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Mar 14th, 2010

Taliban: Kandahar Bombings a ‘Warning’ 

Insurgents claim they’re ready for coming NATO offensive


Taliban message (NBC Nightly News, March 14, 2010) – According to insurgents, the deadly bomb attacks were a warning to NATO’s top general that the they’re prepared for the looming battle in their stronghold. ITV’s Alex Thomson reports from Afghanistan. (02:46)

March 14, 2010

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Deadly bomb attacks in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar were a warning to NATO’s top general that the Taliban are ready for a coming offensive in their heartland, the insurgents said Sunday.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the bombings show the insurgents are still able to operate despite the buildup of Afghan and international troops in the south in preparation for a push into Kandahar province.

A separate, Taliban-linked Web site called the attacks a “warning” to Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The top NATO general has said Kandahar province is the next target for coalition forces who recently drove the insurgents from a key stronghold in neighboring Helmand province. …

The multiple explosions — there were at least five blasts, four of them suicide attacks — killed at least 35 people, according to the Ministry of Interior. …

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks, which hit the city’s prison, police headquarters, a wedding hall next door and other areas on roads leading to the prison.

The main target was the prison, where investigators have found eight suicide vests, three rockets and AK-47 ammunition, police said. …

The assault mirrored a 2008 suicide bombing at the Kandahar prison gates that freed hundreds of prisoners, many of them suspected insurgents. No inmates escaped this time from the lockup, which Canadian troops reinforced with cement block after the 2008 attack.

Among the dead were 13 policemen and 22 civilians, including six women and three children, the interior ministry said. Most of the casualties occurred at the police headquarters and at the wedding celebration in a hall next door.

Another 57 people were wounded, including 17 policemen, and 42 homes were damaged, the ministry said. …

Kandahar city, population 800,000, was the seat of government for the Taliban when it ruled Afghanistan, imposing its vision of Islamic theocracy for five years before being toppled by U.S.-backed forces in 2001.

The offensive that U.S., NATO and Afghan forces are planning in Kandahar later this year is a follow-up to the ongoing military operation in Helmand province’s Marjah district. The operation is the first test of top Afghanistan commander U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s strategy to rout insurgents from areas, set up new governance and rush in development aid in hopes of winning the loyalty of the residents. …


3/30/10 Update

NATO Forces to Launch Kandahar Offensive


Afghanistan trip marked ‘progress,’ Obama says (NBC “Today,” March 30, 2010) – In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, President Obama says that his unannounced visit was intended to show support to troops and to “mark progress that’s been made.” (11:24)

By Anne Flaherty

March 30, 2010

WASHINGTON — NATO forces in June will make a long-planned assault on the Taliban’s spiritual home in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, a senior military official said Monday.

The goal is to rid the city of Taliban forces before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in August, according to the official.

U.S. officials have previously disclosed plans for a NATO-led offensive in the area this year, but have not said when it might happen. The two-month offensive will be a major test of President Barack Obama’s new strategy in Afghanistan and a bellwether of the war in general. …

Until the start of major military operations, U.S. troops are working on securing transit routes and persuading the leaders of districts surrounding Kandahar to cooperate with NATO forces.

As the Taliban’s governing capital prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, Kandahar remains the spiritual heartland of the insurgency and a stubborn holdout in NATO’s efforts to transfer control to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

In an effort to reverse gains made by the Taliban, Obama has ordered the deployment of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Military officials say they expect “several thousand” of those troops to be sent to Kandahar, mostly to partner with local police and provide a security presence in the region.


3/31/10 Update

Bicycle Bomb Kills 13 in Southern Afghanistan

By Amir Shah and Heidi Vogt

March 31, 2010

KABUL — A bomb concealed on a bicycle killed 13 people Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, as the Pentagon’s top military officer said NATO forces hope to reverse the Taliban’s momentum in the south with an upcoming offensive in Kandahar.

Forty-five people, including eight children, were wounded in the blast, which occurred in the Nahr-e-Sarraj district just north of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, deputy provincial police chief Kamaluddin, who uses one name, said.

The bomb exploded near a crowd gathered to receive free vegetable seeds provided by the British government as part of a program to encourage them not to plant opium poppy, provincial government spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said. …


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — March 14, 2009

Columbine: A True Crime Story - by Jeff Kass
Art by Ralph Steadman
A True Crime Story  

A victim, the killers and the nation’s search for answers




More information at

Columbine: The Real Story

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that Jeff Kass, one of the first reporters on the scene of the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999, had completed the definitive work on the tragedy, Columbine: A True Crime Story. (I collaborated on the project, developing psychological profiles of shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.)

2 Responses to “Deadly Bombings in Kandahar”
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