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article imageAfghanistan: Suicide bombers kill 18 in separate attacks

By Karl Gotthardt     Mar 9, 2013 in World
Kabul - Suicide bombers killed 18 people, including one police officer in two separate incidents, in Afghanistan on Saturday morning. One blast was near the Defense Ministry in Kabul and the other in Khost province.The bombings coincide with Chuck Hagel's visit.
The vulnerability of Afghanistan was highlighted once again as a suicide bomber on a bicycle was able to penetrate security and blow himself up near the Afghan defense ministry. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrived on an unannounced visit Friday night to get a first hand look at the war in Afghanistan and to hold discussions with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The attack in Kabul killed at least nine people, while another 14 were injured. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the Guardian, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the attack was aimed to prevent Chuck Hagel to claim that the Taliban are weak and use the occasion to announce fake achievements of the coalition forces.
The second attack came about half an hour later in Khost province. The attacks was at a police checkpoint, where one policeman and eight civilians, mostly children were killed. The police officer died after he tried to stop the suicide bomber.
One of our brave police officers hugged the suicide bomber and asked him not to blow himself up, but the bomber blew himself up anyway and our brave police officer was torn to pieces,” said Yaqub Mandozia, deputy police chief of Khost Province.
According to the New York Times,
20 journalists had gathered at the exact location of the Defense Ministry blast, just three hours earlier. Most of the people killed an injured were civilians visiting the ministry..
The Montreal Gazette reports that Hagel was in a briefing at a U.S.-led military coalition facility in another part of the city when the explosion occurred. The briefing continued without interruption. Hagel later flew to Bagram Airbase, a large US base.
NATO has nearly 100,000 troops left in Afghanistan, of which 66,000 are American. Currently NATO is in a transition phase to hand over responsibility to Afghan security forces. The country is vulnerable to terrorist attacks and although NATO intends to withdraw its troops by the end of next year, a residual NATO force is being negotiated with Afghans.
More about Afghanistan, Terrorism, security of Afghanistan, Afghan Security Forces, Kabul
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