Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan — In one of the deadliest 24-hour spans in recent weeks for American forces, eight U.S. soldiers were killed in three separate attacks in southern Afghanistan late Tuesday and Wednesday, including a coordinated assault on an Afghan elite police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar.
In the first attack, an insurgent rammed his explosives-filled car into the main gate of the Afghan police compound late Tuesday night while other militants opened fire with automatic rifles and rocket launchers, NATO and Afghan authorities said. Three U.S. troops were killed, along with an Afghan police officer and five Afghan civilian workers.
Members of the elite police force, known as the Afghan National Civil Order Police, had recently been assigned to Kandahar to establish new checkpoints throughout the city, the birthplace of the Taliban movement and an area regarded as crucial in the U.S. military's strategy to bring an end to nine years of war in Afghanistan.
Thousands of troops are being deployed throughout Kandahar province in a bid to wrest control of the region from the Taliban and allow the start of social service and infrastructure projects that can boost Afghans' confidence in President Hamid Karzai's weak civilian government.