BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - A series of violent incidents by insurgents operating in Southern Afghanistan July 13 is threatening the daily lives of ordinary Afghan citizens.

A group of Taliban attacked the main hospital in Zabul province while a local man died near the Pakistan border from an improvised explosive device, according to reports from local citizens.

A small group of attackers using small-arms fired upon civilians in and around the Ministry of Medicine Hospital in Qalat city. Squads of Afghan National Police responded to the scene to protect the patients and hospital staff. No injuries of civilians or police were reported.

In a separate incident in Kandahar province, the Maruf district governor informed Afghan and international security forces about a local resident who was killed by an improvised explosive device. The man struck the device while riding a tractor in Parwarzay village located approximately 20 miles southwest of the district center.

The Maruf district governor also informed U.S. Special Operations units operating in the area about insurgents who are reported to be repopulating the cleared roadways in the district with homemade explosives to deter civilian movement.

In the first half of 2010, civilian deaths surpassed the 1,000-mark and are rising throughout the country, according to a July 12 report released by the Afghanistan Rights Monitor. Insurgent-planted IEDs have accounted for a third of the total deaths, followed by suicide bombers.

"Planting IEDs is a good indicator of insurgents' desperation to control the people," said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Kosterman, a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan spokesperson. "Recent trends demonstrate that Afghan citizens are rejecting insurgent violence and fighting back against Taliban intimidation."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16