At Least 10 Killed In Kabul Attacks
May 02, 2012
At least 10 people, including three attackers, have been killed in Kabul in an attack by Taliban militants, shortly after a surprise visit to Afghanistan by U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Taliban said the attack on May 2 was launched in response to Obama's trip to the country.
In the attack, officials said gunmen dressed in burqas assaulted the high-security "Green Village," a guesthouse used by international organizations, after detonating a suicide car bomb at the gates of the compound.
Two security guards and five Afghan civilians were killed in the blast and gunfight. A further 17 Afghans, mostly students, were injured.
Afghan forces said they killed two attackers, while a third killed himself when he blew up his explosives-filled vest.
During his visit, which lasted approximately six hours, Obama signed a U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement with President Hamid Karzai, which sets out a road map for bilateral ties for the next decade.
Obama's visit also coincided with the first anniversary of the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in neighboring Pakistan.
The attack on May 2 came on the same day that the Taliban announced that the militants would a "spring offensive" across Afghanistan on May 3.
A statement on the Taliban website said the primary targets of the offensive, code-named Al-Farouq, would be "foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors, and all those who help them militarily and in intelligence."
NATO-led international forces used the attack as an opportunity to highlight the role of Afghan forces, who officials hope will assume a stronger security role as the end of the 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of foreign combat troops approaches.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force praised what it described as "another noteworthy performance by Afghan Security Forces for taking the lead in putting down another desperate attack by insurgents."
In a live address from Bagram Air Field on May 1, broadcast during America's prime evening viewing hours, Obama attempted to answer questions about the future of Washington's engagement in the Afghan war.
Obama maintained that important progress was being made against the Taliban and that it was now realistic to anticipate the defeat of the Al-Qaeda network, which is held responsible for the September 11, 2001 hijacked airliner attacks in the U.S. that killed nearly 3,000 people.
"We broke the Taliban’s momentum," he said. "We've built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated Al-Qaeda’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
"The goal that I set -- to defeat Al-Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild -- is now within our reach."
The U.S. and Afghanistan strategic pact will run until 2024, and includes measures to tackle the insurgency and to rebuild Afghanistan.
Obama called it the start of "new chapter."
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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