Police in Afghanistan are said to have killed a group of suicide
bombers on Saturday just when they were about to hit targets in an
eastern city bordering Pakistan. Four people, including two policemen
are reported wounded. The stepped violence comes ahead of next month's
presidential election in Afghanistan. But U.S special envoy for
Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, says the Taliban
insurgency should not discourage anyone from taking part in the poll.
and officials say that a group of seven suicide bombers was involved in
the simultaneous attacks on police headquarters and other targets in
the eastern city of Khost.
Interior Ministry spokesman Zamary
Bashary tells VOA the attackers were also carrying automatic weapons.
However, he says, an active Afghan police force was able to prevent the
militants from causing serious damage.
"Police of Khost province
were able to identify and kill all these seven bombers prior to their
arrival to their targets, which shows a change in the capacity of the
Afghan national police and a growing capacity in their understanding
and in their ability," he said.
Less than a week ago, 13
suspected suicide bombers tried to carry out near simultaneous assaults
on government buildings in three neighboring Afghan provinces -
Nangarhar, Nimroz and Paktia. But police killed most of them just
before the militants tried to blow themselves up. At least eight
people, mostly security personnel, were killed in those attacks.
Ministry spokesman Bashary says that militants seem to have changed
their tactics in recent days but he says that killing of 20 suicide
bombers in less than a week shows the strength and skills of the Afghan
national police are also growing.
In recent months, Taliban
insurgents have stepped up attacks in Afghanistan. In addition to
killing dozens of civilians the violence has left at least 66
international troops dead in July, making it the bloodiest month of the
nearly eight-year U.S-led anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan.
increased violence comes as thousands of U.S Marines and coalition
forces engage in major anti-insurgency operations in southern Afghan
provinces, including Helmand, where Taliban fighters have their
strongholds. The offensive is part of an effort to improve security in
southern Afghanistan ahead of the presidential election on August 20.
militant attacks came as visiting U.S special envoy for Pakistan and
Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, discussed election preparations in
Kabul with local authorities and commanders of the U.S-led
Speaking to reporters in the Afghan
capital Saturday, Mr. Holbrooke acknowledged that the Afghan election
faces "unprecedented and complex challenges. But he hoped poor security
will not discourage voters to take part in the poll.
you want the Afghan people to do? To abandon the election because of
some threats from a small minority of Taliban? Impossible. So you hold
the best election you can under the circumstances. It is not going to
be perfect." he said. "But nobody's going to back down in the face of
this intimidation and 41 candidates including two women millions of new
registered [voters]. That tells a lot about what the people of
Holbrooke said that the United States and
coalition forces have devised a strategy to help the Afghan authorities
ensure the presidential election is safe and secure. He reiterated that
the United States does not support or oppose any candidate in the
Afghan election and is only supporting democracy in Afghanistan.