Militants Attacks Indian Camp In Afghanistan

Militants Attacks Indian Camp In Afghanistan

KABUL: Militants launched a pre-dawn attack on an Indian road construction camp in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, burning vehicles and equipment and sending the crew fleeing, authorities said.

No deaths or injuries were reported in the attack in Khost province’s Domanda district, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Suspected Taliban, who are active in the mountainous eastern region bordering Pakistan, descended on the camp around 2 a.m.

Such raids seek to discourage foreign involvement in Afghanistan and destabilize the central government, which is struggling to bring development to the impoverished countryside and extend its mandate outside the capital, Kabul.

It wasn’t clear whether the camp was targeted due to Indian involvement, although militants have launched a number of bloody attacks on Indian interests in Afghanistan over recent years.

In July 2008, 58 people were killed in a suicide car bombing on the Indian embassy in Kabul, while at least six Indians were killed in an attack on a Kabul guesthouse in February. Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the attacks, although New Delhi has claimed arch-rival Pakistan may have provided support in the embassy attack.

Elsewhere, two members of a nomadic tribe were killed by a roadside bomb Friday in the southern province of Kandahar, the ministry said. No details were given.

Following a rancorous week, US and Afghan officials have recommitted to their relationship, with President Barack Obama saying in an interview published Friday that Karzai remains “a critical partner” in the fight against terrorism.

That followed Karzai’s recent stern assertions of Afghan sovereignty and accusations that the United Nations and the international community interfered in last year’s fraud-tarnished presidential election in Afghanistan.

The White House called the comments disturbing and had suggested it might cancel Karzai’s planned visit to the White House in May if they continued. However, National Security Adviser James Jones told reporters Friday that the sides had ”gotten through this period.”

Jones said that Obama wrote and had delivered a thank-you note to Karzai for hosting him on short notice during the US president’s trip to Afghanistan on March 28. The note did not mention the recent controversies.

Also Saturday, Nato said it still had no information on what caused the crash of a U.S. Air Force Osprey in which three service members and a civilian contractor were killed. It was the first crash of the costly tilt-rotor aircraft in a combat zone, the US military said.

Numerous other service members were reported injured when the aircraft went down late Thursday seven miles (11 kilometers) from Qalat, the capital of Zabul province about 200 miles (300 kilometers) southwest of Kabul.

A Taliban spokesman said militants shot down the aircraft, but the insurgents often make exaggerated claims. – AP

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