50 more die in series of Afghan attacks

September 13, 2009

KABUL (AP) – Nearly 50 Afghan civilians, security forces and fighters were killed in a spate of attacks around the war-torn country, including an overnight military raid targeting insurgents in the increasingly violent north, officials said Saturday. A roadside bomb killed two U.S. troops in the east.

Two Taliban suicide bombers attacked an office of intelligence officers in the southern city of Kandahar, killing one agent. In Kabul province, gunfire broke out after an apparent spat between a U.S. service member and an Afghan police officer, seriously wounding both.
A roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan killed two U.S. service members, said Capt. Elizabeth Mathias, as U.S. military spokeswoman. No other details were released.
Taliban attacks have risen steadily the last three years as have deaths of Afghan civilians caught in the grinding war between the Taliban and U.S. and NATO forces.
Taliban violence — which had been largely confined to the country's south and east in the years after the 2001 U.S. invasion — has spread to the country's northern provinces this year.
Coalition and Afghan forces Saturday killed 11 militants during an overnight raid in northern Kunduz province, said Abdul Razaq Yaqoubi, the provincial police chief.
The operation targeted Taliban fighters who helped foreign fighters and suicide bombers infiltrate the region, said Mathias.
She said ""a number"" of militants were killed after the forces exchanged fire. Roadside bomb-making material, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades were found at the compound, she said.
The raid did not appear to be connected with the kidnapping of a New York Times reporter and his Afghan colleague this month, officials said. British commandos freed the Western reporter last week but the Afghan and a commando died in the operation.
The abductions followed a NATO airstrike on two stolen fuel tankers that appeared to have killed some civilians, officials said. Officials estimated about 70 people died in the strike.
In Kabul province, an American service member and an Afghan police officer in Kabul got into an argument because the American was drinking water in front of the Afghan police — who are not eating or drinking during the day because of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, said the district chief, Abdul Baqi Zemari.
After the argument, the police officer shot the American and seriously wounded him, while other American troops responded and seriously wounded the police officer, Zemari said.
Lt. Robert Carr, a U.S. military spokesman, confirmed an incident between Afghan police officers and a U.S. police mentoring team. He could not give any updates' on the conditions of the two men.
Authorities also reported Saturday a string of deadly militant attacks in the south and east.
In Kandahar, two suicide bombers on a motorbike tried to attack an office of the country's intelligence agency Saturday. Officers and the bombers traded gunfire. One bomber blew himself up and killed an intelligence officer, while the other bomber's explosives went off but didn't kill anyone, said Kandahar deputy provincial Fazel Hamid Sherzad.
In neighboring Uruzgan province, 14 civilians were killed Friday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Churra district, the Interior Ministry said.
Also in Kandahar, another six civilians were killed by an improvised explosive device Friday in Maiwand district, said district police chief Bashir Hamad.
Roadside bombs planted by militants are usually aimed at NATO or Afghan troops, but hundreds of civilians have been killed by them.
A Taliban ambush, meanwhile, killed six private security guards working for a construction company in the eastern province of Kunar on Saturday, said Gen. Khalilullah Ziayi, the provincial police chief. Ten guards were wounded, he said.
Also in the east, a suspected militant rocket attack killed three civilians in Sabari district of Khost, said Wazir Pacha, spokesman for the provincial police chief.
Four police were killed in Nangarhar late Friday when militants attacked a border police checkpoint, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the governor.
In eastern Paktika province, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in Bermel district. Only the bomber died, the Interior Ministry said.
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