The Afghan government today declared a six-day public holiday to tighten security during a national conference that will vote on a draft agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay in the nation after 2014.
Zahid Khan advocated talks with Taliban militants in 2009 to stem a barrage of terror attacks in the northwest Pakistan province where his party led the ruling coalition. Now he sees negotiations as a waste of time.
An attack near an Indian consulate in eastern Afghanistan was the latest to target the nation’s interests in the country, where deepening economic and military ties risk inflaming tension with neighbor and rival Pakistan.
Taliban guerrillas armed with automatic weapons and explosives stormed the Hotel Inter- Continental in Kabul last night, triggering a five-hour gun battle with Afghan troops and police that left 12 people dead.
Civilian casualties from Afghanistan’s conflict with Taliban guerrillas jumped by almost a quarter in the first half of this year, according to the United Nations, underscoring the challenges facing local forces now leading security operations.