Center for Defense Information – 2008-05-16 18:43:49
General Security Situation
(May 15, 2008) — In an alarming demonstration of their reach, the Taliban executed an attack that threatened Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul during an annual ceremony celebrating the defeat of the Soviet Union. While casualties were low, and Karzai escaped unharmed, the Taliban’s ability to strike at such a high profile event is a psychological victory – putting into question the abilities of the military and government.
Throughout the month, Afghan National Police – particularly those tasked with eradicating poppy fields – were attacked by Taliban fighters. Meanwhile, 2,300 U.S. Marines deployed to the south of the country to bolster the amount of troops available for a full-spectrum of missions in Afghanistan.
Despite the modest increase in troop levels, the new commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, predicted higher levels of violence in 2008 than in 2007 due to a shift in Taliban tactics and increased cross-border activity between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Regional Command Capital
Kabul April 27, 2008: Taliban Attack Karzai at Ceremony
Three people, including a member of parliament and a child, were killed and around 10 injured in a Taliban attack on a military parade in the capital attended by Afghan and foreign diplomats. The parade and ceremony marked the defeat of the Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, and was being taped on live television. Afghan President Hamid Karzai attended, but was not harmed in the attack. Three Taliban fighters were killed in the attack. On April 30, Afghan security forces raided the hideout of Taliban insurgents behind the attack, sparking a battle that killed seven people, including a woman and child.
Regional Command North
April 10, 2008: Two Insurgents Killed
NATO troops reported killing two insurgents after their patrol came under rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire in northern Kunduz province overnight.
Regional Command South
April 1, 2008: Suicide Car Bomb Kills Two Police
Two Afghan policemen were killed and five wounded in a suicide attack on a district police compound in the Khash Rod district. The incident seriously calls into question the procedures used by Afghanistan’s police force. Not knowing the car was packed with explosives, the police brought the car into the police compound to do paperwork after it collided accidentally with a police vehicle. The driver detonated the car bomb as it entered the compound. The policemen the car hit were involved in poppy eradication efforts.
April 12, 2008: Suicide Bomber Attacks Indian Construction Crew
Two people were killed and eight others were wounded when a suicide bomber approached an Indian road construction crew on foot and detonated his explosives in the Khash Rod district. ISAF reported the attack also resulted in the death of two insurgents, with two others detained by the Afghan National Police.
April 18, 2008: Suicide Attack near Mosque Kills 24
A suicide attack in front of a mosque killed 24 people and wounded more than 30 others as men were preparing for evening prayers. Reports weren’t clear if the attack was perpetrated by one or two bombers. Most of those injured and killed were civilians, but a district police chief and a border reserve police commander were also among the dead. The attack took place in the city of Zaranj, the provincial capital.
April 21, 2008: Iranian and Afghan Clash at Border
Afghan police and forces from Iran clashed after an Iranian border patrol entered the Afghanistan village of Pul Abreshum, along the two countries’ southwestern border. The gun battle reportedly killed an Afghan teacher and wounded two Iranian border guards.
April 1, 2008: ISAF Kills Three Insurgents Planting IEDs
ISAF forces reported killing three insurgents placing IEDs along a roadway close to a base in central Panjwayi. Close air support was called in and dropped a precision bomb on the insurgents. A fourth militant was wounded by the bomb. Some media reports indicated the four people were civilians; however ISAF contends those attacked were confirmed as insurgents planting IEDs.
April 4, 2008: Four Killed in Suicide Bombing
Three policemen and a civilian were killed in Laskar Gah by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives near a police vehicle. Eight people, including a policeman and seven civilians, were reportedly injured by the blast.
April 7, 2008: Two Police Killed by Roadside Bomb
Two police were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. The police were escorting engineers to repair a mobile phone tower in Sangin district, at least ten of which were reported as attacked during past month following a warning by the Taliban to shut down the towers at night. Some phone companies have shut down services in the evening, acquiescing to Taliban demands.
April 13, 2008: Taliban Attack Police Checkpoint
Taliban fighters attacked a police checkpoint in Gereshk district during the night. The insurgents reportedly ambushed one of the police trucks, killed four officers, and wounded seven others.
April 20, 2008: Insurgents Killed in Airstrikes
Afghan and foreign troops clashed with Taliban fighters in the Garmser district. At least seven insurgents were reported killed by airstrikes that were called in.
April 21, 2008: Mine Kills British Soldier
A British soldier was killed when his vehicle, which was providing security for a supply convoy returning to Camp Bastion, struck a mine. A second soldier was also injured in the explosion.
April 23, 2008: Suicide Bomber Kills Two Police
A suicide bomber killed two police officers and wounded three others according to the district police chief. The bomber approached the police car and guards opened fire, wounding the attacker, who then detonated his bomb.
April 4, 2008: Roadside Bomb Kills Canadian soldier
A Canadian soldier was killed when his armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the Panjwayi district.
April 7, 2008: Seven Police Killed While Eradicating Poppy
Seven police officers working to eradicate a field of opium poppies were killed when attacked by insurgents. Five insurgents were reportedly also killed in the clash.
April 10, 2008: Suicide Bomber Kills 11
Eight civilians and three ISAF soldiers were killed when a Taliban suicide bomber targeted an ISAF convoy. Nearly 30 others were reportedly wounded in the attack, including two Afghan policemen and three children.
April 12, 2008: Four Afghan Police Officers Killed
Four police officers were killed in the Maiwand district while working to destroy a field of opium poppies when they were attacked by insurgents.
April 13, 2008: Two British Soldiers Killed in Explosion
Two British soldiers were killed when their lightly armored vehicle was struck by an explosion during a patrol at Kandahar airfield,
NATO’s main airbase.
April 14, 2008: Taliban Attack Checkpoint, Kill 11 Police
A group of police officers at an isolated checkpoint on the main road between Kandahar and Oruzgan were attacked by Taliban insurgents in the early hours of Monday morning. Eleven Afghan police were killed in the attack, and their vehicles were reportedly burnt by the Taliban before leaving. Descriptions of the attack indicate several of the police were shot while sleeping.
April 16, 2008: Two U.S. Marines Killed
Two U.S. Marines were killed by an explosion during combat operations. The Marines were among the 2,300 soldiers from the recently deployed Marine Expeditionary Unit.
April 17, 2008: Roadside Bomb Hits Canadian Vehicle
A Canadian military vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb near Spin Boldak, a town near the Pakistani border. No deaths were reported as a result of the blast.
April 19, 2008: Afghan Army Detains Dozens of Pakistani Men
Sixty-eight Pakistani men were detained by the Afghan army after entering Afghanistan because of suspected ties with insurgents. The defense ministry reported receiving intelligence that a group of Pakistanis with links to “terrorists” were entering the region. According to the Afghan government, the men are being investigated.
April 20, 2008: Failed Taliban Ambush Kills Four Insurgents
A gun battle between Taliban insurgents and the Afghan army ended with four Taliban militants dead. The fighting in Panjawayi was sparked when the insurgents ambushed Afghan and international soldiers on patrol.
April 22, 2008: Afghan Police Kill Nine Taliban
Nine Taliban fighters were killed by Afghan police when a clash broke out during a search operation in the Arghasan district.
April 23, 2008: Suicide Bomber Kills Three
A suicide bomber detonated his explosives next to a vehicle in Spin Boldak, reportedly leaving three civilians dead and 14 others, including two children, wounded.
April 28, 2008: Australian Soldier Killed in Firefight
A firefight between Taliban fighters and Afghan forces killed an Australian soldier around 15 miles southeast of Tarin Kowt. A Special Operations Task Group was readying to attack Taliban insurgents when they were attacked by Taliban fighters, with heavy small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Coalition air support was called in to strike at Taliban positions. Four other soldiers were wounded in the incident.
April 18, 2008: Roadside Bomb Kills Two Dutch Soldiers
Two Dutch soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb hit their patrol 7 miles northwest of Camp Holland, the Dutch military base in Oruzgan. The Taliban claimed the attack. One of the soldiers, Lt. Dennis van Uhm, was the son of the Netherlands’ top military officer Gen. Peter van Uhm. Two more soldiers were injured in the attack on the vehicle, which was returning from a reconnaissance mission.
April 8, 2008: Seventeen Construction Workers Killed
Taliban fighters attacked civilian construction workers, killing 17 of them and injuring around a dozen more in Shinkai. In the fighting that followed Afghan and international soldiers killed seven insurgents. On April 12, the Afghan army and international troops reportedly fought and called in airstrikes on the militants considered responsible for the ambush in two separate mountainous areas.
April 16, 2008: Policeman, Five Taliban Killed in Fighting
An Afghan policeman was killed when Taliban fighters ambushed a group of police sparking a clash with the Taliban. Along with the policeman, five Taliban rebels were killed in the firefight. A Taliban commander, Mullah Manan, was reportedly one of the five killed in the attack.
Regional Command East
April 7, 2008: Landmine Hits Polish Soldiers, One Killed
Two Polish soldiers were reportedly wounded when their convoy was hit by a landmine while on their way to the Waghez district, one died of his wounds the following day. The death marks the fourth Polish soldier to be killed in action in Afghanistan.
April 17, 2008: Militant Ambush Leaves Nine Taliban Fighters Dead
Militants reportedly ambushed a patrol of Afghan and foreign troops in the Gilan district, and the ensuing clash left nine Taliban fighters dead according to local police. There were no casualties among the troops.
April 29, 2008: One ISAF Soldier Killed
One ISAF solder was killed and a second was wounded while on patrol in the Tag Ab Valley.
April 3, 2008: IED Kills Civilian
One Afghan civilian died when the fuel truck he was driving struck an improvised explosive device and exploded. The truck was part of an ISAF convoy conducting a supply mission in the Manogai district.
April 20, 2008: Militant Rocket Kills Child
One child was killed and two others injured by a Taliban rocket attack near Asadbad. The rocket missed its target, a nearby U.S. military outpost, and struck a civilian home.
April 23, 2008: Taliban Kill Five Police
Afghan provincial police reported Taliban militants attacked a police border post, killing five officers and wounding seven others.
April 30, 2008: Czech Soldier Killed, Four Injured
A Czech soldier in the NATO force was killed and four other Czech soldiers on patrol were injured when their vehicle was bit by a bomb.
April 29, 2008: Eighteen Killed in Suicide Bombing
A suicide bomber killed eighteen people, including 11 policemen, in the Khogyani district center. Reportedly, insurgents first attacked international troops with small arms and as people fled, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
April 10, 2008: Marines Begin Operations in Support of ISAF
The last of the 2,300 soldiers of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are arriving and beginning operations in support of NATO’s ISAF. The first operation, The MEU’s role will the a Theater Tactical Force – a force that can be deployed rapidly wherever it’s needed by the ISAF commander to conduct missions ranging from humanitarian assistance to combat operations. The first operation launched on April 28, Azada Wosa (Be Free), has started in the Garmsir district of Helmand.
April 21, 2008: NATO Considers Railways through Central Asian States
As NATO’s airlift of supplies to Afghanistan becomes more expensive and routes via Pakistan increasingly more unstable, Robert Simmons, NATO’s special representative for the Caucuses and Central Asia visited Kazakhstan and reported receiving positive responses concerning a Europe-Afghan rail system. According to some estimates one ton of cargo airlifted from Europe to Afghanistan under existing bilateral agreements costs approximately € 9,000 [approximately $13,900]. In contrast, by rail it is only around € 200-300 [$309-463].
Herat Province: Outbreak of Liver Disease Hospitalizes 161
In Herat, as many as 10 people have died, and at least 161 were hospitalized, after contracting Gulran disease, a rare liver condition. The outbreak is believed to be caused by contaminated wheat, but a local toxic weed called charmak also contains the chemicals. The UN World Health Organization is investigating the cause of the outbreak.
April 19, 2008: Kidnapped Pakistani Ambassador Shown in Video
Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, who was abducted en route to Afghanistan from Pakistan two months ago, appeared on a video shown on Pakistani television. In the recording he called on his government to meet the demands of his captors, Pakistani Taliban militants. He states that he, his driver, and personal guard were all captured and were being treated well, and that the message was recorded on March 8. According to Pakistani government statements the kidnappers have demanded the release of a senior
Afghan Taliban figure.
April 21, 2008: World Food Program Employees Escape
Two Pakistani UN employees working for the World Food Program who had been kidnapped by road to Torkham were recovered by Pakistani security forces. One paramilitary soldier was killed and four were wounded during the gun battle in the Khyber tribal region. The two UN workers escaped the fight unharmed.
April 25, 2008: Car Bomb Kills Three
Three people died and 15 others were wounded when a car bomb exploded in Mardan in the North West Frontier Province. The car bomb was parked and detonated by a police station, destroying it, and damaging local businesses. Since the new government came to power at the end of March, Pakistan saw a brief respite from attacks. The attack comes a day after Betullah Mehsud, who is accused of being behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, reportedly called for his supporters to cease attacks while entering into negotiations with the new government – a move that concerns the U.S. government.
Author(s): Jessica Guiney
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