California man killed in Taliban truck bombing in Afghanistan

A LinkedIn photo shows California man Manoharan "Paul" Kamaleson, who was killed in a truck bombing claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, officials said on Jan. 16, 2019. LinkedIn

A California man was among those killed in a powerful truck bomb attack against a heavily fortified foreign compound in Kabul this week, officials said Wednesday, as the government continued investigating the blast site. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the bomb which detonated near the Green Village compound in east Kabul on Monday. Afghan authorities have said at least four people were killed and 113 wounded.

On Wednesday an official at the U.S. embassy in Kabul said an American citizen was among the fatalities, but gave no further information.

CBS Los Angeles identified the slain American 55-year-old Manoharan "Paul" Kamaleson, of Arcadia. CBS L.A. quoted authorities who had been informed by Kamaleson's family that he was among the victims.

Kamaleson was the chief operating officer of The First MicroFinance Bank in Afghanistan, and was doing development work in the country alongside non-governmental organizations. 

The powerful blast ripped through surrounding neighbourhoods, shattering the windows of surrounding houses and shops.

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It came as U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visits the region for meetings aimed at bringing an end to the 17-year war in Afghanistan, which by some estimates was the world's deadliest conflict zone in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have carried out near-daily attacks targeting Afghan forces, as U.S. policy in Afghanistan appears headed for a significant change. While the U.S. pushes for a negotiated truce between the Afghan government and the Taliban, President Trump indicated he will halve the number of American forces in the country. 

CBS News correspondent David Martin reported before Christmas that the Pentagon was ordered to start planning the withdrawal of roughly 7,000 troops from the war-torn country -- almost half of which remains under Taliban control.

The former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has warned that withdrawing so many of the U.S. forces from the country would reduce the incentive for the Taliban to negotiate a peace deal after more than 17 years of war. Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal said the U.S. had, "basically traded away the biggest leverage point we have."


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