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Petraeus Arrives in Afghanistan as Taliban Attack Kills 5


U.S. General David Petraeus arrived in Kabul Friday to take command of the 140,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The newly appointed head of forces landed in the Afghan capital just one day after his appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and NATO's senior representative to the country, Mark Sedwill.

Hours earlier, Taliban suicide bombers launched a daring raid on the compound of a USAID contractor in the northern city of Kunduz, killing five people and wounding at least 24 others.

One bomber blew up his vehicle at the entrance of the building to allow five others to storm the offices of Development Alternatives Incorporated.

All of the attackers were killed in a fierce gunbattle with Afghan security forces. The victims included two Afghans and three foreign workers. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and said it was the work of those wanting to impede reconstruction in Afghanistan.

The U.S. embassy called it "cowardice" and said the attack was a reminder of the life-threatening circumstances that Afghan and international partners face to improve conditions in the country.

In other violence Friday, two NATO service members were killed in separate attacks in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

At least one Afghan civilian died and several others were wounded in a suicide car bombing near the southern city of Kandahar.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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