Afghanistan: US special forces must leave province

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm •  Published: February 24, 2013
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The U.S. statement said only that the announcement was "an important issue that we intend to fully discuss with our Afghan counterparts. But until we have had a chance to speak with senior Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan officials about this issue, we are not in a position to comment further."

The brazen assaults, which occurred within a three-hour timespan, were the latest to strike Afghan forces, who have suffered higher casualties this year as U.S. and other foreign troops gradually take a back seat and shift responsibility for security to the government.

The deadliest attack occurred just after sunrise — a suicide car bombing at the gate of the National Directorate of Security compound in Jalalabad, 125 kilometers (78 miles) east of Kabul.

Guards shot and killed the driver but he managed to detonate the explosives-packed vehicle, killing two intelligence agents and wounding three others, according to a statement by the intelligence agency. Provincial government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai confirmed the casualty toll and said the building was damaged in the attack.

A guard also shot and killed a man in an SUV filled with dynamite that was targeting an NDS building on a busy street in Kabul, not far from NATO headquarters. The explosives in the back of the vehicle were defused. Blood stained the driver's seat and the ground where security forces dragged out the would-be attacker.

Shortly before the Jalalabad attack, a suicide attacker detonated a minivan full of explosives at a police checkpoint in Pul-i-Alam on the main highway between Kabul and Logar province. One policeman was killed and two others were wounded, along with a bystander, according to the NDS.

Also in Logar province, which is due south of Kabul, a man wearing a suicide vest was stopped by police as he tried to force his way into the police headquarters for Baraki Barak district, said Din Mohammad Darwesh, the provincial government spokesman. The attacker detonated his vest while being searched, wounding one policeman, according to Darwesh and the NDS.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Jalalabad attack and two others in the eastern province of Logar in an email to reporters. He did not address the attempted assault in Kabul.

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Associated Press writers Heidi Vogt, Rahim Faiez and Kim Gamel contributed to this report.