KABUL, Afghanistan - The Associated Press
Scores of police manned checkpoints around Afghanistan's capital yesterday after authorities ordered more than 7,000 officers to secure Kabul ahead of the country's Independence Day, an indication of how militants pose a growing threat to the capital.The rest of the country saw a surge in violence. Officials said several clashes in Afghanistan's south and east killed 73 Taliban fighters and five private security guards, while a roadside blast killed 10 policemen.The Interior Ministry said the beefed-up police force in the capital would search buildings as well as cars to "create an environment of trust and prevent any disruptive actions by the enemy."The security increase comes a day before the country celebrates the 89th anniversary of its independence from Britain. Any breach of security during the celebration would be an embarrassment for President Hamid Karzai's government.In April, gunmen fired on Karzai at a military parade in Kabul, killing three people, including a lawmaker.Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said more than 5,000 extra police had been drafted for what he described as the biggest operation of its kind in Kabul since 2001, when U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban government.Teams of police stopped vehicles at checkpoints around the city. Kabul so far has been spared the drumbeat of violence that has afflicted other parts of the country, though it suffered spectacular bomb attacks this year against an international hotel and the Indian Embassy.