Suicide bombers armed with automatic weapons attacked the eastern
Afghan city of Khost Saturday, sparking a gun battle that killed seven
of the attackers and wounded at least 14 people, including police.
Afghan interior ministry spokesman Zamary Bashary says seven Taliban
militants simultaneously targeted several government and police
buildings, before being shot and killed by security forces.
Defense officials say the attackers were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket grenades.
On Tuesday, Taliban militants strapped with explosives and armed with
rifles launched assaults on Afghan and U.S. facilities in the two
eastern cities of Gardez and Jalalabad. At least six security personnel
were killed. Some of the gunmen were dressed as women.
Separately, British defense officials say a British soldier was killed
in an explosion Saturday while on patrol in the southern province of
July has been the deadliest month for international forces in Afghanistan since the Taliban-led government was ousted in 2001.
Thousands of U.S. Marines, along with British and Afghan troops, have
launched a major anti-Taliban offensive in Helmand. The operation (called "Strike of the Sword") is designed to protect the civilian population ahead of next month's presidential election in Afghanistan.
U.S. special envoy (for Pakistan and Afghanistan) Richard Holbrookeacknowledged
Saturday the August 20 vote faces "unprecedented and complex
challenges" due to the increased violence. But he dismissed concerns
that poor security, particularly in the south, would deter Afghans from
He told reporters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, U.S. coalition forces
are working with Afghan authorities to ensure the vote is held in a
safe and secure environment. He reiterated that the United States does
not support or oppose any candidate in the election and is only
supporting democracy in Afghanistan.