Three killed, dozens wounded in Afghan ‘revenge’ attack

Updated 24 November 2012
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Three killed, dozens wounded in Afghan ‘revenge’ attack

GHAZNI, Afghanistan: A suicide car bomber killed three people and wounded dozens near a NATO-run training base yesterday, in an attack claimed by the Taleban as revenge for the execution of its militants.
Several NATO soldiers were lightly wounded, a spokesman for the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, without giving further details.
A police spokesman said the blast was near “a joint coordination office” for the Afghan army, police and NATO troops in Maidan Shar, the capital of Wardak province, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Kabul.
“From this center they go for military operations,” Abdul Wali told AFP.
The base is close to the provincial governor’s office and two of his bodyguards were among the dead, his spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP.
“We have three killed — two bodyguards of the governor and a 10-year-old girl. Ninety people were wounded, 75 men, 11 women and four children.”
Taleban insurgents claimed responsibility for the blast, saying it was to avenge the execution on Wednesday of four Taleban members on death row in Kabul.
The four executed Taleban members were among a total of 14 prisoners hanged over two days this week in rare mass executions.
The Taleban, who are leading an insurgency against the Western-backed government and 100,000 NATO troops, had warned there would be “heavy repercussions” for government officials if any of their militants were executed.
President Hamid Karzai approved the executions of the men who were sentenced to death “on charges of terror, conducting attacks, explosions and organizing suicide attacks”, the government said.
The executions were condemned by the European Union, the United Nations and human rights groups, with many pointing out that Afghanistan’s justice system is notoriously weak.
The Taleban described the hanged men as “prisoners of war” and had called on the UN and rights groups to prevent their deaths.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber on foot blew himself up near a NATO base in Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic district, killing two Afghan security guards and wounding two government officials.


Bolton, Mattis meet at Pentagon

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) talks with National Security Adviser John Bolton. (Reuters)
Updated 36 min 36 sec ago
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Bolton, Mattis meet at Pentagon

  • When Mattis first met Bolton at the Pentagon last month, the defense secretary jokingly said: “I’ve heard that you’re absolutely the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you.”
  • The two men decided to have “regular” meetings

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with John Bolton, the new national security adviser to President Donald Trump, at the Pentagon on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.
The breakfast meeting came amid US media reports that Mattis risks being isolated by Trump’s more bellicose coterie of advisers, including Bolton, an Iraq War-era hawk who has advocated for military action in both Iran and North Korea.
Bolton “was here this morning,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.
The two men decided to have “regular” meetings, she added, noting that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to run the State Department, could join them.
When Mattis first met Bolton at the Pentagon last month, the defense secretary jokingly said: “I’ve heard that you’re absolutely the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you.”
Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, is one of a dwindling pool of original Trump picks not to have drawn negative attention from his mercurial boss.
According to multiple reports, after a suspected chemical attack in Syria this month, he successfully pushed Trump to only taking limited action in response, while Bolton wanted a larger operation.
Mattis used to meet regularly with Rex Tillerson, who was fired last month from his position as secretary of state.
Pompeo is seen as being more hawkish than Mattis, further raising the possibility of the Pentagon chief’s influence waning.