Violence has flared again in Afghanistan as the EU’s foreign policy chief arrived to assure Kabul of Europe’s continuing backing. Javier Solana’s message is that the EU supports efforts to stabilise Afghanistan ahead of the presidential election next month. But as his visit began, eight people died in two suicide bombings in eastern Patika province.
Violence has surged in Afghanistan since international forces went on the offensive against the Taliban in southern Helmand province. It has led some to question whether the presidential election will have any credibility, with much of the country outside the government’s control. Britain announced the death of yet another soldier in Helmand, killed by a roadside bomb. He is the 18th to die in July alone, taking the total number of British losses in Afghanistan to 187 since operations began in 2001.