Afghanistan: 35 killed,73 wounded in coordinated attacks by Taliban

Taliban forces are expected to step up attacks before winter sets in around October.

Written by Associated Press | Kabul | Published: August 29, 2013 6:05 pm

In the latest in a string of escalating insurgent attacks around the country,Taliban launched coordinated attacks around Afghanistan,killing 35 people and injuring 73.

Insurgents staged on Wednesday evening an ambush at a mountain pass on an Afghan police convoy patrolling a key highway,killing 15 officers and wounding 10 in western Afghanistan’s Farah province.

This came on the same day as the Taliban launched their most complex attack this year,that included a failed effort to overrun a NATO base in eastern Ghazni province that killed one US soldier and wounded 10 Polish soldiers and dozens of Afghans.

In the mountain pass attack,insurgents fled unharmed after they attacked about 40 officers in the convoy driving on the main trade route through the province,Farah provincial spokesman Abdul Rahman Zhawandai said on Thursday.

In yet another strike nearby,rockets killed six truck drivers and destroyed dozens of trucks that carry fuel for coalition forces.

The Taliban have escalated attacks in recent months as they try to take advantage of the withdrawal of foreign troops,who handed over security for the country to Afghan forces two months ago.

There are currently about 100,000 troops from 48 countries in Afghanistan with the US-led International Security Assistance Force,60,000 of them American. By the end of this year,the NATO force will be halved and all foreign combat troops will have left by the end of next year.

Because of the drawdown,much is riding on the abilities of the fledging Afghan security forces,which now numbers about 352,000.

Afghan and coalition officials have warned that the Taliban would intensify the tempo of their attacks following the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan,as they try to take advantage of the two or three months left of good weather before the harsh Afghan winter sets in. The traditional fighting season lasts from March until the end of October.

A total of 35 people were killed and 73 were wounded yesterday in the ambush,the base assault,and in three other attacks around the country.

Before dawn on Wednesday,near the ambush site,rockets were fired at a fuel truck parking lot,and one truck full of gasoline exploded after being hit. The raging fire destroyed about 35 of the 40 trucks in the lot and killed six of the drivers,who spend the night there because the threat of insurgent attacks on highways makes it too dangerous for them to drive after dark.

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