Bomb Attack Misses Afghan Spy Chief; Kills 3 Others

A top Afghan intelligence agent narrowly survived a bomb attack on his convoy that killed three other people near the capital, Kabul, while fighting elsewhere Saturday killed six insurgents and three police, officials said.

The coalition, meanwhile, announced the deaths of 44 more militants in firefights in southern provinces over the past week — raising the toll from the deadliest three weeks since the fall of the Taliban to more than 500.

The daily violence has sounded alarm bells in the government and among the international community for fears of a Taliban resurgence almost five years after the Islamic extremists were ousted for harboring Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

A coalition spokesman, Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, said there would be no letup in attacks on militants.

"We will not be deterred from our mission to provide a safe and secure environment to the Afghan people," he was cited as saying in a U.S. military statement.

An apparent attempt to kill Kabul city's director of government intelligence, Humayoon Aini, occurred as he was returning to the capital late Friday from a meeting in a neighboring district, said Kabul's police chief, Amanullah Ghazar.

A bomb ripped through the first car in his convoy, killing a local politician and two others. Aini, who was in the second car, was unhurt, Ghazar said.

In southern Zabul province Saturday, Afghan troops battled insurgents for hours, killing two and capturing two, before dozens of others fled into nearby mountains, said army commander Gen. Rehmatullah Raufi.

In neighboring Kandahar province Friday, a roadside bomb hit a convoy carrying a district police chief and government head, missing them but killing two of their police guards, said Daod Ahmadi, a government spokesman.

Gunmen in northwestern Faryab province attacked a police post before dawn Saturday, sparking a battle that killed four rebels and a policeman, said provincial police chief Saqep, who uses only one name.

The coalition issued a statement announcing the deaths of 14 militants in Uruzgan province's Dihrawud district Thursday.

Ten were killed in an initial coalition artillery barrage of a militant position, while four died later when Afghan and coalition troops, backed up by attack aircraft, besieged a rebel stronghold, it said.

Rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and ammunition were recovered from inside the compound.

A separate coalition statement said Canadian and Afghan troops battled a group of about 60 rebels in neighboring Zabul province's Arghandab district last Monday. It said more than 30 were believed to have been killed before the survivors fled.

No Afghan or coalition troops were hurt in any of the battles, the statements said.

In a separate development, the Ministry of Interior announced that in the past week 9 tons of opium and 88 pounds of heroin have been seized in raids across the country.

Much of the recent Taliban fighting is believed to be funded by the country's $2.8 billion trade in opium and heroin — about 90 percent of the world's supply.

The United States, Britain and other countries are spending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting the business, which is believed by some to be as great a threat to Afghanistan's future as the Taliban insurgency.