Twin bombers' cold timing inflates toll in Afghanistan
The dusty truck stop in southern Afghanistan, with its surrounding crush of humble, tumbledown shops outside a U.S.-run military base, was every...
Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan — The dusty truck stop in southern Afghanistan, with its surrounding crush of humble, tumbledown shops outside a U.S.-run military base, was every bit as chaotic and oh-just-give-me-your-business in attitude as always.
Logically enough, it was on a busy late morning Wednesday that the attackers chose to strike, with a coolly thought-out plan. A violent initial hit, and then a short wait until rescuers arrived. Pause just until the crush of panicked bystanders had rushed in to help the bloodiest and most helpless of the victims of the first thundering explosion.
And then a second, equally powerful, blast.
That was the scenario that unfolded when a suicide bomber, followed rapidly by a second of his kind, attacked a crowded highway rest stop and parking lot for Western-contracted supply trucks backed up outside of Kandahar airfield, NATO's biggest base in southern Afghanistan.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least 22 people.
Many people, at that near-noon hour, had reason to be in the vicinity. The area is a bustling market zone on the main road leading south to the Pakistani border, toward the ragged frontier outpost of Spin Boldak.
Elsewhere, Afghan officials said 18 women and children were killed along with about a dozen insurgents in a raid spearheaded by the NATO force outside Kabul, the capital, earlier Wednesday.
The Western military confirmed the deaths of "multiple insurgents" in the joint Afghan-NATO operation in Logar province, but reported no civilian fatalities. It said two women were injured in what a military statement described as a "precision airstrike."
U.S.: Drone strikes
won't end soon
NEW DELHI — Two days after a drone strike killed al-Qaida's second-in-command, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made it clear Wednesday that such attacks will continue as long as the U.S. needs to defend itself against terrorists that threaten America.
Speaking in India — Pakistan's long-standing rival neighbor — Panetta dismissed suggestions that the strikes could violate Pakistan's sovereignty.
Ties with Pakistan have been strained by the CIA drone attacks that target insurgents inside Pakistan and by a deadlock in negotiations over shipments of supplies across the Afghanistan border.
The U.S. is hoping India can play a more robust role in the war effort, particularly in the training of Afghan forces.
India agreed Wednesday to allow American military teams to search the Himalayan mountains for the remains of hundreds of U.S. service members who went missing during World War II along the major aerial supply route, dubbed "flying over the Hump." It began at the eastern end of the Himalayas, involved mountain peaks and bad weather and skirting Japanese-occupied Burma into China.
Includes material from The Associated Press and The Washington Post