03/05/2007, 00.00
AFGHANISTAN
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More civilian deaths as Talibans and multinational forces clash

At least 17 people are killed in two days. Population protests against Americans and Karzai. Within ISAF the talk is about “war.” Reinforcements may prove inadequate.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – As both the Talibans and NATO had announced, Afghanistan’s spring offensive has begun: suicide bombers against NATO’s guns. In the middle civilians who continue to die caught in the crossfire between Mullah Omar’s fighters and foreign troops.

In an unconfirmed report, nine Afghan civilians died today in a bombing raid attributed to NATO, just a day after US forces were accused of killing 10 civilians in a shootout near Jalalabad, in Nangarhar province. Reports about that event remain confused as military sources talk about “war.”

Violence exploded when a US military convoy was ambushed on the Jalalabad–Tokhar highway on Sunday. US sources said their soldiers returned fire, and acknowledge that at least eight Afghan civilians were killed. Afghan government sources had initially spoken of 16 dead.

A US military spokesperson said the incident is still under investigation. It is possible that attackers might have shot from different directions hitting the victims.

What is certain is that popular resentment and anger is rising in Afghanistan. For more and more people the struggle is a fight against the invader.

Following the Nangarhar slaughter, dozens of Afghans stoned US convoys, shouting slogans against Washington and President Karzai who strongly condemned the incident and ordered an inquiry.

Local sources told AsiaNews that within the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) the talk is about all out war. “Attacks are now taking place along a broader frontline. From the south it now involves the west and the north. Troop reinforcements and additional materiel may not be enough”.

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