The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide

Afghan blasts leave 8 dead

AfghanistanTwo separate blasts in eastern Afghanistan killed seven civilians and one policeman and wounded several others on Saturday, officials said.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its highest level since United States-led forces toppled the Taliban in 2001, with attacks spreading from the south and east to the outskirts of Kabul, the capital.

The United States is considering new policy options, including a counterinsurgency push, and is sending more troops to the country. President Obama also plans a significant increase in the size of the Afghan police force, Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Saturday.

In one attack on Saturday, a suicide car bomber killed five civilians and a policeman at a checkpoint in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, a district governor said. The bomber, who was apparently trying to strike a convoy of foreign forces in the Chaparhar district, was identified and fired on by the soldiers, the district governor, Hasan Khan, said. But the bomber managed to turn his car around and detonate his explosives at a nearby police checkpoint, Mr. Khan said.

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“The bomber killed one policeman and five civilians, including three children, who were sitting on a passing tractor,” he said. The blast also wounded five police officers.

In a separate attack, a roadside bomb struck a passing car in the southeastern province of Khost, near a Muslim shrine where hundreds of people were gathering to celebrate a holiday, the provincial police chief said. Two civilians were killed and four were wounded in the blast, said the police chief, Abdul Qayum Baqizoy. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Khost attack but said those killed were border guards.

Separately, a soldier from the NATO-led force was killed in the south on Friday, the alliance said in a statement on Saturday.

In Brussels on Saturday, Mr. Holbrooke, the envoy for Afghanistan, said an initial plan by the Obama administration to help increase the ranks of the Afghan police force to 82,000 from 78,000 over the next three to four years was now regarded as inadequate.

“Everyone we talked to without exception — Afghans, insurgency experts, the government, American military — agreed that was not sufficient,” he said.

“So we are looking in conjunction with our allies and friends in the Afghan government at a very significant increase,” he told a security conference there.

“The police aren’t very good right now,” Mr. Holbrooke said. “We know they are the weak link in the security chain.”

Source: NYT

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