6A - Monday, April 22, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
6A - Monday, April 22, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Six police officers, three
civilians killed by Taliban
April already the
deadliest month of
year in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -
Insurgents killed six police offi-
cers at a checkpoint and a suicide
bomber killed three civilians
at a shopping bazaar in sepa-
rate attacks Sunday in eastern
Afghanistan, while an indepen-
dent security group warned 2013
is on track to be one of the most
violent years of the war.
April already has been the
deadliest month this year for
security forces and Afghan and
foreign civilians as the U.S. and
other countries prepare to end
their combat mission by the end
of next year. According to an
Associated Press tally, 222 peo-
ple have been killed in violence
around the nation this month,
including Sunday's nine fatali-
The Taliban ambushed the
checkpoint in the Dayak dis-
trict of Ghazni province, killing
six police officers, wounding
one and leaving one missing,
said Col. Mohammad Hussain,
deputy provincial police chief.
The checkpoint was manned
by Afghan local police, forces
recruited at the village level that
are nominally under the control
of the Afghan Interior Ministry.
On Friday, Taliban insur-
gents attacked a local police
checkpoint in Andar, a district
of Ghazni province neighboring
Dayak. They killed 13 officers,
according to Sidiq Sidiqi, the
Interior Ministry spokesman.
The second attack on Sunday
hit Paktika province, which bor-
ders Ghazni. A suicide bomber
detonated his explosives in a
shopping bazaar around midday,
killing three people and wound-
ing five civilians and two police
officers, said Mokhlis Afghan,
the spokesman for the provincial
governor. Among the dead was
Asanullah Sadat, who stepped
down as the district's governor
two years ago.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokes-
man for Taliban, claimed respon-
sibility for the suicide bombing.
In an email to reporters, he said
the Taliban used the bomber to
target Sadat because of his close
relations with the Afghan gov-
ernment and the U.S.
In other violence, the Tali-
ban cut a hand and foot off each
of two villagers they accused of
helping escort coalition convoys,
a spokesman for the provincial
chief in western Herat province
Noor Khan Nekzad said the
men were admitted to a hospital
in Herat city on Sunday. two days
after the amputations. The Tali-
ban have long killed government
employees and those who help
the coalition, considering them
enemy collaborators, but rarely
have they meted out punishment
by cuttingoff limbs.
Hostilities have surged in
Afghanistan as the spring fight-
ing season begins. This year is
being closely watched because
Afghan forces must operate with
less support from the interna-
tional military coalition. With
foreign forces due to hand over
combat responsibilities to the
local forces next year, the current
fighting is a test of their ability to
take on the country's insurgency.
Reflecting the rise in blood-
shed, the Afghanistan NGO
Safety Office said Sunday there
were 2,331 insurgent-initiated
attacks in the first quarter of
this year, a 47 percent increase
over the same January-March
period last year. "We assess that
the current re-escalation trend
will be preserved throughout
the entire season and that 2013
is set to become the second most.
violent year after 2011," which
suffered 2,755 such attacks in the
firstthree months oftheyear, the
The U.S.-led NATO coalition
has stopped releasing statistics
on insurgent attacks in Afghani-
Denver Paramedics, Denver Police officers and good Samaritans tend to a shooting victim at Civic Center Park after the
4/20 pot rally Saturday in Denver.
Gunfire erupts at Cob.
pot event, two wounded
searching for leads
DENVER (AP) - Authori-
ties are hunting for suspects
after shooting broke out during
a massive marijuana celebration
in Denver, leaving two people
with gunshot wounds.
The gunfire scattered thou-
sands attending Saturday's 4/20
counterculture holiday, the first
since Colorado legalized mari-
A man and a woman each
suffered non-life threatening
gunshot wounds, officials said.
Local media reports said a third
person was grazed.
Denver Police spokesman
Sonny Jackson said investiga-
tors are looking for one or two
suspects, asking festival attend-
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ees for possible photo or video of
He said police had no motive
for the gunfire.
Witnesses described a scene
in which a jovial atmosphere
quickly turned to one of panic
at the downtown Civic Center
Park just before 5 p.m. Several
thought firecrackers were being
set off, then a man fell bleeding,
his dog also shot.
"I saw him fall, grabbing his
leg," said Travis Craig, 28, who
was at the celebration, saw the
shooting and said he used a
belt to apply a tourniquet to the
"He was just screaming that
he was in pain, and wanted to
know where his girlfriend was.
She was OK. And then the cops
showed up real quick, like, less
than a minute. They put him on
ambulance and left."
The annual pot celebration
this year was expected to draw
as many as 80,000 people after
recent laws in Colorado and
Washington made marijuana
legal for recreational use.
A sizable police force on
motorcycles and horses had
been watching the celebration
since its start earlier Saturday.
But authorities, who generally
look the other way at public pot
smoking here on April 20, didn't
arrest people for smoking in
public, which is still illegal.
Police said earlier in the week
that they were focused on crowd
security in light of attacks that
killed three at the finish line of
the Boston Marathon.
"We're aware of the events
in Boston," said Denver police
spokesman Aaron Kafer, who
declined to give specifics about
security measures being taken.
"Our message to the public is
that, if you see something, say
Stephanie Riedel, who trav-
eled to the pot celebration from
Pittsburgh, said she was danc-
ing with a hula hoop when she
heard pops. A man ran past her,
then she said the crowd started
screaming and running away.
She was about 20 feet from the
shooting and heard four or five
"I couldn't make sense of
what it was at first," she said.
"We were all having a good time
and I was in the mindframe of,
we're here at a peace gathering.
I thought it some guys playing."j
Rapper LUP Flip was per-1
forming when the shootings
Aerial footage showed the
massive crowd frantically run-
ning from the park.
Ian Bay, who was skate-
boarding through Civic Center
Park when shots erupted, said
he was listening to music on his
headphones when he looked to
his right and saw a swarm of
hundreds of people running at
"I sort of panicked. I thought
I was going through an anxiety
thing because so many people
were coming after me," he said.
Before the shooting, reggae
music filled the air, and so did
the smell of marijuana, as cele-
brants gathered by mid-morning
in the park just beside the state
Group smoke-outs were
planned Saturday from New
York to San Francisco. The ori-
gins of the number "420" as a
code for pot are murky, but the
drug's users have for decades
marked the date 4/20 asa day to
use pot together.