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WORLD BRIEFING : AFGHANISTAN : French general survives deadly rocket attack

November 17, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Rockets slammed into a market northeast of Kabul, killing 12 civilians but missing their presumed target: a meeting between France's top general in Afghanistan and dozens of tribal elders and senior local officials.

The attack also wounded 38 people, 20 of them critically. The market was crowded with shoppers on bazaar day in Tagab, a sprawling town of mud-brick, fortress-like compounds and small fields along a river surrounded by the barren slopes and snowcapped peaks of the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Brig. Gen. Marcel Druart said the meeting, known as a shura, continued despite the attack to show that the Taliban could not disrupt NATO's plans in the tense valley, where both sides are competing for influence.

The general was sitting down with about 40 Afghan officials to discuss a major French offensive launched the previous day. The purpose of the operation is to secure the area for a planned road that would bypass Kabul, the capital, in bringing in supplies from neighboring Pakistan.

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