Suicide bomber kills 12 in northern Afghanistan

A suicide bomber attacked foreign military forces in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people including three international troops, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on foreign troops filming interviews in a park in Maymana, the capital of Faryab province, as NATO's fatalities in the decade-long conflict passed the 100 mark for 2012.

NATO's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said only that three service members died after an explosion in northern Afghanistan, without giving nationalities. Western sources said that it was the same incident.

Video footage from the scene showed a number of foreign troops lying immobile on the ground in the aftermath of the blast, while blood-soaked civilian and military victims writhed in pain from savage wounds including severed limbs.

"A suicide bomber targeted a group of foreign friends," Faryab governor Abdul Haq Shafaq told AFP. "They were military. There are casualties, dead and wounded."

Faryab, which borders Turkmenistan, is far from centres of the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan's south and east, but it suffers sporadic attacks.

There were conflicting reports about the exact death toll and the identity of the victims after the suicide bomber, who police said was riding an explosives-packed motorcycle, blew himself up.

Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, police spokesman for northern Afghanistan, described the blast as "powerful" and put the death toll at 10. He said six civilians and four policemen were killed, with 20 people wounded, including four police.

"A suicide bomber with a suicide vest full of explosives and on a explosive-laden motorcycle targeted some foreign forces near a UN compound in Maymana," he said.

Most foreign troops in Faryab are Norwegian and Lieutenant Colonel John Espen Lien, a spokesman for Norway's armed forces, told AFP there were "at least 12 killed, but this number is not definitive".

No Norwegian ISAF personnel were nearby at the time, he added.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on the group's website, saying "at least 16 invaders and 12 puppets (Afghan government forces)" were killed. The Taliban routinely exaggerate their claims.

NATO has 130,000 soldiers helping Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government fight the Taliban, but is scheduled to hand responsibility for security across the country to Afghans and withdraw most of its troops by the end of 2014.

But relations between the allies have been strained this year by a series of killings of Western troops by Afghan security personnel, a massacre of 17 civilians blamed on a US soldier and the burning of Korans at a US base.

Night raids by special forces against insurgent hideouts have also triggered popular anger and long been a source of friction with Karzai, who has denounced the NATO operations as reckless.

But US officials said Tuesday Washington and Kabul were close to an agreement giving Afghans more authority over the raids, with Afghan judges issuing warrants for the operations and Afghans in the lead on the ground.

Such a deal could remove the last obstacle to final negotiations on a long-term security agreement, which US officials hope to ink in time for a NATO summit in May in Chicago.

The Faryab attack came as the number of NATO troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year passed 100, according to an AFP count based on the independent icasualties.org website.

The war has cost the West hundreds of billions of dollars and almost 3,000 lives so far. The United States has suffered the most deaths at 1,924, according to icasualties, with Britain next on 407.

ISAF declined to confirm the total figure for 2012 so far, but according to icasualties it is slightly lower than in 2011, when 109 troops had been killed by the end of March.

ISAF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings said that across Afghanistan, insurgent attacks fell by nine percent in 2011 and in January and February they were down 22 percent.

"Every month since May 2011, there have been fewer enemy-initiated attacks than in the same period the year before," he said. "This is the longest sustained downward trend recorded by ISAF."

In February, the United Nations said civilian deaths from the Afghan conflict reached a record high in 2011, when 3,021 civilians died -- mostly at the hands of insurgents -- up eight percent from 2,790 in 2010.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa signed and exchanged notes on Thursday for four of the projects amounting to 2.789 billion yen or around P1.195 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

  • It’s time to move on– Speaker
    It’s time to move on– Speaker

    The nation can now move on as President Aquino has satisfactorily explained his side on the Mamasapano incident for which he even begged for understanding, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. “It’s time to move on,” Belmonte said in reaction to Aquino’s pronouncements made before new police graduates at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the …

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options