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Kabul Police Investigate Attack that Killed Norwegian Peacekeeper - 2004-05-24

Police in Afghanistan are investigating a rocket attack that killed a Norwegian peacekeeper late Sunday outside the capital, Kabul.

The commander of the international peacekeeping force charged with security in the capital says the attack occurred as a four-vehicle Norwegian convoy was driving back from patrol.

Canadian Lieutenant General Rick Hillier said the attackers appear to have used rocket-propelled grenades, and that the firing point has already been discovered along with some discarded weapons.

The strike also wounded another Norwegian soldier, but General Hillier says those injuries were minor and the soldier in question has returned to duty.

He says Kabul police are investigating the incident, along with a second series of explosions, still unexplained, which occurred later at the scene.

General Hillier adds that the attack will not affect the work of the peacekeeping force, and will strengthen its resolve.

"It makes us realize again that Afghanistan is sometimes a dangerous place," he said. "A tiny minority of people, for their own purposes, want to prevent the continued increase in stability and security and those murderers want to return to death and destruction."

Norwegian forces make up 200 of the more than 6,000 peacekeepers deployed in the capital, as well as in the northern city of Kunduz.

There are plans to expand the peacekeeping presence to other cities throughout Afghanistan.

Most of the country's security is provided by U.S. forces and the newly-formed Afghan National Army.

Sunday's incident and other recent attacks have been blamed on Afghanistan's ongoing anti-government insurgency, led by remnants of the country's former Taleban regime, who do not recognize the current Afghan government.