Taliban "launch" ambush offensive

AP/NY Times:

The Taliban has launched a new operation targeting government and foreign forces in Afghanistan, a spokesman said Sunday, as two policemen died in an ambush in the volatile south.

Purported Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the group's leaders announced the beginning of operation ''Kamin,'' or ''Ambush.''

''In this operation, we will target our enemies and use our tactics -- suicide bombs, remote-controlled (roadside bombs) and ambushes -- against occupying forces and the government,'' Ahmadi said by satellite phone from an undisclosed location. ''We start this operation today in all of Afghanistan.''

After a winter lull in violence, militant attacks and military operations have surged. NATO and the U.S.-led coalition stepped up operations in the early spring, hoping to pre-empt a spring offensive by militants that threatened the already-shaky grip of President Hamid Karzai's government.

In Kandahar, the Taliban ambushed a police convoy on Saturday, and the ensuing one-hour gun battle killed two policemen and wounded three others, said Shah Wali Kot district chief Obaidullah Khan. He said the Taliban also suffered casualties, but he had no details.

In neighboring Zabul province, a roadside bomb exploded Saturday as an Afghan army vehicle passed, wounding two soldiers, said Gen. Rahmatullah Raufi, the regional army corps commander.

Meanwhile, five children were killed in eastern Ghazni province Saturday when a bomb they were playing with exploded, said provincial police chief Gen. Ali Shah Ahmadzia. He said they were 5 to 12 years old, and two other children were wounded.

The explosive was ''planted by the enemy at the side of the road in Andar district,'' Ahmadzia said.

The AP buried the lead in this story, because the kids killed with the buried bomb is typical of the incompetence of the Taliban and its ambush strategy. The police ambush is atypical since it apparently did not result in 20 to 30 Taliban being killed which is the usual case when this inept group tries to ambush soldiers. That could be why they picked on local police instead of NATO or even Afghan troops. The Taliban have probably set some kind of record for failed ambushes that have resulted in the ambushing force being wiped out. The AP is very remiss in not noticing how ridiculous the Taliban brag or spin is in this story. The story does go on to tell of a raid on a Taliban cell leader who gave up without firing a shot.


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