New surge of violence in Afghanistan

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KABUL -- Violence raged across Afghanistan yesterday, a day after an insurgent bomb killed six American soldiers, part of a surge in attacks that has dealt a stark reminder that war is still raging as NATO plots an exit strategy for the end of 2014.

Militants launched suicide attacks Monday on two police headquarters and carried out other assaults that left 20 people dead -- three policemen, an Afghan prosecutor, two children and 14 attackers, according to officials.

At least 60 other people were wounded.

A day after donor nations meeting in Tokyo pledged $16 billion in aid, President Hamid Karzai and his top ministers said the pledges exceeded their expectations and sent a strong signal that the international community will not abandon Afghanistan even though foreign troops have started to leave.

It also sent a message to Karzai's adversaries in the Taliban and elsewhere, who are hoping his support will weaken once the foreign combat troops leave or move into support roles in 2 1/2 years.

Sunday was a particularly deadly day in Afghanistan. Roadside bombs and militant attacks killed seven American soldiers, 19 Afghan civilians and seven Afghan policemen.

German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said the six Americans were killed Sunday when their armored vehicle struck a bomb in eastern Afghanistan. He said a seventh American soldier was killed in a separate insurgent attack Sunday in the south.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for that attack in Wardak province, just south of Kabul. Coalition and Afghan forces are trying to secure areas of Wardak that insurgents use as a gateway into the Afghan capital, where they have staged high-profile attacks on Afghan government and NATO targets.

Yesterday's violence began when gunmen assassinated a chief prosecutor in eastern Ghazni province as he drove to work. Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, the deputy provincial governor, said Sahar Gul was shot twice.

Later in the day, three suicide bombers riding in a three-wheeled vehicle blew themselves up in Kandahar city, said Kandahar provincial spokesman Ahmad Jawed Faisal.

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Then nearly a dozen other suicide attackers tried to storm the police headquarters in Kandahar, but they failed to enter the compound, Faisal said.

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