Taliban attacks US aid firm as Petraeus heads to Afghanistan

Five people including two foreigners were killed as a US aid organisation was stormed in Afghanistan Friday in an attack claimed by the Taliban.

Taliban attacks US aid firm as Petraeus heads to Afghanistan

Five people including two foreigners were killed as a US aid organisation was stormed in Afghanistan Friday in an attack claimed by the Taliban.

The pre-dawn attack happened in Kunduz province when insurgents attacked the newly-opened offices of Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), provincial governor Mohammad Omar told Reuters.

One British citizen was killed during the fierce five-hour gunbattle that ensued, along with a German national and a Filipino, while two Afghans also died, Omar said.

"Our security forces managed to rescue around eight American workers inside the compound," he said.

Seven other foreigners were injured in the dawn attack, NATO said, while police said at least 20 Afghan civilians and police were hurt.

At least one of the bombers blew himself up in front of the gate to allow other fighters to push inside, triggering a fierce five-hour gunbattle with security guards and police who surrounded the building, Omar said.

Afghan police and security guards battled insurgents for most of the morning before the attackers were killed, Omar said. Foreign workers fled to the roof of the five-story building for safety as the battle continued in floors below.

Smoke billowed from the building, which was surrounded by NATO and Afghan troops after the attack.

"Petraeus visit"


German and US troops are based in Kunduz under NATO's occupation during the nearly nine-year conflict.

DAI is a so-called "implementing partner" of Washington's international aid arm USAID. It is believed to have opened its Kunduz operation about four months ago.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which came as US General David Petraeus prepared to head to Afghanistan in the coming days to take command of the invasion.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said at least six suicide bombers and fighters were involved in the attack in a province mainly patrolled by German forces under NATO-command.

The Taliban accused the company of providing intelligence and support to US troops.

A total of 100 NATO troops occupying Afghanistan have been killed in June, making it the deadliest month for the alliance since the US-led invasion in 2001.

The United States and NATO have a combined 140,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 by August under US "surge" strategy.

Last month the Taliban threatened a new nationwide campaign of attacks, targeting diplomats, Afghan parliamentarians and foreign contractors, as well as foreign forces.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2010, 15:14

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