Afghan suicide attack leaves 2 soldiers dead
Blast targets NATO convoy
KABUL, Afghanistan - A suicide car bomb attack against a NATO convoy yesterday killed two soldiers and wounded four other people, while fighting in the south killed 16 Taliban militants, officials said.
The bomb attack in the eastern city of Jalalabad hit a contingent of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, the alliance said in a statement. ISAF did not release the nationalities of the troops involved, but most soldiers in that region are American.
Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said the blast also wounded four Afghan civilians and damaged five vehicles.
An operation in the southern province of Kandahar in the last several days killed 16 Taliban fighters, including a group commander, said provincial police chief Sayed Agha Saqib. No casualties were reported by the Afghan and ISAF forces, he said.
In neighboring Helmand Province, meanwhile, US-led coalition forces and Afghan troops killed several militants in Nahri Sarraj district, a coalition statement said.
Violence has increased across Afghanistan the last two years, even as more and more international troops have poured into the country. More than 1,500 people have died in insurgency related violence this year, according to an Associated Press count.
General Dan McNeill, the outgoing American commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said last week that the insurgency will last for years unless Pakistan shuts down havens where militants train and recruit.
"If there are going to be sanctuaries where these terrorists, these extremists, these insurgents can train, can recruit, can regenerate, there's still going to be a challenge there," he said.
NATO has said there was a 50 percent spike in violence in eastern Afghanistan in April when compared with 2007. "We've also monitored and reported in the past what happens when there are so-called peace negotiations with these terrorists and extremists inside those sanctuaries," McNeill said. "And when there have been [negotiations], there has been a spike in the untoward events on our side of the border."