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5 US Soldiers, 8 Afghani Security Officers Killed in War Attacks

January 12, 2011

US-led soldiers killed in Afghan blasts

Press TV, Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:6PM

 Five US-led soldiers have been killed in two separate bomb blasts in Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) says.

Three of the US-led soldiers were killed in an attack in eastern Afghanistan while the fourth was murdered in a separate assault in the south. A fifth was killed in an insurgent attack in the east, NATO said.

Most NATO soldiers in eastern Afghanistan are Americans, but further information regarding the exact location of the Wednesday incidents or the nationality of the victims is yet to be released, AFP reported.

Last year, 711 foreign troops died in the war-torn country, making it the deadliest year on record since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Figures released by Afghanistan's Baakhtar News Agency, however, bring the foreign troops' death toll at nearly 4,500.

Official statistics indicate that more than 2,200 US-led soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan since 2001. The number stands at 16 since the beginning of the year.

SZH/PKH/AKM

Massive blast rocks Kabul, kills 8

Press TV, Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:46AM

Afghan investigators inspect the site of a bomb attack in Kabul on January 12, 2011. At least eight Afghan security officers have lost their lives while twenty-nine others have been wounded after a massive explosion rocked the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The attack took place during the morning rush hour on Wednesday as a motorcycle bomb targeted a minibus carrying Afghan security personnel near the parliament building in western Kabul, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The powerful shock wave released by the blast also shattered windowpanes of a number of surrounding buildings.

Police cordoned off the area after the incident and launched a search operation to arrest the miscreants.

The bomb blast came a month after Taliban militants attacked a bus of Afghan army officers in Kabul. Five people were killed and nine others wounded in that assault.

Roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are by far the most lethal weapon Taliban militants use against Afghan forces, foreign troops, as well as civilians.

Violence in Afghanistan has spiked to its highs since October 2001 when Washington began the US-led invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow Taliban militants.

MP/HRF

Suicide blast in Kabul

By Hamid Shalizi Hamid Shalizi

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

KABUL (Reuters)

A suicide bomber on a motorbike killed two people and wounded more than 35 in Kabul on Wednesday and foreign troops suffered their bloodiest day this year with five deaths in different attacks around the country.

Violence is at its worst since U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the hardline Islamist Taliban in 2001 after they refused to hand over al Qaeda militants, including Osama bin Laden, after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

While attacks in the capital had been relatively rare in the past year, particularly since a "ring of steel" was erected in the city before a parliamentary election in September, the bombing on Wednesday was the third attack in less than a month.

Four foreign service members were killed in two separate attacks in eastern Afghanistan, while another was killed by a bomb in the south, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. It gave no other details.

The suicide bomber in Kabul attacked a minibus carrying Afghan intelligence personnel in a western district of the city near the country's parliament, said Mohammad Zahir, head of Kabul's crime investigation unit.

Zahir said an intelligence official and a civilian had been killed and up to 36 people were wounded, most of them civilians.

"Some of the wounded are in critical condition and the death toll may rise," Zahir told Reuters.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location his group carried out the attack.

Reuters television footage showed the wreckage of the minibus as Afghan soldiers stood guard.

"I heard a huge bang and hid under my chair," said Sayed Khalil, a shopkeeper whose windows were shattered in the blast. "After a few minutes, I rushed out to see what had happened and I saw two motorbikes on fire and two wounded people."

"INHUMANE"

The attack came a day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Afghanistan where he said the Taliban's momentum has been "largely arrested," echoing findings of a strategy review by U.S. President Barack Obama last month.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned Wednesday's bomb attack as "inhumane and un-Islamic."

Violence has surged in Afghanistan with record casualties on all sides and a recent string of attacks around the country helping to dispel a belief that winter brings a lull.

Military commanders now speak less of fighting "seasons" and say they aim to pressure militants throughout the year. Insurgents have also vowed to continue fighting, and foreign commanders acknowledge militant attacks are up on a year ago.

A record 711 foreign troops were killed in 2010, according to monitoring website www.iCasualties.org.

Afghan forces have been hit even harder. The government has said 1,292 Afghan police, 821 Afghan soldiers and 5,225 insurgents were killed. It had not have the 2009 tolls.

But Afghan civilians have borne the brunt of the war. The United Nations has said 2,412 civilians were killed and 3,803 wounded between January and October last year -- up 20 percent from 2009.

(Writing by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathon Burch and Robert Birsel)



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