At least 10 killed and over 30 injured in multiple attacks by Taliban; Karzai accuses "enemies of Afghanistan" of "trying to spread fear among Kabul citizens";
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  • At least 10 people were killed and over 30 injured in a series of coordinated attacks by Taliban militants in Kabul on January 18. 7 militants were among those killed in the operation. Several government ministries and shopping centres were targeted. Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks and blamed the "enemies of Afghanistan" for trying to "spread fear among Kabul citizens."

    The US Embassy stated that it would continue to work with allies and partners "to defeat our common enemy and build a more secure and prosperous future."1 US Assistant Secretary of State for Public ‎Affairs P.J. Crowley praised the Afghanistan ‎National Security Forces (ANSF) for successfully handling the terrorist strikes.2 US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on his part stated that terrorists would use such tactics and that it was difficult to stop such assaults. He was also opposed to talks with the hardline elements of the Taliban like Mullah Omar though he admitted that “reintegration and reconciliation” were critical to a resolution of the conflict.3

    The Independent Election Commission meanwhile has postponed the parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on May 22 till September 18 due to financial problems, logistical challenges and continuing violence. The decision was welcomed by international organizations and Western governments, which had been urging Kabul to delay the elections until electoral reforms were carried out.4

    In other developments, the Interior Ministry revealed that more than 11,000 kgs of narcotics were seized in the southern Helmand province. The province has been a hotbed of the Taliban insurgency.5