- Number-crunchers put GOP chances of retaking Senate at 60 percent: report
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
- Fla. voters’ support for medical marijuana bodes well for ballot measure: poll
- Keith Urban concert ends in ‘nutso’ chaos, with dozens arrested, injured
- Very religious still lean toward GOP, reflecting long-term patterns, Gallup poll shows
- Fist bump becoming all the rage for germ-wary handshakers
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Chinese police tear down church cross in religion crackdown
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: ‘Obama, Obama, where are you?’
- Maine police find wife, husband, 3 children dead in home
Roadside bomb kills 10, wounds 28 in Afghanistan
Question of the Day
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A roadside bomb killed 10 workers in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, and NATO again promised that the coalition would not abandon the country even if some members plan to withdraw their forces.
Also Tuesday, two high-ranking government officials survived attempted assassinations.
“Those who threaten Afghanistan’s future should be under no illusion: NATO is and remains committed to Afghanistan,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen told Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to a coalition statement.
NATO also acknowledged Tuesday that soldiers shot dead an Afghan holding a flashlight during a raid, something that could add to the growing anti-foreigner sentiment in Afghanistan after nearly a decade of war.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the roadside bombing aimed at workers in Kandahar, which has seen a rise in incidents in recent days as Taliban fighters try to retake territory lost in the past year.
The workers on the truck were employed by the local government in the region to clean up rivers and streams, according to Dr. Qayoum Pakhla, the director of Kandahar Hospital. Ten died, and 28 were injured in the attack.
“I could see people calling for help and crying,” said one of the survivors, who gave his name as Sabdullah. “I saw some of my friends’ dead bodies. I was helpless at that moment.”
Meanwhile, Ahmad Ziad, a deputy chief at the National Directorate for Security, was not injured in an attempted suicide bombing that targeted his car as he was traveling to work in Kabul, police said.
Mr. Ziad’s bodyguards opened fire on a suspicious sport utility vehicle heading toward his convoy, wounding the driver and stopping the speeding SUV laden with explosives, the police said.
The driver was arrested and hospitalized under guard, pending an investigation. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attempt in a message to the Associated Press.
In a separate attack, gunmen opened fire on an armored SUV carrying Helmand provincial Gov. Mohammad Gulab Mangul. A statement from his office said police returned fire, killing two attackers. Mr. Mangul was not injured during the attack.
The growing number of attacks in the insurgents’ spring offensive come as NATO and the United States hope to begin relinquishing control of security to the Afghan military through the end of 2014. President Obama has said the United States, with about 100,000 troops on the ground, will begin a gradual drawdown in July — with the number to be determined by the situation at the time. Other nations plan to draw down their troop levels as well.
Mr. Fogh Rasmussen told journalists in Kabul on Tuesday that the “transition is on track” for the handover of seven of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces in July. Both Mr. Fogh Rasmussen and Mr. Karzai urged insurgent fighters to lay down their weapons and embrace an ongoing peace process.
“By shooting at our own countrymen, we gain nothing but the curse of history and the curse of God,” Mr. Karzai said.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, meanwhile, was in Kabul for talks with Mr. Karzai, who has been increasingly outspoken about the need for Pakistan to take a stronger role in the fight against militant groups. Trilateral talks on security began Tuesday between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States, though top U.S. regional envoy Marc Grossman did not attend after he fell ill, officials said.
Also Tuesday, NATO said a French aircraft crashed but that no one was injured. French military spokesman Col. Thierry Burkhard said the Mirage fighter jet crashed while escorting a convoy in Helmand province, likely from mechanical problems with the plane.
It was the first crash of a French aircraft in the near decade the nation has been involved with the NATO operation, Col. Burkhard said. In April, a helicopter from the NATO-led coalition crashed in a mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan, killing one foreign service member.
NATO forces have faced violent protests over night raids on villages as they try to flush out insurgents. On Monday night, NATO forces in southern Helmand province conducting a search shot and killed an Afghan who they said acted hostile and raised an object toward troops, the coalition said in a statement.
The man had only a flashlight in his hands, NATO said.
The man continued forward despite translator “instructions and warnings which were relayed in multiple ethnic languages,” the coalition said. “This series of callouts was ineffective in allowing the security force to detain the individual peacefully.”
NATO also said Tuesday that a service member died in an explosion Monday in southern Afghanistan. The British Defense Ministry said the soldier from the 1st Battalion the Rifles was killed while on patrol in Helmand province.
Associated Press writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez in Kabul and Mirwais Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq