Four NATO troops and six Afghan intelligence officers killed in bloody Taliban attacks

Four NATO troops and six Afghan intelligence officers killed in bloody Taliban attacks
# 13 January 2011 02:12 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Four Nato troops were killed in two roadside bombings in Afghanistan today, bringing to 15 the number of international troops killed this year already, APA reports quoting “Mail Online”.
Three of them died in an attack in eastern Afghanistan and the other was killed in the south of the country.
Elsewhere in the country, six members of the Afghan intelligence services were also assassinated in two separate attacks that left 30 wounded.
The violence follows a surprise visit to Kabul a day earlier by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who had praised coalition advances made against the insurgency while noting that the gains were ’fragile and reversible.’
He sough to dispel what he called common ’anti-American misperceptions’ at a news conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani while urging the government to fight growing religious extremism.
The U.S. is trying to put further pressure on Pakistan to take on Islamist militants who have taken refuge in Pakistani border sanctuaries from where they attack Western forces in Afghanistan.
Biden also paid tribute to the assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer, saying the United States was ’saddened by cold-blooded murder of a decent, brave man.’
’The governor was killed simply because he was a voice of tolerance and understanding,’ he said.
’As you know all too well... societies that tolerate such actions end up being consumed by those actions.’
Biden also telephoned his widow, Amna, to express his condolences on behalf of the president and the American people.
We know that there are those -- I am not talking about leadership, I am talking about the public discourse -- that in America’s fight against al Qaeda, we’ve imposed a war upon Pakistan,’ Biden said.
’They (al Qaeda) continue to plot attacks against the United States and our interests to this very day,’ he said. ’They have found refuge in the most remote portions of your country.’
But Biden also expressed American support for Pakistan in the form of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Law, which provides $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years.
’A close partnership with Pakistan and its people is in the vital self-interest of the United States of America,’ he said. ’And... in the vital self-interest of Pakistan as well.’
But almost as he was speaking, a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself in Kabul next to a minibus carrying intelligence service employees to work.
Four people were killed in that attack and 32 wounded, President Hamid Karzai’s office said.
About an hour later in the troubled eastern province of Kunar, a remote-controlled roadside bomb killed an intelligence service colonel and his driver, and wounded two bodyguards, said Abdul Saboor Allahyar, deputy chief of Kunar’s provincial police.
It has not emerged yet which country the dead NATO troops are from but it undermined the previous day’s suggestions that the 30,000 extra troops drafted into the country last year were putting pressure on the insurgents.
An extra contingent of 1,400 U.S. Marines are to be deployed in the coming months in the southern province of Helmand, which along with neighboring Kandahar have seen some of the fiercest fighting.
NATO says its campaign so far has had a significant impact. The alliance’s spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, said that ’thousands of insurgent leaders have been killed or captured and several thousand fighters have been taken off the battlefield’ in the past year.