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