2 Afghans killed in attack near NATO base
PESHAWAR / WASHINGTONTwo Afghan guards were killed yesterday when suicide bombers and attackers besieged the office of a logistics company working with foreign forces, near the NATO-led force’s western HQ.
Western troops were deployed to quash the attack at the offices of Monaco-based international firm ES-KO on the outskirts of Herat city, where NATO soldiers passed control to Afghan forces four months ago.
It happened a few hundred meters from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in western Afghanistan, which is Italian-led, as well as Herat’s airport.
The attack raises questions about security in the relatively peaceful province, handed over in July as part of plans for the 140,000 mainly US foreign troop force to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But in Brussels yesterday, NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted its mission in Afghanistan was “moving in the right direction” despite a string of headline-grabbing “spectacular” attacks in recent weeks. The ISAF spokesman in western Afghanistan, who declined to be quoted by name, said it had provided ground and air support to Thursday’s operation, which took place outside the compound of Regional Command West. Noori said that ISAF helicopters had been scrambled. Noor Khan Nekzad, a regional police spokesman, said foreign forces killed the insurgents but the ISAF spokesman could not confirm this.
Meanwhile, a suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles at a house in Pakistan’s rugged tribal region yesterday, killing two insurgents from the Haqqani network considered the most dangerous militant group fighting U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
The Obama administration is considering an early shift in the U.S. military role in Afghanistan from primarily combat to mainly advisory and training duties, even as it struggles to create the beginnings of a political settlement of the war, a senior U.S. official said.
The official, speaking late Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no decisions had been made on speeding up a change in the military’s mission, said that details of the possible new U.S. approach had not been settled and that other options may be under consideration.