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article imageTaliban spring offensive targets Afghan Security and NATO forces

By Karl Gotthardt     May 18, 2013 in Politics
Kabul - After a relatively calm start this year, which saw few NATO and US casualties, the Taliban have started their spring offensive, targeting NATO and Afghan Security Forces. The past week has been particularly bloody with a car bomb attack in Kabul.
Digital Journal reported on Thursday that a suicide car bomb killed at least 15, including six Americans, four of which were civilian contractors, along with two US soldiers. The attack occurred at 8 am local time, when the streets of Kabul are busy with morning commuters.
Dyn Corp., a security firm confirmed that four of its employees were killed and were Americans. Nine Afghans civilians, including two children were also killed.
The Indian Express reports another targeted attack Friday, when a police chief was assassinated in front of his house by motorcycle riding gunmen. The police chief, Abdul Ghani, was leaving his driveway in his car when the two motorcyclists drove up and opened fire. The incident occurred in Farah province.
According to a spokesman the police chief, who had recently launched a crackdown against insurgents that killed and captured several Taliban leaders was targeted by the Taliban.
Because he was an active commander in this district, he was a target of the Taliban," he said. In the same province this morning, four Afghan army soldiers died in Bakwa district when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Targeting Afghan security forces and government officials is an official strategy of the Taliban in order to weaken the central government of Hamid Karzai. The strategy has been somewhat successful since the Taliban spring offensive has been launched.
Ten US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this week, including two in the Kabul convoy attack, three by a suicide bomber in Hellmand province, an IED casualty in Kandahar province and three more due to IEDs in Sanjaray Zhari District. One soldier died due to an undisclosed illness.
In the meantime the transition to hand over responsibility continues, while the Afghan and the US officials continue their difficult negotiations on the Afghan security pact. The pact was signed a year ago in Chicago by President Obama and Hamid Karzai. The meetings are designed to hammer out the details. While the agreement covers broad guidelines of commitments by Washington and Kabul post 2014 NATO and US withdrawal, the deal can be scuttled with one year's notice by either side.
Some of the sticking points are the amount of funding the US will provide for Afghan Security forces and the two sides are still trying to get agreement on a residual US force and immunity from prosecution under Afghan law.
Afghanistan will vote for a new president in 2014 and the pact emphasizes a free, fair and transparent election. Hamid Karzai, whose election was marred by allegations of corruption, vote tampering and election fraud, has been relentless in his criticism of US involvement in the political process. He is alleging that Washington is secretly strengthening his political opposition, which is denied by the US.
Karzai's election in 2009 was marred by widespread allegations of corruption, vote tampering and election fraud. He denied the charges but the acrimonious aftermath tainted his relationship with the West, which was the most vocal of his critics.
The pact emphasizes a free, fair and transparent election in 2014. Karzai however has been relentless in his criticism of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan's political process, alleging Washington was maneuvering secretly to strengthen his political opposition even though he cannot run for a third term.
Ahead of next year's withdrawal the UK Defence Secretary has announced that tour lengths of British troops will be increased from six to nine months to facilitate the withdrawal, The announcement is featured in this weeks' video.
The US and NATO have a vested interest in how Afghanistan is governed, after all billions of dollars have been poured into the eleven year war and they want a return for their investment. Unfortunately more than 2,000 US troops have been killed in this conflict and more than 18,000 have permanent visible scars, while others have mental scars. The cost of the war has been high and there is word of more casualties each day. Lest We Forget.
Roll of casualties casualties
Below are this week’s updated DOD casualty figures:
Op Enduring Freedom Total Deaths KIA Non Hostile WIA
Afghanistan Only------------2086--------1726-----354------18535
Other Locations---------------124------------11-----113
Pending-----6
DOD Civ Casualties-------------3-------- ----1---------2
Worldwide Total--------------2213--------1738------469---- -18535
Accumulated 2013 Casualties:
KIA Non Combat Deaths WIA
35------------27-------------------1364
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