Suicide bomber strikes American military base in Khost; 10 French troops killed in Sarobi district; Karzai dismisses 2 senior military commanders after an air strike in Heart reportedly kills 90 civilians
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  • Up to thirty militants tried to storm the main American military base in Khost on August 19 just hours after a suicide car bomber had struck at the front gate killing 10 civilians. Reports noted that the militants included at least half a dozen suicide bombers1.

    In continuing violence, 10 French troops were killed during the week in battles with insurgents in the Uzbin area of Sarobi district, 50 kilometers east of Kabul. The casualties occurred as the French ISAF contingent and Afghan forces fought fierce battles with insurgents after the Taliban attacked an ISAF patrol in Sarobi district2.French President Nicholas Sarkozy visited Afghanistan to pay his respects. The development created concerns about the viability of French military presence in the country. However, Prime Minister François Fillon stated on August 22 that he would vote in favour of continued French military presence in Afghanistan during a parliamentary vote in September3.

    President Karzai meanwhile dismissed two senior military commanders for negligence and concealing the truth about an air strike on August 22 that was conducted in the western province of Herat. The air strike, called by a joint patrol of Afghan army commandoes and American Special Forces personnel on a target in Azizabad, killed about 90 civilians, most of whom were women and children. The US military on its part stated that coalition forces came under fire and had o call in air support which killed 25 militants and about 5 civilians. The dismissal of the Army officers came after a government delegation led by Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Nematullah Shahrani, visited the region on a fact-finding mission4. Reports noted that this was the first such action taken by President Karzai against military personnel for causing civilian deaths5.