Gunmen detonate explosives in front of bank, storm building in Jalalabad
Smoke rises from the area where three Taliban suicide bombers burst into a branch of Kabul Bank and detonated explosive devices on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011. ( Photo credit: Pajhwok Afghan News / AFP – Getty Images)
The Associated Press and NBC News via MSNBC.com
February 19, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunmen detonated explosives in front of a bank and then stormed the building in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Saturday, killing several people and injuring scores of others, officials said.
At least nine had died in the attack; 70 others were injured, NBC News reported. …
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the group, Zabiullah Mujahid, said militants targeted Afghan forces who were at the branch to collect their pay. …
In the capital Kabul, Karzai called for Afghans to have the final say in whether the U.S. should be allowed to maintain a long-term military presence in the country — even as America’s top diplomat [U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] insisted that the U.S. does not seek permanent bases in the country.
Discussion of permanent bases resurfaced in recent weeks after a leading U.S. senator [Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.] proposed their establishment last month. …
The Afghan people should have the final say on any bases, Karzai said, adding that the decision would need to take into consideration the concerns of Afghanistan’s neighbors, which include Iran, Pakistan and China.
“The view of our neighboring countries is very important,” Karzai said. “We are not living on an island … Not only do we have neighbors, but they are big countries in the region.” …
Afghan police: Suicide bombing in east kills 8 (AP, Feb. 18, 2011) – A suicide bomber detonated a car rigged with explosives in the eastern Afghan city of Khost Friday morning, killing at least eight people and injuring scores of others, police said. Elsewhere in the east, more than 30 insurgents were killed in an overnight operation by NATO forces in Kunar province, a hotbed of the insurgency. [2/20/11 update: NATO, Afghan forces kill 64 civilians.] Also, a NATO service member was killed Friday in an explosion in the south. … Full story
Afghan attack toll rises, making it worst in 8 months (Reuters, Feb. 20, 2011) — The death toll from Saturday’s suicide attack in east Afghanistan has risen to at least 40, making it the deadliest nationwide for more than eight months, and the worst insurgent assault in that region. Seven gunmen and suicide bombers, dressed as border policemen, attacked an office of Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, starting a gun battle that lasted several hours. Nangarhar province governor Gul Agha Sherzai said 40 people had been killed, many of them Afghan police and soldiers. Civilians and bank workers were among the dead and more than 70 wounded. … Full story
Afghan police: At least 28 killed in suicide blast (AP, Feb. 21, 2011) – Police in northern Afghanistan say a suicide bomber has killed at least 28 people, including civilians, at a government office in Kunduz province. … Full story
NATO, Afghan forces reportedly kill 64 civilians (Reuters, Feb. 20, 2011) — Joint operations by Afghan forces and NATO-led foreign troops have killed 64 civilians in eastern Kunar province, including many women and children, over the past four days, the provincial governor said. “They were killed by ground and air strikes in Ghazi Abad district,” Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kunar province, told Reuters on Sunday. Wahidi said 20 of the dead were women, 29 were children or young adults aged 7 to 20, and the remaining 15 were adult men. … Full story
In this file photo, Afghan men shout anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against coalition forces in Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. (Photo credit: Rahmat Nikzad / AP file)
Investigator says the victims included 40 children
By Mirwais Khan and Rahim Faiez
Feb. 27, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — Sixty-five civilians, including 40 children, were killed in a NATO assault on insurgents in eastern Afghanistan earlier this month, according to findings of an Afghan government investigation released Sunday. …
The incident inflamed tensions between the Afghan government and NATO forces, and both sides opened investigations. …
NATO has said that video of Kunar operations on Feb. 17 — the main event of more than three days of fighting — showed troops targeting and killing dozens of insurgents, not civilians.
However, the Afghan team investigating the incident found that 65 civilians had been killed, including 40 children age 13 and under, said Shahzada Masoud, one of the investigators. …
A recent U.N. report documented 2,412 conflict-related civilian deaths in the first 10 months of 2010. More than three-quarters of them were caused by militant activity, a 25 percent increase from the same period in 2009, the report said. At the same time, civilian casualties attributed to pro-government forces, including those from the NATO coalition, decreased. …
Afghan president warns Obama about civilian deaths (AP, March 3, 2011) – Afghanistan’s president has warned President Barack Obama that civilian casualties like the nine Afghan boys killed by coalition helicopters this week are a serious problem that needs to be better addressed by the U.S.-led forces. President Hamid Karzai and Obama spoke over a secure video conference link on Wednesday, the same day NATO forces acknowledged accidentally killing the boys, ages 12 and under. Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the NATO force and Karzai, who condemned the deaths, saying the victims were “innocent children who were collecting firewood for their families during this cold winter.” … Full story
Recent Afghanistan war updates on this site
A Marine helicopter drops flares over Marines on the ground in Musa Qala in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Massoud Hossaini / AFP – Getty Images)
Afghan Spring Offensive Looms (Feb. 8, 2011)
Joe Biden’s Bloody Day in Afghanistan (Jan. 12, 2011)
Reinforcements for Afghan War (Jan. 6, 2011)
Afghanistan ‘Tom and Jerry’ War (Jan. 4, 2011)
One American Dies Every 18 Hours in Afghanistan (Jan. 1, 2011)
2010 Review of Afghanistan War (Dec. 16, 2010)
‘Limited Chance of Success’ in Afghanistan (Dec. 15, 2010)
Violence Ahead of Afghan Review (Dec. 13, 2010)
USA Surpasses USSR in Afghanistan (Nov. 29, 2010)
Afghan War Set to Drag On (Nov. 17, 2010)
Afghanistan War Cost Too High (Nov. 13, 2010)
10th Year of War in Afghanistan (Oct. 7, 2010)
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — February 19, 2010
One year ago today, I reported that Joseph Stack, a software engineer with a long-standing grudge against the Internal Revenue Service, crashed a small plane into an office building housing IRS employees in Austin, Texas.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — February 19, 2009
Bachmann strikes (out) again (MSNBC, Feb. 18, 2009) – Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., took a new stand against President Barack Obama when she claimed the stimulus bill was just a payoff for those who supported him throughout the election. The Nation’s Chris Hayes discusses. (07:14)
Two years ago today, on Feb. 19, 2009, I reported that some Republican politicians were taking credit in their home districts for stimulus money coming their way, even though they voted against it, but that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann went the extra mile by claiming the stimulus bill was nothing but a payoff for those who supported President Barack Obama during his election campaign.
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