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Karzai, Petraeus Visit South Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus, left, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry listen to Afghan President Hamid Karzai as he talks to Afghans in Argandab district of Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010. (GettyImages)



October 09, 2010 (KATAKAMI) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai and top U.S. General David Petraeus are visiting the southern province of Kandahar, where coalition forces are engaged in a major operation against the Taliban.

U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry also is accompanying the Afghan president, who is expected to meet with tribal elders Saturday to rally support for his government and for international forces.

NATO and Afghan troops are trying to drive the Taliban out of its southern stronghold with a military offensive called Operation Dragon Strike.

In another development, the British Foreign Ministry says a British aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan was killed by her captors during a rescue attempt.  Linda Norgrove and three Afghan colleagues were abducted September 26 in the eastern province of Kunar.

Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed “deep sadness” in a statement Saturday confirming Norgrove’s death.

Also, a spokesman for Italy’s Defense Ministry, General Massimo Fogari, says four Italian troops were killed and another was wounded in an attack in western Afghanistan.  He said the soldiers’ convoy was first struck by a roadside bomb, before insurgents attacked with gunfire.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he was saddened by the “tragic ambush.”

Italy has about 3,400 soldiers in Afghanistan, deployed mostly in the west.

On Friday, a bomb blast at a mosque in northern Afghanistan killed 13 people, including the governor of Kunduz, Mohammad Omar, who frequently spoke out against the Taliban and had escaped at least two previous attempts on his life.


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