Mon, Dec 29, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Suicide bomber kills six in Afghanistan

INFERNO This year has been the most violent in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001, with violence also rising in Pakistan and Indian-Pakistani tensions increasing

AGENCIES , KABUL AND KHOST, AFGHANISTAN AND MIRANSHAH, PAKISTAN

A suicide bomber killed six people, including four children, and wounded 36 others in the southeastern Afghan province of Khost yesterday, a provincial official said.

Two of the six killed in the attack on Ismail Kheil’s district headquarters were security forces, Dawlat Qayoumi told reporters.

US forces were also present inside the building during the attack, but suffered no losses, Qayoumi said.

“The attack has also caused damage to the building,” he said.

A doctor in the main hospital in Khost said that 36 people, many of them civilians, were wounded in the attack. Some were in critical condition, he said.

The escalation of violence this year in Afghanistan has raised concerns the country may slide back into anarchy despite increased deployments of foreign troops.

US-led troops with the backing of some Afghan armed factions overthrew the Taliban government after it refused to hand over al Qaeda leaders accused by Washington of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

The Taliban, who are largely active in southern and eastern regions near the border with Pakistan, have regrouped since 2005 and mostly rely on suicide attacks and roadside bomb raids against Afghan and foreign troops.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed two Canadian soldiers and two Afghans working alongside them in a dangerous region of southern Afghanistan, Canada’s military said yesterday.

Four other Canadian soldiers and one Afghan interpreter were wounded in the attack on Saturday in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar Province, the military said.

The two Afghans killed in the blast included an interpreter and a police officer.

This year has been the deadliest for NATO soldiers in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban.

NATO officials have said that Canadian troops have suffered more deaths per capita than any other foreign military in the country.

More than 100 Canadians have been killed.

Elsewhere, coalition forces killed five militants and detained six during operations in Kabul and Paktika provinces on Saturday, the coalition said yesterday.

An operation against militants in the Surobi district of Kabul Province, about 65km northeast of Kabul city, killed four militants, the coalition said. A second operation in Paktika killed another militant.

More than 6,000 people have died this year in violence related to the insurgency, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

Meanwhile, Taliban militants killed three men in Pakistan’s troubled tribal region near the Afghan border after accusing them of spying for the US and Islamabad, an official said yesterday.

The incident in North Waziristan was the latest in a string of similar killings in the rugged mountainous region, a stronghold of al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents.

The body of one of the alleged spies, 25-year-old Rahim Gul, was found yesterday with multiple gunshot wounds and a broken arm near a market in the tribal area’s main town Miranshah, a security official said.

He said the bodies of the other two men — 22-year-old Inayatullah Khattak and 18-year-old Shooti Bannu — were hung from a bridge in a village outside the town of Mir Ali. They had first been shot dead.

He said the killers left a note with the bodies saying, “Those spying for the US and ISI [Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency] will suffer the same fate.”

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