Italian PRT repels insurgent attack in W Afghanistan (2)

14:45, May 31, 2011      

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"The insurgents think these attacks will demonstrate to the Afghan people their power and relevance when in fact they are a sign of their increasing desperation," said Wenham.

According to local official, 10 people including five suicide bombers were killed and 45 others, with majority of them civilians, were injured as anti-government militants carried out multiple attacks in the relatively peaceful Herat province on Monday.

Run by Italian troops, the PRT is a civilian-military unit supporting local administrations in reconstruction process and strengthening security fields.

More than 3,000 Italian troops have been stationed in Afghanistan mostly in the western region within the framework of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

"In Monday's terrorist attacks and counter-attack 10 people including four civilians, one police and five suicide bombers were killed," police chief of Herat province Syed Aqa Saqib told reporters at a press conference on Monday evening.

During the operation which lasted some five hours, according to Saqib, 45 people including 34 civilians and 11 policemen sustained injuries.

The police chief did not reveal whether there were casualties on NATO-led forces. However, media reports from Italy quoted Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa in Rome as saying that five Italian soldiers were injured in the attack.

Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO-led troops, according to media reports, have claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

Herat city, some 640 km west of Afghan capital Kabul, is among the seven areas where Afghan security forces will take full security responsibility in July from over 140,000 NATO and U.S. forces stationed in the country.

Source: Xinhua
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