Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, October 2012
3 NATO Soldiers, 4 Afghani Police, 6 Civilians Killed in Suicide Attack
October 1, 2012
At least 14 killed in suicide attack on NATO patrol in Afghanistan
Monday, October 1, 2012, 6:38am EDT
KABUL (Reuters) -
A suicide bomber killed 14 people, including three NATO soldiers and four police, and wounded 37 in Afghanistan's volatile eastern Khost province on Monday, a NATO spokeswoman and local officials said.
Six civilians and an Afghan interpreter also died in the attack.
A witness told Reuters a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform struck as U.S. soldiers patrolled the city of Khost. A NATO spokeswoman confirmed only that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.
Provincial Governor Abdul Jabar Nahimi said the bomber had been riding a motorcycle packed with explosives and 37 civilians were wounded in the blast.
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility, although Afghan insurgents are quick to claim any successful attack on foreign troops as their own.
The bombing followed the killing of two Americans on Sunday in an exchange of fire with Afghan forces that took the death toll of U.S. military and civilian personnel to over 2,000 in the 11-year war.
Insider attacks by members of the Afghan security forces against NATO allies have resulted in 52 deaths this year among foreign forces and this month prompted a tightening of rules for joint patrols between coalition and Afghan forces.
(Reporting by Elyas Wahdat; Writing by Rob Taylor; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Suicide bomb blast kills NATO, Afghan soldiers
At least 14 people were killed and dozens of others wounded on Monday when a motorcycle-riding suicide bomber attacked a joint Afghan and international patrol in the city of Khost. Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the attack.
A suicide bomber driving a motorcycle packed with explosives rammed his bike into a patrol of Afghan and international forces on Monday morning in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 14 people, including three NATO service members and their translator, officials said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which came a day after the U.S. death toll in the war in Afghanistan reached 2,000 troops and as relations between international forces and their Afghan partners have been pushed to the breaking point by a surge in insider attacks by Afghan allies.
The bomber struck a group of Afghan police and international troops shortly after they got out of their vehicles to walk through a market area in Khost city, the capital of Khost province, said provincial government spokesman Baryalai Wakman.
Six civilians and four police officers were killed in the blast, Wakman said. He said the police officers were part of a specialised quick-reaction force.
Blood could be seen on the market road as Afghan police and soldiers tried to clean up the area after the blast. Slippers and bicycle parts were strewn about.
“I heard the explosion and came right to this area. I saw the dead bodies of policemen and of civilians right here,” said policeman Hashmat Khan, who ran to the site of the blast from his job as security for a nearby bank.
Coalition spokesman Maj. Adam Wojack would only confirm that three NATO service members and their translator died in a bombing in the east on Monday, without giving an exact location or the nationalities of the dead.
The international military alliance usually waits for individual nations to announce details on deaths. Most of the troops in the east and in Khost province are American. It was not immediately clear if the translator was an Afghan citizen or a foreigner, Wojack said.
Dozens of Afghan civilians were also wounded in the bombing. The city’s hospital alone was treating about 30 people injured in the explosion, said Dr. Amir Pacha, a physician working there. He added there could be other victims being treated at nearby private clinics.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in text messages to media that the insurgent group was behind the attack.
Joint patrols between NATO and Afghan forces have become more limited following a tide of attacks by Afghan soldiers and police on their international allies. Last month, the U.S. military issued new orders that require units to get approval from higher-ups before conducting operations with Afghans. Then, two weeks later, U.S. officials said most missions were being conducted with Afghans again, though the system of approvals has remained in place.
The close contact - coalition forces working side by side with Afghan troops as advisers, mentors and trainers - is a key part of the U.S. strategy for putting the Afghans in the lead as the U.S. and other nations prepare to pull out their last combat troops by the end of 2014.
But the rising death toll for international troops has increased calls in the U.S. and other allies to get out as soon as possible. On Sunday, a U.S. official confirmed that an American soldier was killed in a firefight that broke out between Afghan and U.S. troops, sparked by either a premeditated attack or confusion about the origins of an insurgent strike.
According to an Associated Press count, that soldier’s death brought American troop deaths in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion to 2,000 - a cold reminder of the perils that remain after an 11-year conflict.
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