finished their training to join the Afghan National Police, he said. …

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Afghan Official: NATO Airstrike Kills 7 Civilians

By Solomon Moore

March 26, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — A provincial governor in Afghanistan’s dangerous south said Saturday that seven civilians were accidentally killed when a NATO helicopter fired on two vehicles believed to be carrying Taliban fighters.

Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the U.S.-led international force and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has bluntly told the coalition that they must end. A recent U.N. report said at least 2,777 civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year, with about three-quarters of the deaths blamed on the insurgency.

The international alliance said it was investigating the strike, which occurred on Friday in the Naw Zad district of Helmand province. The helicopter airstrike followed intelligence reports that suggested a Taliban leader and his associates were in the vehicles, NATO said. …

A statement issued by the Helmand provincial governor’s office said seven people — two men, two women and three children — were killed when coalition forces fired on the suspects. Those killed were in another vehicle traveling near the targeted ones. Five others Afghan civilians — a man, woman and three children — were wounded, the governor’s office said.

Helmand provincial Governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal condemned the civilian casualties.

The deaths came only two days after the international coalition accidentally killed two civilians in the eastern province of Khost. The two were walking near a car with suspected insurgents and were not seen until after a NATO helicopter gunship launched Wednesday’s strike, NATO said. …

Full story


Related reports on this site

Image: Petraeus and Gates in Afghanistan
Commander of International Security Assistance Forces Afghanistan General David Petraeus walks with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Monday, March 7, 2011 upon Gates’ arrival in Kabul. (Photo credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP — Getty Images)

Petraeus Testifies Amid Waning Support for Afghan War (March 15, 2011)

Robert Gates Talks Afghanistan Strategy (March 7, 2011)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — March 27, 2010

Obama Nuclear Deal with Russia

One year ago today, I reported that the U.S. and Russia sealed the first major nuclear weapons treaty in nearly two decades, agreeing to slash the former Cold War rivals’ warhead arsenals by nearly one-third and talking optimistically of eventually ridding the world of nuclear arms altogether.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — March 27, 2009

‘Disrupt, Defeat, Dismantle’ al-Qaida

Obama to terrorists: ‘We will defeat you’ (Image: MSNBC)

Two years ago today, on March 27, 2009, I reported that President Barack Obama, calling the situation in the region “increasingly perilous,” ordered 4,000 more military troops into Afghanistan, vowing to “disrupt, dismantle, and defeat” the terrorist al-Qaida network in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

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