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Kabul police chief quits after guest house attacks, army ousts Taliban from Camp Bastion
The Kabul police chief resigned on Sunday after three Taliban attacks in 10 days on foreign guest houses in the capital, while officials said Afghan forces had ousted insurgents who tried to seize former U.S. and British base Camp Bastion in the south.
Taliban fighters breached the perimeter of Camp Bastion in the southern Afghan province of Helmand three days ago, just one month after the base was handed over to the Afghan army.
The attacks of recent days have renewed fears that Afghanistan's army and police are unable to secure the country.
The charity whose Kabul guest house was targeted in the latest such assault on Saturday, the U.S.-based Partnership in Academics and Development (PAD, said on its website that three people were killed by insurgents who used guns and explosives.
They were identified as members of the same South African family - a father and his two teenage children - by a colleague of the mother, who survived the attack.
Kabul's police spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the chief's resignation.
"We can only confirm... he will not continue his job as police chief anymore," Hashmat Stanekzai said.
Violence across Afghanistan has surged this year as the Taliban and their allies have stepped up their activities ahead of the scheduled withdrawal of most international troops by the end of next month.
Over the past 10 days, three compounds used by foreign organizations have been hit by armed attackers. In separate attacks in Kabul, two American soldiers, two British embassy workers and dozens of Afghan civilians have died.
The Taliban said on Saturday they had attacked the foreign guesthouse because they believed it to be a Christian center. This was the second time this year the Taliban targeted a group that it said had links to Christianity.
PAD, which supports education in Afghanistan, could not be reached immediately for comment.
The South African victims were members of a devout Christian family that had lived in Afghanistan for nearly 12 years, with the father running the charity and the mother working as a doctor, said a colleague at the Kabul clinic where the mother worked.
The 17-year-old son had been applying to universities in the United States. His sister was 14, said the colleague, who asked not to be identified for security reasons.
Meanwhile, Afghan soldiers finally ousted a group of Taliban from the former Camp Bastion. By Sunday, fighting at the base had ended and troops were clearing the area that had been seized by a few dozen insurgents, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the Helmand governor.
Further north in Helmand's Sangin district, a smaller army post was attacked and 12 soldiers killed in fighting on Friday and Saturday, Zwak said.
[Source: By Jessica Donati and Kay Johnson, Reuters, Kabul, 30Nov14]
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