Afghan President, ISAF Chief Condemn Insurgent Attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 9, 2011 — A road­side explo­sion killed at least 10 peo­ple in north­west­ern Afghanistan’s Badghis province yes­ter­day, mark­ing the third day in a row dur­ing the Eid ul Adha hol­i­day in which sus­pect­ed Tal­iban insur­gents have injured or killed inno­cent civil­ians, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, com­man­der of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force, joined Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai in con­demn­ing this lat­est attack.

“These explo­sives plant­ed by insur­gents again tar­get­ed civil­ians, includ­ing chil­dren,” Allen said. “Their bar­bar­ic tac­tics have no place in soci­ety, and these ene­mies of peace will be held to account for killing and maim­ing the inno­cent chil­dren of this nation.”

Accord­ing to the Afghan Inte­ri­or Min­istry, two police­men were killed in the Qadis dis­trict after their vehi­cle hit a mine plant­ed by sus­pect­ed Tal­iban insur­gents. Nine civil­ians also were killed in the attack, includ­ing six chil­dren and two women, all from the same fam­i­ly. Two oth­er police­men and anoth­er child were wound­ed in the explo­sion.

“These repeat­ed attacks by alleged Tal­iban fight­ers are puz­zling, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing one of the holi­est cel­e­bra­tions of the year,” the gen­er­al said. “The bru­tal nature of these Tal­iban activ­i­ties demon­strates no regard for the lives and wealth of ordi­nary peo­ple.”

Anoth­er attack came on Nov. 7 near Pul-e Khum­ri at the office of Mul­lah Allam, a mem­ber of the Loya Jir­ga. A sus­pect­ed Tal­iban sui­cide bomber det­o­nat­ed his bomb, killing him­self and injur­ing six Afghan secu­ri­ty force mem­bers.

On Nov. 6, sev­en civil­ians were killed and 17 oth­ers were wound­ed dur­ing a Tal­iban sui­cide attack at a mosque in the Jirqish­laq Hasan Tal area of Bagh­lan province.

Afghan and ISAF forces have made sig­nif­i­cant progress in defeat­ing insur­gent net­works in recent months, offi­cials said. Com­bined forces have tak­en back key Tal­iban ter­ri­to­ry across Afghanistan, and are con­tin­u­ing to hold it, allow­ing secu­ri­ty to con­tin­ue to improve.

“We have reli­able infor­ma­tion show­ing that large num­bers of Tal­iban and insur­gent lead­ers are choos­ing to phone in their oper­a­tional orders from Pak­istan, aban­don­ing their own foot sol­diers, who are left behind to con­duct the fight­ing,” Allen said. “The lead­ers have fled, forced out by the over­whelm­ing abil­i­ty of Afghan and coali­tion forces. Per­haps these Eid hol­i­day attacks on civil­ians are a sign of just how inef­fec­tive and unre­li­able their ‘absent leader strat­e­gy’ can be.”

Com­bined Afghan and coali­tion forces are to con­tin­ue a vari­ety of oper­a­tions in the com­ing months to fur­ther degrade insur­gent net­works and cre­ate last­ing peace, offi­cials said.

“Every sin­gle Tal­iban and insur­gent fight­er should take a moment to reflect on just what is at stake, and whether the fight against peace is still worth it,” Allen said. “If they … lack lead­er­ship and direc­tion from those who cyn­i­cal­ly com­mand them to their deaths from the safe­ty of for­eign lands, these may be signs that there is anoth­er path — a path toward peace.

“For any insur­gent fight­er who believes they have had enough of vio­lence,” the gen­er­al con­tin­ued, “we encour­age them to seek out a local rein­te­gra­tion cen­ter, and their vil­lage and dis­trict elders to become a pos­i­tive, con­tribut­ing mem­ber of Afghanistan’s future.”

From an Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Release