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Dec 13th, 2010

Violence Rises Ahead of U.S. Review of Afghan War

Afghan crowd shouts “Death to Americans!”

Afghan soldiers stand near a damaged military checkpoint after a suicide attack in Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010. A suicide bomber blew up a stolen police car that had been packed with explosives, injuring five Afghan soldiers and nine civilians. (Photo credit: Fulad Hamdard / AP)

By Mirwais Khan

Dec. 11, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — A NATO airstrike killed at least 25 suspected insurgents in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, while violence elsewhere left 22 civilians dead in a wave of attacks days before the White House issues a review of U.S. war strategy, officials said.

A NATO force on patrol called for air support after coming under threat from insurgents in the Nari district of Kunar province, which has been the scene of heavy fighting along the Pakistani border. NATO said more than 25 militants were killed in the airstrike.

The coalition said another NATO unit in the Dara Pech district of Kunar killed an unspecified number of insurgents after coming under fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

Also in the east, about 500 people gathered Saturday in Paktia province, shouting “Death to Americans!” amid local reports that a NATO operation killed seven members of a private security company. …

Heavy fighting continues in the east even though the main focus of the war is in the south where NATO forces have pushed deeper into Taliban strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

A car bomb exploded Saturday outside of police headquarters in Kandahar, wounding at least six people and blowing out the windows of buildings up to a mile away, officials said. …

In neighboring Helmand province on Friday, a roadside bomb hit a pickup truck carrying villagers in the Khan Neshin district, killing 15 civilians, Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Saturday.

Pressured in the south, the Taliban have opened new fronts in northern Afghanistan, where on Saturday a suicide bomber blew up a stolen police car packed with explosives. Five Afghan soldiers and nine civilians were wounded in the blast, which targeted an army checkpoint in Chahar Dara district. …


Arrests in Afghan Attack that Killed 6 U.S. Troops


6 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghan attack (NBC Nightly News, Dec. 12, 2010) — A suicide bomber drove a van packed with explosives into a building at an outpost in the south, collapsing a wall and burying troops. NBC’s Atia Abawi reports. (01:32)

By Rahim Faiez

Dec. 13, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — Several suspects have been arrested after a suicide attack killed six American troops when an explosives-packed minibus blew up at the entrance of a joint NATO-Afghan base in southern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

The blast on Sunday was the deadliest attack on coalition troops this month.

NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz said Monday that several arrests were made Sunday night. …

NATO has claimed improvements in security after months of raids, patrols and strikes on insurgents in Kandahar province, but Sunday’s attack shows the area is still far from safe.

The assault came days ahead of a major White House review of its Afghan strategy following President Barack Obama’s decision last year to send 30,000 American reinforcements in a bid to reverse gains by the Taliban since they were ousted from power in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

Afghan officials said Sunday’s suicide attack took place in Kandahar’s Zhari district, where Mullah Mohammad Omar organized the Taliban in the early 1990s. …

Zhari has remained insurgent territory despite five major NATO operations in recent years. In 2006, a Canadian-led force launched a concerted push in Zhari and nearby Panjwai district, driving out the Taliban but at a cost of 28 coalition lives. Months later, the Taliban were back.

More than 680 international troops have been killed so far this year, well above the 502 killed in 2009. The last attack to kill that many NATO troops happened Nov. 29, when an Afghan policeman turned his gun on his American trainers in the east, killing six of them before he himself was shot dead. The Taliban claimed that they had sent him to join the police as a sleeper agent.

Two weeks before that attack, insurgents killed five U.S. soldiers in an attack in eastern Afghanistan.

The level of ongoing fighting and the mounting death toll will be key to the Obama administration’s December review. The president has committed to begin withdrawing U.S. forces in June 2011, but the feasibility of that goal will depend greatly on whether commanders believe last year’s surge has reined in violence to the point that Afghan forces can start taking the lead.


Related reports on this site

Breathtaking Afghan Corruption (Dec. 2, 2010)

President Hamid Karzai, center, and one of his vice presidents, Ahmed Zia Masoud, right, who was later accused of taking millions out of Afghanistan. Kabul, Afghanistan, July 28, 2004. (Photo credit: Ahmad Masood / Reuters via The New York Times)

USA Surpasses USSR in Afghanistan (Nov. 29, 2010)

President Barack Obama meets with troops at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Dec. 3, 2010. (Photo credit: Jim Young / Reuters)

Spiral of Violence in Afghanistan (Nov. 23, 2010)

A crowd of Afghan protesters destroy a car during clashes with police following Friday prayers in Kabul on July 30, 2010. (Photo credit: Yuri Cortez / AFP — Getty Images)

West’s Worn-Out Welcome in Afghanistan (Nov. 21, 2010)

Image: Afghans burn tires during a protest
Afghans burn tires during a protest in the Surkh Rod district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, on Thursday, April 29, 2010.
(Photo credit: Rahmat Gul / AP)

Afghanistan Strategic Thinking (Sept. 25, 2010)

Image: Members of a U.S. military "Red Team"
Members of a U.S. military “Red Team” gather at a base in Kabul on Sept. 15, 2010. From left, Staff Sgt. Steven Dietz, Ph.D.; Lt. Col. Bruce Ferrell; Lt. Col. Michael McGee; and Lt. Col. Brian Hammerness. (Photo credit: Ahmed Massoud / AP)

Colin Powell on Afghanistan Policy (Sept. 20, 2010)


Powell: Obama to face ‘difficult’ Afghan choice (NBC Meet the Press, Sept. 19, 2010) — Retired Gen. Colin Powell discusses the state of the war in Afghanistan with NBC’s David Gregory on “Meet the Press.” (01:57)

WikiLeaks: Grim View of War (July 26, 2010)

Image: An injured boy lies in the hospital
A boy who was injured in a bomb blast lies in hospital in Farah province on Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Concerns Grow About Afghan War (July 17, 2010)

Image: Afghan protesters shout anti-American slogans during a protest rally in Kandahar
Protesters shout anti-American slogans during a rally in Kandahar in April 2010, after NATO troops opened fire on a bus carrying civilians killing four people. (Photo credit: Allauddin Khan / AP)

Tough Days Ahead in Afghanistan (May 13, 2010)

Image: Brothers of Jacob Leicht
Jonathan Leicht, left, and Jesse Leicht pose with a photo of their brother, Marine Cpl. Jacob Leicht, Saturday, May 29, 2010 in Kerrville, Texas. Their brother was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan, May 27, 2010, making him the 1,000th U.S. serviceman killed in the Afghan conflict. (Photo credit: Eric Gay / AP)

‘Making Enemies’ in Afghanistan (April 12, 2010)

Video: ‘Death to America’ chants

U.S. bus attack angers Afghans (NBC Nightly News, April 12, 2010) — U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Monday opened fire on a bus carrying civilians, killing at least five and inflaming anti-American sentiment in the region just as a major new offensive is about to get underway. (02:12)

“Death to America” (Jan. 7, 2010)

Image: Afghanistan protesters
Thousands of Afghans protest in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 after a blast killed four Afghan children, a policeman and at least three American troops. (Photo credit: Rahmat Gul / AP)

“Death to Obama” (Dec. 31, 2009)

Image: An effigy of President Obama is burned during a protest in Afghanistan
Protesters chant anti-American slogans and burn an effigy of President Barack Obama in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009. (Photo credit: Rahmat Gul / AP)

Obama Rolls Dice on AfPak War (Dec. 2, 2009)

Image: President Barack Obama speaks to reporters after his meeting with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, left, and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
President Barack Obama speaks to reporters after his meeting with Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, left, and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington on May 6, 2009. (Photo credit: Charles Dharapak / AP)

Escalating Afghanistan Violence (Nov. 20, 2009)

Image: Smoke comes out of a destroyed vehicle
Smoke comes out of a destroyed vehicle at the scene of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009. (Photo credit: Musadeq Sadeq / AP)

Afghanistan in ‘Downward Spiral’ (Oct 10, 2008)

The Park Residence hotel in Kabul, blown up on Feb. 26, 2010, was a favorite of foreigners, including Newsweek reporters. (Photo: Behrouz Mehri / AFP — Getty Images)

Afghanistan: The 8-Year War (Oct 7, 2009)

Image: U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division
U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, cajole an Afghan donkey to carry supplies to their mountaintop post in southern Afghanistan, in 2006. (Phot0 credit: Rodrigo Abd / AP file)

Afghanistan “Mission Failure” (Sept. 21, 2009)

Taliban militants drive through Musa Qala, a southern Afghan town, in a Ford pickup truck, the very kind of vehicle the United States had provided the Afghan Army and police force, Nov. 20, 2007 . (Photo credit: Reuters via The New York Times)

Afghan Support for U.S. Plummets (Feb. 10, 2009)

Afghanistan Civilian Deaths
An Afghan villager elder points his walking stick as he talks with U.S. soldiers who have come to pay money for repairing homes destroyed during the recent U.S. raids in Inzeri village in the Tagab Valley of Kapisa province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009. (Photo credit: Jason Straziuso / AP)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — December 13, 2009

Iran, North Korea Threat Level Rises

Iran NKorea Growing Threats
In this Nov. 30, 2009 photo released by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, Iranian technicians work with foreign colleagues at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, just outside the southern port city of Bushehr, Iran. (Photo credit: Mehdi Ghasemi / AP)

One year ago today, I reported that analysts believed the nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran had become more urgent than it had been the year before.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — December 13, 2008

Iraq: ‘Ten More Years’

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wave to journalists as they attend an official meeting in Tehran, August 8, 2007. (Photo credit: Xinhua / Reuters)

Two years ago today, on Dec. 13, 2008, I reported that Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said Iraq would need a U.S. troop presence for 10 years to help build up its military forces, well past the agreed three-year deadline for the withdrawal of American soldiers under the U.S.-Iraq status-of-forces agreement negotiated by the Bush administration.

2 Responses to “Violence Ahead of Afghan Review”
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