Published December 12, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan – An explosives-packed minibus blew up at the entrance of a joint NATO-Afghan base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing six NATO troops and two Afghan soldiers as they prepared to head out on patrol.
NATO has claimed improvements in security after months of raids, patrols and strikes on insurgents in Kandahar province, but Sunday’s blast — the deadliest attack on coalition troops this month — shows the area is still far from safe.
The assault comes days ahead of a major White House review of its Afghan strategy following President Barack Obama’s decision last year to send 30,000 American reinforcements in a bid to reverse gains by the Taliban since they were ousted from power in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
Afghan officials said Sunday’s suicide attack took place in Kandahar’s Zhari district, where Mullah Mohammad Omar organized the Taliban in the early 1990s. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the blast, saying the insurgent group was retaliating for attacks on its fighters in the area in recent months.