Afghan officials say suspects held in UN attack

AP News
Posted: Apr 06, 2011 7:11 AM
Afghan officials say suspects held in UN attack

Afghan officials say they have in custody at least two former insurgents suspected of involvement in the killing of seven U.N. workers during a riot last week in the northern city over Quran burning in the United States.

Lawmaker Mohammad Akbari said on Wednesday that a government team investigating the April 1 attack against the U.N. headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif has identified three men believed involved in the killing of three U.N. staff members and four Nepalese guards.

A chief investigator with the Interior Ministry, Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, claims two of the suspects were in possession of a rifle used in the attack.

Yarmand says there is evidence that they fired the weapon.

Both officials couldn't provide more details but said the suspects deny killing anyone.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ NATO forces killed seven insurgents who tried to storm their way onto a base in eastern Afghanistan, the coalition said Wednesday.

NATO said the attack was carried out late Tuesday in the city of Jalalabad by insurgents firing assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. A statement from the coalition added that NATO forces returned fire and called in an attack helicopter. It said there were no coalition casualties; there were no further details on the killed insurgents.

There has been an increase in battles between U.S.-led forces and insurgents in the past couple of weeks as Afghanistan's spring fighting season gets under way.

Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal, provincial chief of police Nangarhar province, said the attack occurred just before midnight outside the base and confirmed that seven insurgents were killed.

Late last year, insurgents wearing suicide vests stormed the same base, with six of them dying in a hail of gunfire before they could penetrate the defenses.

Insurgents have repeatedly targeted Jalalabad in an effort to prove that they have taken their fight into other areas of the country outside their traditional southern strongholds of Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

In February, five suicide bombers, dressed in security force uniforms, stormed a bank branch in Jalalabad and killed 38 people. Also in February, a pair of blasts in the city killed a civilian and wounded six police officers.

In an unrelated development, a pre-dawn landslide in the village of Parwaz near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif destroyed dozens of homes Wednesday. No one was reported injured. About 200 families live in the village, located in a valley, and about half the homes were destroyed, said district chief Sher Mohammad.

"It went very slowly otherwise it would have been a calamity. People managed to escape their homes. Dozens of houses have been destroyed," he said.