East Afghan cities hit by Taliban

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Several people have been killed in a series of attacks by Taliban militants in eastern Afghanistan.
A group of gunmen and suicide bombers attacked four key sites, including the governor's compound, in the city of Gardez.
Six militants were killed, Afghanistan's defence ministry said, and a number of security personnel.
In Jalalabad, near the Pakistan border, at least one militant was killed in an attack near an airbase.
The attacks come amid a spike of violence in the country ahead of elections on 20 August.
Shoot-out
In Gardez, the militants attacked the police chief's office, a police station and the intelligence directorate, as well as the governor's compound, Afghan officials said.
A local trader said there was panic and confusion.

Afghanistan: Taliban tactics
"I was at my shop and I suddenly heard a loud explosion and then gunshots. I saw fire being exchanged between the police and attackers," the trader told the BBC.
Reports said that at least two of the male attackers were wearing women's burkhas.
In a statement, the defence ministry said four militants were killed in a shoot-out and two blew themselves up.
A number of security personnel were killed and injured, it said, without giving details.
An Afghan doctor at the hospital in Gardez told the BBC he had received four bodies, all of military personnel.
Taliban militants have carried out similar co-ordinated attacks on provincial cities in recent months.
In May, six people were killed when militants launched simultaneous attacks on government buildings in the city of Khost in eastern Afghanistan.
In Jalalabad, two militants tried to attack an airport which is a base for Afghan and foreign troops.
Nato-led forces said one blew himself up and another was captured. An Afghan official said one policeman was killed, but that was not confirmed.
Troops 'must stay'
Earlier, a British soldier was killed in an explosion in Helmand province in the south of the country.
He was the 18th British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan this month. The death of four US troops was announced on Monday.
On Monday Nato head Jaap de Hoop Scheffer warned that walking away from the war would have a "devastating" effect, allowing extremism to overwhelm Afghanistan and spread further into Pakistan and Central Asia.
The fight in Afghanistan, he said, was essential to the security of Nato members.
"Those who argue otherwise - who say we can defend against terrorism from home - are simply burying their heads in the sand," he said

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