Ten troops killed in bloody day for ISAF in Afghanistan

June 8th, 2010 - 6:05 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, June 8 (DPA) Ten soldiers from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan Monday, in the bloodiest day for the NATO-led alliance for months.
In an improvised bomb blast in the east of the country, five ISAF service members were killed, a statement from the alliance said.

Meanwhile five other ISAF soldiers were killed in separate attacks in the south, where the alliance’s toughest battles against the Taliban insurgency are taking place.

A suicide bomber attacked a police training centre with his explosive-laden vehicle in the southern city of Kandahar on Monday, Zalmai Ayoubi, spokesman for the provincial governor said. Moments later two more bombers entered the compound, but were killed by security forces.

Ayoubi said that only three police officers had been injured in the attack, but the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement that two people, including a US national, had been killed. The nationality of the other person killed was not revealed.

ISAF does not release the identity of killed soldiers.

Local residents said explosions and gunfire could be heard coming from the training camp, located near Kandahar’s airfield, the main US and NATO military base in the region.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousif Ahmadi claimed five Taliban fighters equipped with automatic weapons and suicide vests entered the training centre and killed several Afghan and foreign soldiers.

One of the bombers detonated his explosives while four others took positions for the heavy fighting that followed, Ahmadi said in a statement.

Kandahar, the headquarters of the Taliban leadership before the ouster of their government in late 2001, is expected to be the scene of the biggest NATO offensive in Afghanistan by summer.

Meanwhile, three civilians were killed and 12 other people, including civilians and police officers, were injured in two roadside bombings in southern Afghanistan, a local official said.

Thousands of additional US troops were expected to arrive in the province in the coming months.

The attacks come a day after Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and intelligence chief Amrullah Salah resigned over their failure to prevent Taliban attacks on last week’s peace assembly in Kabul.

Wahid Omer, a presidential spokesman said Monday that the president accepted the two top officials’ resignations because there was a “serious security breach” during the first day of the assembly, known as a peace jirga.

The militants fired at least three rockets and sent three suicide bombers to attack the jirga tent as President Hamid Karzai was addressing more than 1,600 delegates from across the country.

The attacks wounded four police officers and a presidential bodyguard, but they sent a blunt message that the militants were powerful enough to attack the site protected by more than 15,000 security forces.

Both Atmar and Saleh were regarded as two of the most competent officials in an Afghan government seen as otherwise corrupt . They were also favoured by the US government and other NATO members.

In another incident, two men and one woman were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the Nawzad district of Helmand province, Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Monday.

Eight other civilians were injured in the blast late Sunday, he said.

Four police officers were injured Sunday by another roadside bomb in Helmand’s Gerishk district, the spokesman said.

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