Da The Daily Star del 04/04/2005
Originale su http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&a...

Insurgent violence flares in Afghanistan

Taliban and Al-Qaeda launch offensive killing 11

KABUL - Eleven people were killed and eight wounded in four separate incidents in Afghanistan, marking a surge in an anticipated Taliban offensive against the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces, police and the Interior Ministry said Saturday. Suspected Taliban insurgents attacked government district offices in the southeastern province of Helmand on Saturday, killing four policemen and injuring three others, officials said.

Dozens of suspected insurgents from the country's ousted Taliban regime stormed the Disho district office during the attack, provincial intelligence chief Dad Mohammad said.

Saturday's attack followed three other deadly incidents on Friday, and came in the wake of several rebel strikes during the past two weeks.

A bomb planted on a tractor trolley killed two people and injured five in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif while a roadside bomb blast in southern Kandahar province killed two teenagers.

A three-truck convoy was ambushed in the town of Spin Boldak near the Pakistani border on the route taken by drivers to carry fuel to the U.S. forces, Kandahar police chief Mohammad Ayoob Salangi said.

Three truck drivers including two Pakistanis were killed in the attack and the insurgents burned their vehicle, Salangi said.

Authorities said they had no immediate clues on who carried out Friday's attacks but such incidents have previously been linked to Taliban insurgents.

"We don't know who was behind the attacks," Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal Mashal said, adding that police were investigating the two blasts.

Spin Boldak, five kilometers from the southwestern Pakistani town of Chaman, is considered a stronghold of remnants of the Taliban regime which was ousted from power in late 2001 by U.S.-led forces.

After an unusually harsh winter, the coming of spring has brought a surge in attacks on the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces.

Bombs have caused carnage in Kandahar, Kabul and eastern Jalalabad and there have been several other attacks targeting Afghan soldiers, police and U.S.-led coalition forces in the past two weeks.

"The number and severity of attacks against Afghan and coalition forces has increased compared to the winter," U.S. military spokeswoman Lieutenant Cindy Moore said in a statement Saturday.

Coalition and Afghan forces have seized a number of improvised explosive devices in the past few days, Moore said.

"This shows that some in the Taliban or other anti-government insurgents will continue to try to destabilize Afghanistan through violent acts," she said.

The commander of U.S. forces in the country, Lieutenant General David Barno, said this week that Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network was making fresh efforts to engineer a comeback by the Taliban and regain a foothold of its own in Afghanistan.

Last weekend a roadside bomb was detonated in the Afghan capital, Kabul, injuring a Canadian and three Afghans.

On Thursday two suspected insurgents were killed by a bomb they were laying on a road to target a government official in Kandahar's neighboring province of Urzgan, another stronghold of the ousted Taliban.

Some 8,000 NATO soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan in addition to an 18,000-strong coalition force under the command of the United States.

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