In Afghanistan: Kerry Wraps Up Trip; Police, U.K. Troops Targeted In Attacks

Mar 26, 2013
Originally published on March 26, 2013 7:57 am

Tuesday's news from Afghanistan underscores the challenges that remain as the U.S. and its allies try to hand over security to that nation's military and police.

-- "5 Afghan Police Killed In Suicide Attack In East": The Associated Press writes that "eight suicide bombers attacked a police headquarters in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Tuesday, killing five officers and wounding four others, a security official said."

-- "Car Bomb Attack Injures 10 British Troops": According to The Guardian, "at least 10 British troops have been injured in a suspected suicide car bomb attack on a patrol base in Afghanistan's Helmand province. The insurgents followed up the blast with small arms fire on the base in Nad Ali, one of the districts where UK troops have been based during their time in the country. Five insurgents were killed in the attack on the base on Monday night, which is jointly operated by the Afghan army and troops from Nato's International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf)."

-- "Kerry, Karzai Bury Hatchet In Kabul Meeting": From Kabul, the AP writes that "eager to overcome a bout of bickering, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a show of unusual unity between their two nations on Monday. The friendly display came as the U.S. military ceded control of its last detention facility in Afghanistan, ending a longstanding irritant in relations."

Speaking of Kerry, NPR's Michele Kelemen is among the correspondents covering his trip. She tells our Newscast desk that the secretary of state wrapped up his visit by meeting with democracy activists and women entrepreneurs.

Kerry bought a soccer ball made by women, Michele reports. And he spoke with Zahra Mahmoodi, captain of the national women's soccer team in Afghanistan. She told him about the challenges women athletes face in her country's traditional, male-dominated society. She added another concern — the women players can no longer train on one of their fields because it's being used by allied helicopters.

"Boy, we can't do this transition fast enough," Kerry told her. Mahmoodi then suggested the U.S. could help build a field for the women athletes and said she knows a good location. "So, you are giving me another task," Kerry responded. "I will accept the challenge."

Before parting, Kerry showed off a bit of his athletic ability: He "headed" the ball to Mahmoodi.

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