July 14, 2010 in News
3 US troops die in attack on Kandahar police HQ (AP):
A car bomb and gunfight at the entrance of a police headquarters killed three U.S. troops and five civilians in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, officials said Wednesday.
An Afghan police officer also died in the attack on the compound of the elite Afghan National Civili Order Police late Tuesday night, a provincial spokesman said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
A suicide attacker slammed a car bomb into the entrance of the compound, then insurgents opened fire with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, a NATO statement said. A combined force of international troops and police kept the attackers from entering the compound and eventually fought them off, but three American troops died along with five civilian workers, NATO said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi telephoned reporters Wednesday to claim responsibility for the attack. The militant group, which is prone to exaggerate death tolls inflicted on Afghan and international security forces, claimed 13 international troops and eight Afghan security forces died in the raid.
Kandahar is the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban. The insurgents have intensified attacks on government targets as Afghan and international reinforcements move in.
The Civil Order Police compound in Mirwais Miani district was near one of the 11 new checkpoints set up in recent weeks around the city, Kandahar provincial spokesman Zulmi Ayubi said. He said it was unclear whether the dead police officer was from the Civil Order Police, an elite force within the national police, or the local Kandahar city police.
Taliban attack kills three NATO soldiers (AFP):
Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar government, told AFP the car bomb was set off by a suicide bomber, adding that several other insurgents attacked the base with rockets and machine-gun fire for more than 20 minutes.
The incident came on the heels of the killing Tuesday by a renegade soldier of three members of a British Gurkha battalion on a base in the neighbouring province of Helmand, one of the most restive areas in the country.
President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan army chief have vowed a full investigation.
Britain, the main US ally in the war against the Taliban, said it would not alter its strategy in working with local forces, which is key in enabling them to take over security and allow for an eventual exit for US-led troops.
“The most important thing is that we are going to stay shoulder-to-shoulder with our Afghan partners,” said US Lieutenant Colonol John Dorrian, spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
“It is an horrific event and we will bring those responsible to justice.
“In the meantime we are going to continue to partner with the Afghan national security forces — we have a common enemy and we are going to keep going.”
Officials of NATO’s Training Mission-Afghanistan — costing more than 10 billion dollars, mostly from US coffers — say they aimed to recruit and train 171,000 soldiers and 134,000 police officers.
Current figures are around 115,000 in the army and 104,000 in the police. Illiteracy, desertion and drug addiction are widespread problems.
“It’s a game of patience,” a Western military official told AFP.
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