Monday, April 23, 2018

22 NATO supply trucks destroyed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban detonated a bomb on a fuel tanker Wednesday and then opened fire on other NATO supply trucks, destroying 22 vehicles loaded with fuel and other goods for U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Elsewhere in the country, a suicide bomber killed three Afghan soldiers at a checkpoint in the east, while militants killed nine more government troops in an ambush in the south. Three NATO service members were also killed in insurgent attacks.

The violence comes as Afghan forces are taking charge of security in more areas across the country ahead of the planned withdrawal of the U.S.-led coalition's combat forces by the end of 2014. To show they remain a resilient force, insurgents are conducting targeted attacks, even in relatively peaceful parts of the country.

One of the places is Samangan province in the north, where the Taliban said they attacked the NATO supply trucks parked overnight in the Rabatak area.

Hours later, plumes of thick black smoke still billowed from the area, and firefighters were spraying water on the burning vehicles.

The tankers were transporting fuel south toward the Afghan capital, Kabul, from neighboring Uzbekistan to the north.

Convoy traffic in the east has increased since Pakistan reopened its border crossings about two weeks ago. Islamabad blocked NATO supply trucks for seven months in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Insurgents are trying to regain territory they lost in the past two years when tens of thousands of U.S., NATO and Afghan forces routed them from their strongholds in the south.

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