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Attacks in Afghanistan Kill 5 NATO Troops

Spate of attacks as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visits country

Image: David Petraeus, Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden talks with General David Petraeus at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Shah Marai / AFP — Getty Images)

By Elena Becatoros

Jan. 12, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — A spate of attacks against Afghanistan’s intelligence service and international forces killed at least nine people, including five NATO troops, on Wednesday in a violent testament to the tenuous nature of gains made against the virulent insurgency.

The strikes, including a suicide motorbike bombing in the relatively calm Afghan capital, came just as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was leaving the country, capping a visit during which he praised advances against the militants while also acknowledging they are “fragile and reversible.” …

The U.S. administration has been claiming successes in the nearly decade-long war against the Taliban, particularly after NATO bolstered its forces with the addition in mid-2010 of more than 30,000 troops — mostly Americans. …

But while they have been squeezed in the south, the Taliban have put on several displays of power in recent weeks, striking with suicide attacks, roadside explosives and shootings across the country.

Roadside bombs have been the deadliest weapon in the insurgent arsenal against international forces in the course of the Afghan war. Two such attacks on Wednesday killed four international troops — three in one blast in the east and one more in the south. A fifth international service member was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, with another coalition service member died in the east due to a “non-battle related injury,” NATO said. …

The deaths brought the number of international forces to have died so far this year in Afghanistan to 17.

Last year was the deadliest of the nearly decade-long war for international forces, with more than 700 killed, compared to just over 500 in 2009.

Wednesday’s violence began in crowded western Kabul during the morning rush hour, when a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck at a minibus carrying Afghan intelligence service employees. The attack left at least two people dead and wounded more than 30. …

About an hour later in the troubled eastern province of Kunar, a remote-controlled roadside bomb killed a colonel with the intelligence service and his driver, and wounded two bodyguards, said Abdul Saboor Allahyar, deputy chief of Kunar’s provincial police. …


1/14/11 Update

Roadside bomb kills 7 in southern Afghanistan (AP, Jan. 14, 2011)


Related reports

Biden warns against Pakistan extremism (Patricia Zengerle and Chris Allbritton, Reuters, Jan. 12, 2011)

Biden to Karzai: U.S. not here to ‘govern’ (Reuters, Jan. 11, 2011)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — January 12, 2010

Yemen-Somalia Terror Nexus

Image: Somali refugees in Yemen
Somali refugees gather in the village of Basateen near the Yemeni port city of Aden on May 17, 2009. Basateen is often called “small Somalia” because of the number of Somali refugees who live there. (Photo credit: Khaled Fazaa / AFP — Getty Images file)

One year ago today, I reported that thousands of Somali boys and teenagers fleeing war and chaos at home are sailing to Yemen, where officials worry that the new arrivals could become the next generation of al-Qaida fighters. U.S. and Yemeni authorities also fear that Islamist fighters from Somalia could slip into the country among the throngs of refugees, deepening ties between al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen and the particularly hard-line al-Shabab militants of Somalia.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — January 12, 2009

U.S. Caught in Israeli Crossfire

Two years ago today, on Jan. 12, 2009, I reported that security forces used tear gas and batons to repel anti-Israel protesters who tried to attack a U.S. consulate in Pakistan as tens of thousands of people demonstrated worldwide against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. I also reported that seven years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan routed the Taliban regime, hard-line Islamic fighters who had scattered under massive bombardment to their villages and rear bases in Pakistan once again govern large swaths of Afghanistan and are dug in across regions that surround the capital Kabul, saying they welcome the U.S. military’s proposal to send as many as 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by summer 2009 because it will give them more chances to kill “infidels.”

Taliban fighter
Taliban fighters said they welcomed the U.S. military’s proposal to send as many as 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by summer 2009 because it would give the Islamic guerrillas more chances to kill “infidels.” (Photo credit: Paul Watson / Los Angeles Times)

2 Responses to “Biden’s Bloody Day in Afghanistan”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghanistan Roundup Says:

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    […] Joe Biden’s Bloody Day in Afghanistan (Jan. 12, 2011) […]

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