Afghan mayor among 35 killed in latest violence
An Afghan provincial mayor was killed in a roadside bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan, while 34 suspected Taliban militants were killed in separate clashes and blasts elsewhere in the country, officials said Tuesday.
A remote-controlled roadside bomb was detonated in the outskirts of Khost city, the capital for the province of the same name, on Tuesday afternoon when the provincial mayor was on his way home, Hamidullah Qalandarzai, the provincial governor said.
"Khost city's mayor, Amirullah Sakhi, was killed when the enemies of Afghanistan detonated a remote-controlled mine under his vehicle," Qalandarzai told the German Press Agency dpa.
Qalandarzai added that Sakhi's driver and bodyguard were wounded, along with three civilians who were passing by at the time of the blast.
"The attack was a desperate act of the enemies, who can't stand against the Afghan forces and our international military allies in conventional war," he said.
Meanwhile, Afghan police forces killed 30 Taliban militants and wounded 17 others in an operation in southern Uruzgan province, the Afghan Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The operation started on Monday and continued until Tuesday morning, the statement said, adding that several rifles and ammunition were seized by the Afghan forces.
Four policemen were also wounded, Mohammad Gulab Wardak, the deputy provincial police chief said. He added that Mullah Yaqoub, a rebel commander, was also among the dead militants.
Another roadside bomb hit a coalition vehicle in Sabari district, also in Khost province, on Tuesday. But it caused no casualties, Qalandarzai said.
Three militants were killed and two others were wounded when the bomb they were trying to plant in Yaqoubi district of Khost, detonated prematurely on Monday, he said.
The US-led coalition forces also claimed in a statement that their forces killed one militant and detained 12 others in an operation in Besmil district of Khost province on Tuesday.
Khost lies on the border with neighbouring Pakistan, from where Taliban forces often cross the border and attack Afghan and international forces in the province.
Afghan and NATO military officials claim that the militants have rear bases inside the tribal areas of Pakistan, where they get training and equipment before joining the insurgency in Afghanistan.
The Taliban government was ousted in a US-led invasion in late 2001, and since then they have waged a bloody insurgency against the Western-backed Kabul government and some 70,000 international troops in Afghanistan.
The US government has announced the deployment of 17,000 extra combat troops and 4,000 military trainers and advisors for this year.
But analysts believe that new forces will not bring any remarkable changes in the course war in the country, because the militants often avoid direct confrontation with military forces and instead rely heavily on use of suicide and roadside attacks in their fight.
The militant group were responsible for nearly 2,000 roadside bombings and more than 120 suicide attacks last year.