October 31, 2011

A Sad Day...

A Taliban suicide bomber in Kabul attacked an armored bus carrying American, international, and Afghan soldiers and contractors Saturday, killing at least 17 people including 13 Americans, the highest American casualties in an attack in Kabul since the war in Afghanistan began (NYT, BBC, WSJ, Tel, AJE, LAT, Globe and Mail, Guardian, Reuters). Officials indicated this weekend that the bombing may be linked to the insurgent Haqqani Network, which has stepped up the pace and proficiency of attacks on foreigners and prominent targets in Kabul (NYT, Reuters, AP, WSJ, Post). The Times reports that the Obama administration is now relying on Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to bring the Haqqanis to the negotiating table in Afghanistan, even while the former has increased its efforts to fight the group (NYT). And Afghan President Hamid Karzai angered many American officials on Sunday when he condemned the Kabul attack, but made no mention of American casualties (NYT).

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a suicide bombing and ensuing gun battle in Kandahar Monday killed four people and heavily damaged the United Nations High Commission on Refugees office in the city (AP, Guardian, AFP). Three Australian soldiers were killed Saturday when an Afghan National Army trainee opened fire on them before being shot dead (NYT, BBC, AP). And a female suicide bomber was shot and killed before she could detonate her explosives in the province of Kunar Saturday, while on Friday fighting broke out in Nangarhar province -- though reports differ as to whether the violence was an attack on a convoy of NATO and Afghan forces or a land dispute between the Shinwari tribe and the Afghan government that quickly escalated (NYT).

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