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Afghan war anniversary draws attack on U.S. outposts

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber and rocket fire struck U.S.-run outposts near the Pakistani border as the war in Afghanistan hit the 10-year mark Friday.

No deaths were reported among U.S. service members at the three outposts in Paktika province, and it was unclear if the attacks were timed to coincide with the anniversary of the start of the war. But the continued violence was a reminder of the resilience of the insurgency, which thrives in part because of sanctuaries in Pakistan.

A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives near the entrance to Combat Outpost Margah, which had also been hit with 22 rockets, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. Combat Forward Operating Base Tillman was hit with a half-dozen rockets and Forward Operating Base Boris was struck with two.

In Washington, President Barack Obama quietly noted the anniversary, offering a written statement and holding no public events to mark the moment. He said the United States is safer thanks to the sacrifice of troops, diplomats and intelligence analysts during the war.

Obama saluted the more than 1,700 U.S. troops who have died, along with the coalition and Afghan forces killed. He said that because of the effort, "our citizens are safer and our nation is more secure."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Taliban militants can't lift a finger without Pakistanis.

The invasion was aimed at toppling the hard-line Taliban regime and punishing it for giving safe harbor to al-Qaida, which orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Arrests in Pakistan

Pakistani forces have arrested five key al-Qaida suspects at the CIA's request, including a senior operative whose name has not been made public. Forces also allowed U.S. intelligence officers to question those detainees, the Associated Press reported Friday, citing unnamed U.S. and Pakistani officials. The move marks a step forward in a relationship that has been at a near standstill since the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan in May. The raid inflamed anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and embarrassed its intelligence services.

Afghan war anniversary draws attack on U.S. outposts 10/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 10:08pm]
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