Taliban militants attack government offices in Nimroz, 13 killed including 9 militants; 850 US military personnel to train Afghan security forces as an interim measure; New Zealand PM meets Karzai;
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • About 9 Taliban militants attacked government buildings – including the governor's office, provincial legislature and court in Zaranj, capital of Afghanistan’s southwestern province of Nimroz. All nine militants were killed after a fierce gun battle with Afghan security forces. Nimroz Governor Ghulam Dastgeer Azaad stated that the attack was "serious and unprecedented.”1

    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered another batch of about 850 American military personnel to train Afghan security forces. These trainers are expected to arrive and depart before the final combat forces arrive. In effect, the strength of American forces will not go above the 30,000 troops earlier approved by the Obama administration.2

    New Zealand PM John Key met with President Karzai during a secret visit to Afghanistan. He also held talks with ISAF commander Gen. McChrystal. About 70 of New Zealand's elite Special Forces are believed to be operating in Kabul while a contingent of 140 personnel is carrying out reconstruction work in Bamiyan province.3

    The US House Armed Services Committee reviewed the Obama administration's counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. It examined the issue of whether more troops could be deployed if the situation so required. Since December 2009, the Obama administration has added about 30,000 troops, bringing the total number of US troops in Afghanistan to about 100,000. 4

    Mr. Abdullah Ahmadzai was appointed as the new chief electoral officer of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan. He had earlier served as deputy operational head at the IEC secretariat for two years. Ahmadzai replaces Daud Ali Najafi who had resigned about two months ago. Soon after taking over, he vowed to ensure free, fair and transparent parliamentary elections slated for September 18, 2010.5

    In its latest report, the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) notes the growing Chinese involvement in Afghanistan. It notes that China has allocated an additional $75 million in economic aid to Afghanistan in the late 2009, bringing its total aid to nearly $1 billion since 2002. The report notes that “some diplomats in Washington, DC, indicated to CRS in November 2009 that, should President Barack Obama ask for China to contribute Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) forces, even in a non-combat role, to Afghanistan, China might agree to that request."6

    The UK meanwhile handed over six Russian-made MI-17 helicopters to Afghanistan on May 5 in order to strengthen its efforts against narcotics smuggling and border protection.7

    In other developments, at least 66 people have died and hundreds of houses destroyed in flash floods in Badghis, Ghor and Herat provinces. 8