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Monday, January 20, 2014

‘Brutal Massacre’ Of Civilians Unsettles Western Agencies In Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers inspect the scene of a suicide attack outside a base in Zhari district, Kandahar province on January 20, 2014. (Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. soldiers inspect the scene of a suicide attack outside a base in Zhari district, Kandahar province on January 20, 2014. (Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images)

NATO forces repelled a Taliban attack on a Western base today in the Southern Afghan province of Kandahar that killed one coalition soldier. All nine Taliban fighters, along with two Afghan civilians were killed in the battle.

That attack comes after a suicide bombing on Friday in Kabul that killed 21 people, 13 of them foreigners. NPR’ Sean Carberry tells Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that the attack was “unprecedented.”

“This really is the first time that a purely civilian area, a restaurant where international and Afghan people go, has been targeted like this. It was a really brutal massacre of these people who were there.”

The Taliban took credit for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for a coalition strike on Wednesday that killed civilians in a village north of Kabul. While NATO and Afghan officials have very different narratives of that air strike, the general consensus is that the Taliban had planned this suicide attack on civilians in Kabul well in advance.

International agencies including the U.N. are re-examining safety policies today, and foreign workers are wondering if it’s safe to stay in the country, as Western troops prepare to leave this year.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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