The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Taliban kill 12 in attack on Afghan government compound in east, issue stark message to NATO

  • Print

KABUL - The Taliban struck a government compound in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday in a dawn attack that included two suicide truck bombings and left at least 12 people dead, including 10 policemen asleep in their quarters nearby.

The assault followed a stark message from the Taliban to world leaders gathered at a NATO summit in Wales, which will also discuss the drawdown of the alliance's mission in Afghanistan.

The exit of all foreign combat troops at the end of the year is proof that "no nation is able to subdue a free nation, especially a nation proud and free such as Afghanistan," the Taliban note said.

Thursday's attack started at sunrise, with the Taliban setting off two massive suicide truck bombs outside the government compound in the provincial capital of Ghazni, followed by an assault by nearly a dozen gunmen.

The assault triggered a gunbattle with policemen and security forces at the compound and all 21 assailants were subsequently killed, including the two suicide bombers, the Interior Ministry said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent to media.

The bombs blew out many windows across the city, and left about 200 people injured, mostly from flying glass, said Ghazni Gov. Musa Khan Akbarzada. He said one truck carved a 10-meter (yard) hole into the ground. The Interior Ministry put the number of wounded at 130.

Sadly, the bombings also destroyed Ghazni's city library and two museums, the governor said.

The attack comes as Afghanistan is embroiled in a political crisis with the country's April presidential election still without a clear winner. Two candidates vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai pulled their observers out of a ballot audit meant to determine the winner of a June runoff. The audit's final results are expected sometime next week.

Even though NATO forces are to leave Afghanistan, a small number of U.S. and international troops may stay on after 2014 to advise and assist the Afghans. But that is likely contingent on Afghanistan signing a security arrangement with the United States, something Karzai has so far refused to do. And despite the exit of most foreign forces, violence between the Taliban and the Afghan government is expected to continue.

Both presidential candidates — Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai — have pledged to sign the security deal. Had the vote been resolved, it was expected that Karzai's successor would have attended the summit in Wales.

The Taliban needled the alliance ahead of the summit.

"Their 13-year-old occupation is now seen as a historical shame," said their statement, released late Wednesday. "It was planned that Afghanistan's next leader would participate in the Wales Summit. Now their plans have come to naught."

The election impasse has also hurt Afghanistan's economy, as customers worrying about the outbreak of civil war hold onto their money and investors put the brakes on new projects as they wait to see how the crisis unfolds.

One truck bomb in the Ghazni attack targeted the local office of domestic intelligence, while the other targeted the police force's sleeping quarters, the Interior Ministry said. Seventeen policemen were wounded. The Interior Ministry said two civilians were also killed.

The Taliban regularly stage brazen attacks against Afghan forces and government institutions. In July, a suicide bomber blew up a car near a busy mosque and a market in the eastern province of Paktika, killing at least 89 people.

In other developments, the U.S.-led international military coalition said one of its service members was killed in an attack Thursday in eastern Afghanistan.

NATO spokesman Maj. Paul Greenberg said he could not specify where the service member died but he said he did not believe there were any coalition troops at the Ghazni government compound during the Taliban assault.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman talks "job number one" in News Café interview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Premier Greg Selinger resign?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google