Militants killed seven in Iraq on deadliest day for the US in eight months

 

Militants killed six Americans, including a young female diplomat, and an Afghan doctor in a pair of attacks in Afghanistan yesterday in the deadliest day for the US in the war in eight months.

The violence - hours after the US military's top officer arrived for talks with Afghan and US-led coalition officials - shows the instability plaguing the nation as foreign forces work to pull nearly all their combat troops out of the country by the end of 2014.

The attacks came just days after insurgents stormed a courthouse, killing more than 46 people in one of the most violent attacks of the war, now in its 12th year.

The three US service members, two US civilians and the doctor were killed when the group was struck by an explosion while travelling to donate books to students in a school in the south, officials and the State Department said.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the Americans included a Department of Defence civilian and a foreign service officer.

"She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future," he Kerry said.

"We also honour the US troops and Department of Defence civilian who lost their lives, and the Afghan civilians who were killed today as they worked to improve the nation they love."

Officials said the explosion occurred just as a coalition convoy drove past a caravan of vehicles carrying the governor of Zabul province to the same event.

Another American civilian was killed in a separate insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, the US military said.

It was the deadliest day for Americans since August 16, when seven American service members were killed in two attacks in Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban insurgency.

Six were killed when their helicopter was shot down by insurgents and one soldier died in a roadside bomb explosion.

The latest attacks occurred just hours after US General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, landed in Afghanistan for a visit to assess the level of training that American troops can provide to Afghan security forces after international combat forces complete their withdrawal.

Several other Americans and Afghans, possibly as many as nine, were wounded. The State Department said four of their staff were wounded, one critically.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack in Zabul and said the bomber was seeking to target either a coalition convoy or the governor.

"We were waiting for one of them," he said. "It was our good luck that both appeared at the same time."

The deaths bring the number of foreign military troops killed this year to 30, including 22 Americans. A total of six foreign civilians have died in Afghanistan so far this year.

Insurgents have stepped up attacks around the country in recent weeks as Afghanistan enters what could be one of the most critical periods following the US-led invasion in late 2001 that ousted the Taliban.

The majority of US and coalition forces are expected to begin a significant draw-down in the latter part of this year, leaving Afghan forces in charge of security across the country within months.

Afghanistan also is gearing up for a presidential election next spring, and the Taliban have not yet accepted an offer to engage in peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar.

There currently are about 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan, including 66,000 from the US, a total that is scheduled to drop to about 32,000 by early next year.

The Taliban have increasingly targeted Afghan government officials in recent attacks, including an assault on Wednesday on a courthouse and government offices in western Farah province.

Forty-six people were killed, including two judges, six prosecutors, administration officers and cleaners working at the site.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Programmer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Printer

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 HGV Driver - with CPC

£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence