Scores of Afghans killed in violence across nation

Kandahar, Jun 6: Scores of Afghans were killed in Taliban bombings and other violence including a NATO airstrike on Wednesday, highlighting persistent instability across the country as foreign troops begin their drawdown more than a decade after the US-led invasion. The deadliest attack took place in the south-eastern city of Kandahar, where suicide bombers turned a dusty marketplace into a gruesome scene of body parts, clothing, glass and other debris.

The Taliban said the target was a company that supplies logistics to a massive military base used by the US-led coalition. Twenty-two civilians were killed and at least 50 were wounded there. In all, at least 45 Afghans died and at least 69 were wounded in six incidents across the nation where Afghan forces are increasingly taking charge of security so that foreign troops can go home or move into training and support roles. Two US pilots also were killed when their helicopter crashed in Ghazni province in the east, a senior US defence official said.

In the past two years, tens of thousands of US-led coalition troops have flooded Taliban strongholds in the south, and have largely succeeded in boosting security there. But the Taliban has proven resilient, continuing to conduct suicide attacks to create fear among the public, opening up new fronts in the north and west and stepping up attacks in the east. Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack in Kandahar, saying it proved the "enemy is getting weaker because they are killing innocent people." The coalition also denounced the killings and urged the Afghan people to support the government and the nation's developing security forces.


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