UK troops warned of suicide bombers in Kabul | india | Hindustan Times
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UK troops warned of suicide bombers in Kabul

Afghan defence minister has said British troops could face suicide bombers in NATO-led effort to seize control of the southern provinces.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 13:35 IST

Afghanistan's defence minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak has said that British troops could face suicide bombers in a new NATO-led effort to seize control of lawless southern provinces.

Wardak, in London for an aid conference, said yesterday that foreign terrorists were behind an increase in attacks on aid workers and coalition forces.

His bleak assessment of security in southern Afghanistan -- where thousands of NATO soldiers are to be deployed -- was later echoed in comments to a British television station from a man who claimed to represent the Taliban.

The anonymous interviewee, who spoke by telephone to Channel 4 News and claimed to be in Helmand province, said soldiers would be met with resistance by supporters of the ousted regime.

US troops deployed in the region as part of Operation Enduring Freedom -- a mission to seek out suspected terrorists -- have come under regular attack.

Last month an American soldier was injured when a suicide bomber targeted a military convoy in Helmand -- where around 3,300 British troops will be deployed by the summer.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is expanding into southern Afghanistan as part of a mission to extend governance and provide security for rebuilding efforts.

US forces are expected to roll back numbers in the provinces as NATO soldiers arrive, with plans announced to cut US troops in Afghanistan from 19,000 to 16,500 during 2006.