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Taliban suicide bombers attack two Afghan cities

The attacks are part of a spike in violence as US troops pour into the country ahead of elections next month.

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According to the Associated Press, US commanders were already anticipating a violent summer after President Obama ordered 21,000 additional US troops to be stationed in Afghanistan in March this year.

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Writing in The Guardian, Jason Burke argues that the growing frequency of Taliban attacks cannot be blamed on troop increases. He instead emphasizes that the militants are better organized and prepared for the “traditional fighting season” of July and August.

“The Taliban are much, much more stood up. They are much tighter, much more professional, much more together,” one intelligence officer in Kabul told the Guardian earlier this year.
A lot has been made of the Taliban’s increasing use of “asymmetric tactics”, such as booby traps, roadside bombs and suicide attacks.... Soldiers fighting the insurgents say they now show vastly improved ability to co-ordinate fire.... Nato officers say the Taliban’s command has also been improved to co-ordinate fighting with foot soldiers and to allow rapid engagement or disengagement....
Through the winter, Nato intelligence officers say, the insurgents worked at stiffening internal discipline, weeding out those who were felt to be insufficiently attached, ideologically speaking, to the movement.

Tuesday’s attacks against Afghan government buildings also come in the wake of President Hamid Karzai’s warning that military presence alone cannot improve security, reports the The Times of London.
“I don’t think the increase in troops will address the problem,” Karzai said. “We need to concentrate on finding other avenues of defeating terrorism and seeking peace.

“We must engage in negotiations, bring back those Taliban who are willing to return, who have been driven out by fear and coercion and the mistakes we’ve all made.”

Also:

Indian judge seals testimony from confessed Mumbai attacker Associated Press
Indonesian police investigate school in Jakarta attacks Agence France-Presse
Obama finds closing Guantanamo no easy task BBC

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