The Afghan army said it had killed more than fifty insurgents in
the past 48 hours. On Saturday, Taliban gunmen on motorbikes killed
a dozen workers deactivating land mines near the former British base
of Camp Bastion. In Kabul, more gunmen shot dead senior Supreme
Court official Atiqullah Raoufi.
"As Atiqullah Raoufi was leaving his house, gunmen opened fire and
shot him dead," Hashmat Stanekzai, a spokesman for Kabul's police
chief, told Reuters, adding that no one had been detained.
The Taliban, ousted from power by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001,
claimed responsibility, but did not say why it had killed him. The
hardline Islamist insurgents run their own courts in parts of the
country and consider the official judiciary to be corrupt.
Heavily fortified Kabul has seen multiple attacks in recent weeks,
including a suicide bomb that killed a German citizen in a French
cultural center during a performance of a play that denounced
Another blast was heard in western Kabul on Saturday afternoon.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Fatalities and injuries among Afghan security forces and civilians
peaked this year to the highest point since the U.S.-led war began
in 2001, as foreign forces rapidly withdrew most of their troops
from the interior of mountainous nation.
About 5,000 Afghan police and soldiers have been killed, and more
than 1,500 civilians. A rump of about 13,000 foreign soldiers will
remain in Afghanistan next year, down from a peak of more than
Fighting has extended long beyond the traditional summer season,
with the Afghan government also inflicting heavy casualties on the
Taliban. The army and police say they killed more than 50 militants
nationwide in the past 48 hours.
The Taliban have been fighting a guerrilla war ever since their
5-year regime was toppled. They now have a strong presence in most
of the provinces surrounding Kabul.
[to top of second column]
Just outside the city and close to the U.S.-run Bagram airfield, the
Taliban detonated a roadside bomb on Friday night, hitting a convoy
of foreign troops and killing two soldiers.
The blast left a 3 meter (10 feet)-long blackened fissure in the
road, a Reuters witness said. Helicopters buzzed overhead on
"Two International Security Assistance Force service members died as
a result of an enemy forces attack in eastern Afghanistan on Dec.
12, 2014," a coalition press release said on Saturday.
The Bagram attack came two days after the United States closed a
prison that held foreign detainees on the airfield, which is in
Parwan province, the only province adjacent to the capital that is
usually relatively peaceful.
It also followed a NATO air strike on Thursday that killed five
people in the same province. Afghan officials said the casualties
were civilians. The coalition said it was investigating the
allegations, but that they were identified from the air as militants
before the "precision" strike.
(Additional reporting by Jessica Donati in Bagram and Mohammad
Stanekzai in Lashkar Gah; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by
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