Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2008

10 French soldiers die; US base attacked

August 20, 2008

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— Insurgents mounted two of the biggest attacks in years on Western forces in Afghanistan, killing 10 French soldiers in a mountain ambush and then sending a squad of suicide bombers in a failed assault early Tuesday on a U.S. base near the Pakistan border.

The audacious strikes suggested a bolder insurgency is now willing to launch frontal assaults on U.S. and NATO troops.

Only months ago, militants shied away from large-scale attacks because of the heavy losses they could incur when jet fighters appeared overhead, NATO and U.S. officials said.

But the Taliban and other militant groups appear increasingly willing to commit large numbers of foot soldiers to onslaughts that attempt to overwhelm small groups of U.S. and NATO troops. Just last month, some 200 militants attacked a small U.S. outpost in Afghanistan's eastern mountains, penetrating its perimeter and killing nine American soldiers.

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