Source Pravda.Ru

Americans in Kabul

The U.S. government warned its citizens to keep a low profile Monday after a car bomb hit a private American security firm, killing up to 11 people in the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital in two years. Three Americans died in Sunday's attack, according to Kabul's NATO-led security force, up from the two fatalities initially reported by the Afghan government. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast at the office of Dyncorp Inc., which provides bodyguards for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and works for the American government in Iraq. Security officials have issued several warnings in recent weeks that anti-government militants could ramp up attacks to disrupt its landmark presidential election. The bombing came hours after another explosion killed at least nine people, eight of them children, at a school in southeastern Afghanistan, underlining the country's fragile security as it moves toward the Oct. 9 vote. On Monday, the U.S. Embassy e-mailed Americans in Kabul to tell them to limit their movements, take strict security measures and avoid "potential target areas" such as government offices, NATO bases and restaurants. U.N. staff were also ordered to keep off the streets as much as possible, informs ABCNEWS. According to Washington Post, American officials warned U.S. citizens Monday to avoid high-profile locations and government facilities in the Afghan capital after Sunday's car bombing outside the office of an American security firm here. Officials raised the death toll to at least six people, including three Americans. A spokesman for the Taliban, the armed Islamic militia that ruled most of the country for five years and asserted responsibility for the attack, said Monday it would step up attacks in Kabul and other cities where there are U.S. military forces and civilians. "We have started our attacks from Kabul under new planning and preparation," Mullah Dadullah, a Taliban leader, told the Reuters news agency by satellite telephone. "We will carry out more attacks and bombings in Kabul." He added that Taliban fighters "are present in cities where the occupation forces and infidels are present." Afghanistan is scheduled to hold the first presidential elections in its history in six weeks. The current government took over after the Taliban was driven from power by U.S.-backed forces in 2001. Another man who claims to speak for the Taliban, Mullah Hakin Latifi, told the Associated Press that civilians should "stay away from elections" as well as from places where international military forces are located. "They are our priority targets," he said. American investigators combed the rubble of the offices of DynCorp Inc., a Reston-based security firm, in Kabul's fashionable Shar-i-Nau district Monday, while police blocked off the surrounding street to traffic. Concrete barricades were placed across other streets where U.S. security and contract employees live or work. The U.S. issued a travel alert for its citizens in Afghanistan after weekend bombings that killed at least 19 people in the capital, Kabul, and in Paktia province. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan condemned the attacks as an attempt to disrupt the run-up to October's presidential election, according to the UN's Web site. The Kabul attack ``was directly against a police training facility and therefore causes us even more alarm,'' U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, according to an e- mailed statement. The U.S. embassy in Kabul told U.S. citizens to ``observe the strictest security measures,'' he said. The ousted Taliban militia in Afghanistan said it carried out the Kabul attack against the offices of international security company DynCorp, the Associated Press reported. The Taliban said its fighters will increase attacks to try to disrupt the presidential poll and national assembly elections scheduled to be held in April, reports Bloomberg. Three U.S. nationals were among at least nine people killed in the truck bomb attack in Kabul, Boucher said. The embassy in Kabul is advising U.S. citizens to restrict their movements and defer any unnecessary travel in the city, he said. ``We will continue to work with Afghanistan and the training of security personnel to ensure a peaceful future for the people of that country,'' Boucher said yesterday in Washington.

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