Afghanistan Heats Up

If we had just done the scorched earth thing back in 2001….

Eight Taliban militants attacked three government buildings and a U.S. base in two eastern cities Tuesday in near-simultaneous attacks — a signature of major Taliban assaults. Eight insurgents and six Afghan security forces died.

Using homicide bombings, gunfire and rockets, the militants attacked the governor’s compound, the intelligence department and the police department in the eastern city of Gardez just before 11 a.m. (0630GMT; 2:30 a.m. EDT), officials said.

Tribal elders and government officials had just finished a meeting at the governor’s compound about security for the country’s Aug. 20 presidential election when gunfire broke out at the nearby intelligence department, said deputy Gov. Abdul Rahman Mangal.

A rocket fired into the intelligence department killed three officers, said Ghulam Dastagir, the province’s deputy police chief, while a homicide bombing in front of a police station killed two police. A rocket was also fired at the governor’s house, he said.

A total of four attackers were shot and killed at the police station and the governor’s compound, Dastagir said, including at least two bombers clothed in women’s burqas, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary.

“When I jumped up on the roof I saw two attackers. One was hiding under a burqa and was carrying a rocket propelled grenade,” said Wahidullah Bakshi, an Afghan soldier who responded to the attack.

Three militants, meanwhile, tried to attack a U.S. base in a second eastern city at nearly the same time.

U.S. and Afghan forces killed two of the assailants at the base near the city of Jalalabad, said Mohammad Ayub Salangi, the provincial police chief. U.S. military spokesman Lt. Robert Carr said a third attacker was captured.

……Analysts say al-Qaida fighters provide the training that help militants here to carry out such attacks.

……Taliban militants have stepped up attacks the last three years and now control wide swaths of countryside in the south and east. A record 68,000 U.S. troops will be in the country by fall as the Pentagon increases its focus on Afghanistan while drawing forces out of Iraq.,2933,534185,00.html

Now that the mission in Iraq is complete, Afghanistan is the next major focus because of the presence of the the remnents of Taliban and Al Qaeda, and its proximity to safe havens like Pakistan and Waziristan.

The smart thing to do: We should have MOABed every square inch of Afghanistan prior to the initial invasion, then sent in the Army to kill whatever was left breathing. But, I’m practical that way.

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