Violence ripples across Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan – Violence hop-scotched across Afghanistan on Saturday, as a bombing killed 10 people in a northern province and coalition troops repelled an assault by a squad of gunmen and suicide bombers on a base in the country’s eastern region.
In Afghanistan’s south, NATO forces reported the deaths of three service members in an insurgent attack. It did not provide details or release the nationalities of those killed, but most of the troops serving in the south are Americans.
The heightened tempo of attacks comes days before NATO nations gather for a summit to consider the course of the alliance’s Afghan mission.
The insurgents appear eager to demonstrate that setbacks in the south, where the U.S. military has claimed major progress in breaking the Taliban’s grip on districts surrounding Kandahar city, will not hinder them from regrouping elsewhere.
U.S. Marines have also been suffering significant casualties in recent weeks as they stage an aggressive push in Helmand province, which neighbors Kandahar.
This has been the deadliest year of the nine-year war for Western soldiers and Afghan civilians alike.
The early morning attack Saturday on an observation post on the edge of the main NATO air base in the eastern city of Jalalabad left six insurgents dead, Western military officials said. The failed attempt to storm the installation set off fighting that lasted two hours, with the NATO force calling in air support.
No fatalities were reported among coalition forces.
As in previous attacks, at least some of the assailants wore Afghan army uniforms, a tactic meant to at least momentarily confuse the defenders.
In Afghanistan’s increasingly restive north, a bomb planted on a motorbike blew up in a busy market area in the district of Imam Sahib, a longtime trouble spot in Kunduz province. Three children were among the dead, the Interior Ministry said. Also killed was a senior police official who may have been the target of the blast.