2 Afghan generals fired, to stand trial over academy assault

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By AMIR SHAH
Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Two Afghan generals and five other army officers have been fired and charged with negligence in connection with last week's deadly assault on a military academy in which 11 soldiers were killed, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

Ministry spokesman Daulat Waziri told The Associated Press that the seven officers will be tried in a military court. He did not offer further details.

Afghanistan's Islamic State affiliate claimed the Jan. 29 attack in Kabul, which also wounded 16 soldiers. A suicide bomber struck the military unit guarding the academy, which set off a gunbattle. Two attackers were killed in the fighting, two blew themselves up and one was arrested.

Separately, Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said five civilians have been arrested in connection with a Jan. 21 assault on the Intercontinental Hotel, which killed 44 people, including several foreigners, and a Jan. 27 suicide bombing that killed 103 people.

The suicide bombing occurred in an area known as the Green Zone, which signposts proclaim is protected by "a ring of steel." The explosives were concealed in an ambulance which was able to slip past a security checkpoint.

In a separate development, Waziri said that 162 army generals were retired last week.

He said the generals had all reached the retirement age of 60 and some had served in Afghanistan's military for as long as 40 years. Battered by decades of war, the military has had several incarnations under a variety of governments.

Jawed Khoistani, a military analyst, warned that a clean sweep of Afghanistan's experienced military personnel could hinder the current war effort.

"The country is at war and we need professional officers, many of whom were among the 162 who were retired," he said, adding that some of the generals should be retained as instructors.

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Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon contributed to this report.

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