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Booby-trapped bomb kills four coalition soldiers in Afghanistan

  • Article by: TAIMOOR SHAH and ROD NORDLAND
  • New York Times
  • October 6, 2013 - 9:36 PM

 

– Four coalition soldiers were killed Sunday in southern Afghanistan, the U.S.-led international military force said, in the coalition’s worst loss of life in a single episode since June.

The attack took place in the Zhari district, in Kandahar province.

The International Security Assistance Force said in a statement that the four soldiers were killed “by enemy forces during a partnered operation.” It gave no further details.

The coalition did not identify the nationality of the victims pending notification of their next of kin, but nearly all coalition soldiers in Zhari are Americans.

Jamal Agha, district governor of Zhari, said the deaths occurred in a fight between insurgents and a joint operation involving coalition and Afghan commandos. A booby-trapped bomb set off an explosion.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the insurgents had placed a bomb in a house and detonated it when the coalition ­soldiers entered. When the soldiers’ comrades came to their aid, a suicide bomber hiding elsewhere in the house detonated his explosives.

The last time as many as four coalition soldiers were killed was on June 18, when insurgents launched a rocket attack on Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul. The soldiers killed in that attack were all Americans.

In a separate episode Saturday, a service member was shot dead “when an alleged contracted security guard shot the service member,” the coalition said.

Afghan officials said that attack took place at Forward Operating Base Apache in Qalat in southern Afghanistan. According to Afghan officials, a private Afghan security guard had a dispute with a U.S. soldier and killed him. Other soldiers then killed the attacker, he said.

Casualties among coalition forces have dropped sharply this year, as Afghan security forces have taken over most of the fighting and the number of foreign troops has decreased. Partnered operations like the one on Sunday have become relatively rare, except among Special Operations troops. U.S. and other coalition advisers often accompany Afghan units in the field as well.

According to the independent monitoring group iCasualties.org, 136 coalition soldiers have been killed this year, 106 of them Americans.

U.S.-Afghan talks stall

Negotiations to determine the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan after 2014 have stalled over U.S. demands to conduct lethal counterterrorism operations and Afghan insistence that Washington guarantee support in event of cross-border attacks.

President Hamid Karzai is balking at U.S. demands that U.S. special operations troops and the CIA be allowed to capture or even kill suspected terrorists after most U.S. troops leave at the end of next year, according to officials familiar with the negotiations.

The U.S. team, in turn, is refusing to include written promises to come to Afghanistan’s aid if it is attacked by militants from neighboring Pakistan or elsewhere after the withdrawal. A U.S. defense commitment could require congressional approval.

 

McClatchy contributed to this report

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