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Taliban claims responsibility for Kabul bombings

RIA Novosti

06/12/2007 16:49 KABUL, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Taliban movement has claimed responsibility for two recent suicide bomb attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, radio Azadi said on Thursday.

It quoted Taliban spokesman Kari Ahmadi as saying that "the terrorist attacks in the Afghan capital were aimed at demonstrating the U.S.'s inability to control the situation in Afghanistan, as well as the complete failure by foreign troops to ensure security."

A suicide bomber rammed his car filled with explosives into a bus carrying Afghan military personnel in Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding 20 soldiers and civilians.

He denied earlier reports, saying that the bomb attack in the Chihulsutoon area south of Kabul had in fact killed 42 servicemen from the Afghan National Army.

On Tuesday a similar attack on a NATO convoy heading from Kabul airport to the U.S. Embassy wounded at least 20 civilians.

According to the Associated Press, Taliban militants launched more than 133 suicide attacks in 2007 and at least 6,200 people have died in insurgency-related violence in Afghanistan since the beginning of the year.

The joint command of the coalition force in Afghanistan announced earlier on Thursday the start of a large-scale military operation against Taliban insurgents in the south of the country.

The coalition force comprises NATO troops, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan sanctioned by the UN Security Council in December 2001, and the Armed Forces of Afghanistan.

A coalition spokesman said the operation will begin on Thursday in the Helmand province. Residents of neighboring villages have been ordered to leave their homes to avoid civilian casualties. More than 7,000 villagers have already left the area.

Meanwhile, "routine" operations against Taliban units are ongoing in Helmand. According to the Afghan Defense Ministry, on Wednesday a convoy carrying weapons and ammunition to insurgents was stopped in the Garmsir area.

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