Violence rises ahead of US review of Afghan war

Last Updated: Sunday, December 12, 2010 - 11:29

Kabul: A NATO airstrike killed at least 25
suspected insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, while violence
elsewhere left 22 civilians dead in a wave of attacks days
before the White House issues a review of US war strategy,
officials said.

A NATO force on patrol called for air support after
coming under threat from insurgents in the Nari district of
Kunar province, which has been the scene of heavy fighting
along the Pakistani border.

NATO said more than 25 militants were killed in the
airstrike on Saturday.

The coalition said another NATO unit in the Dara Pech
district of Kunar killed an unspecified number of insurgents
after coming under fire from small arms and rocket-propelled
grenades.

Also in the east, about 500 people gathered Saturday in
Paktia province, shouting "Death to Americans!" amid local
reports that a NATO operation killed seven members of a
private security company.

NATO said it was investigating the shootout, which
occurred after coalition forces detained a suspected insurgent
and tried to clear the area. Coalition forces then shot a man
who approached them armed with an assault rifle.

"Multiple other armed individuals then engaged the force,
which resulted in a total of seven individuals killed," NATO
said in a statement. "The security force takes civilian
casualty allegations seriously and is currently accessing who
the individuals were, why they were armed and why they were in
that area at that time of the morning."

Heavy fighting continues in the east even though the main
focus of the war is in the south where NATO forces have pushed
deeper into Taliban strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar
provinces.

A car bomb exploded Saturday outside of police
headquarters in Kandahar, wounding at least six people and
blowing out the windows of buildings up to a mile (a kilometer
and a half) away, officials said.

Two civilians and four police officers were wounded, said
Zalmai Ayubi, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar
province.

Azar Jan, a police officer who was standing guard across
the street from the police headquarters, said he noticed an
empty, silver car parked on the street moments before the
blast.

"As I was turning around, the explosion happened," Jan
said, his bleeding head wrapped in a bandage.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 12, 2010 - 11:29

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