Suicide bombers target Afghan security forces

Updated 24 February 2013
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Suicide bombers target Afghan security forces

KABUL: Suicide bombers targeted Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and other security forces in four coordinated attacks in the heart of Kabul and outlying areas yesterday, officials said, a bloody reminder of the insurgency’s reach nearly 12 years into the war.
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 US 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 km 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. Regional government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai confirmed the casualty toll and said the building was damaged in the attack.
Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the bombing.
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 Puli 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 the Baraki Barak district, said Din Mohammad Darwesh, the provincial government spokesman.
He detonated his vest while being searched, wounding one policeman, according to Darwesh and the NDS.
“Once again the enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan ... staged coordinated attacks against the Afghan security forces and the Afghan people,” the intelligence agency said.
The attacks were a reminder that insurgents are still on the offensive even as US and other international forces prepare to end their combat mission by the end of 2014.
Afghan soldiers and police are easier targets than their NATO allies because their checkpoints and bases are less fortified.
More than 1,200 Afghan soldiers were killed in 2012 compared to more than 550 the previous year, according to data compiled by the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
US troop deaths, meanwhile, declined overall from 404 in 2011 to 295 in 2012.


86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

Updated 37 min 25 sec ago
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86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

  • Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009
  • The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades

JOS, Nigeria: Eighty-six people have been killed in an attack by suspected nomadic herders against farming communities in restive central Nigeria, police said on Sunday.
The discovery in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state came after days of violence apparently sparked by an attack by ethnic Berom farmers on Fulani herders on Thursday.
State police commissioner Undie Adie said a search of Berom villages in the area following clashes on Saturday found “86 persons altogether were killed.”
Adie told reporters six people were also injured and 50 houses razed. Bodies of those who died have been released to their families, he added.
The deaths are the latest in a long-running battle for land and resources that is putting President Muhammadu Buhari under pressure as elections approach next year.
The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades.
Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009.
The Plateau state government said it had imposed restrictions on movements in the Riyom, Barikin Ladi and Jos South areas “to avert a breakdown of law and order.”
“The curfew takes effect immediately... and movement is restricted from 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) to 6:00 am, except (for) those on essential duties,” said spokesman Rufus Bature.
On Sunday, ethnic Berom youths set up barricades on the Jos-Abuja highway and attacked motorists who looked “Fulani and Muslim,” according to those who escaped the violence.
Plateau state police spokesman Tyopev Terna and Major Adam Umar, from the military taskforce in the state capital, Jos, confirmed the blockade and vandalism to several cars.
There were no official reports of deaths but Baba Bala, who escaped the violence on the road, said at least six people were killed.
“I was lucky the convoy of the (Plateau) state government was passing through the scene of the attack shortly after I ran into the attackers,” he said.
“I escaped with smashed windscreens and dents on my car. I saw six dead bodies and several damaged cars.”