Insurgents attack NATO's southern Afghan base

Discussion in 'Americas' started by A.V., May 23, 2010.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Foreign Secretary William Hague, center, and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, second left, address the press along with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul, right, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, May 22, 2010. On the left is Afghan spokesperson Ahmad Zahir Faqiri. .William Hague, Defence Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell are set to meet President Hamid Karzai in their first visit to to the country since a new coalition government took power in London this month. (AP Photo/ Ahmad Massoud)
    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Insurgents launched a rare ground assault against NATO's main military base in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, wounding several international service members in the second such attack on a major military installation this week, officials said.
    A Canadian Press news agency report from the base said artillery and machine gun fire reverberated through the area, about 300 miles (500 kilometers) southwest of Kabul, several hours after the attack began.
    No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack - the third major assault on NATO forces in Afghanistan in six days - but the Kandahar area is a Taliban stronghold.
    On Tuesday, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy in the capital, killing 18 people including six NATO service members including five Americans and a Canadian.
    The next day, dozens of Taliban militants attacked the main U.S. military base - Bagram Air Field - killing an American contractor in fighting that lasted more than eight hours.
    Rockets started hitting Kandahar Air Field about 8 p.m. local time (15:30 GMT), followed quickly by a ground assault, said Navy Commander Amanda Peperseim, a spokeswoman for NATO forces at the base. She said the attack was still ongoing and did not provide further details.
    She said at least five rockets struck the base, wounding a number of service members, as militants tried unsuccessfully to breach the defense perimeter on the northern side. There were no reports of deaths and she did not have the precise number of wounded.
    Peperseim did not know how many insurgents launched the attack but said they did not appear to be wearing suicide vests, as had many of those who stormed the Bagram Air Field north of Kabul on Wednesday. In addition to the U.S. contractor's death, 16 militants were killed and five attackers were captured in the Bagram assault.
    Rocket attacks against the Kandahar base, located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Kandahar city, are not uncommon. But ground assaults against such large facilities as Kandahar and Bagram are rare, and two attacks in the same week show that the militants are capable of complex operations despite NATO military pressure.
    The attacks came soon after the Taliban announced a spring offensive against NATO forces and Afghan government troops - their respone to a promise by the Obama administration to squeeze the Taliban out of their strongholds in southern Kandahar province.
    Kandahar Air Field is the launching pad for thousands of additional U.S. forces pouring into the country for a summer surge against the Taliban.
    Attacks in the south earlier Saturday killed three NATO service members - one American, one French and one Dutch - and an Afghan interpreter. That brought to 996 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the war began in October 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The Dutch death toll in Afghanistan now is 24 and the French toll is 42.
    A loudspeaker announcement at the Kandahar base said the ground attack was coming from the north, said Maura Axelrod, a reporter with HDNet who was inside the base. She said she could hear heavy outgoing fire and that commanders had come into the bunker where she had taken cover to order all Marines with weapons to help in establishing a security perimeter.
    An Afghan named Najibullah who works with a private security company on the base said that he heard rockets hitting for about half an hour. He only gave one name.
    NATO's current push is aimed at winning over the population in Taliban-friendly areas by establishing security and bolstering the local government. However, each military strike has created potential for backlash amid arguments about who is truly an insurgent.
    In the latest such incident, at least a dozen people were killed south of the capital Saturday after U.S. troops spotted two insurgents trying to plant bombs, an Afghan official said.
    The two were shot dead in Paktia province, district chief Gulab Shah said. Troops saw comrades drag the two bodies away and called in a helicopter gunship which killed 10 more people, whom U.S. officials said were all militants, Shah said.
    Shah said Afghan authorities will investigate to make sure the dead were all insurgents.
    Civilian deaths are a flashpoint issue in Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai has urged NATO to take all necessary measures to protect civilian lives.
    More than eight years into the war in Afghanistan, international support is also weakening.
    The defense minister of Britain's new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government met with Karzai in Kabul on Saturday and said he hopes to speed the withdrawal of British troops.
    Defense Secretary Liam Fox is quoted in Saturday's edition of The Times newspaper he "would like the forces to come back as soon as possible," and wants to see if it is possible to speed the training of Afghan troops.

    http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_8559/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=jhAEAgTf


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  3. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    the impunity which Taliban attack NATO bases & couple it with recent Killing of various High Ranking Coalition Officers, its seems the tide which ISAF was saying is in their favor is turning against them, they need to stop targeting & blaming everything on Pakistan & start cleaning the mess in Afghanistan & start Operation in Kandhar.....
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    last few weeks were quite bad for ISAF.This was bound to happen sooner or later when u go half heartedly into battle without even clear defined goals.Their tactics of surge and withdrawal failed in Vietnam and they followed same here.Hence the result of failure was written all-over even before they've started the battle.Draw down by summer of 2011 was more influenced by obama's plan of 2nd term election rather than for any real progress in afghanistan.if afghanistan was bear-trap for russians it will prove to be a monkey trap for americans.
     

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