A roadside bombing in Afghanistan killed two members of a new US-funded civil defense force on Sunday while authorities destroyed 6.5 tons (6 metric tons) of drugs and chemicals seized in the battle against the rampant narcotics trade.
The two guards from the Afghan Public Protection Force were the first members of the new program to die in the line of duty, said Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman for Wardak province's governor. Three vehicles were patrolling in Nirkh district of Wardak when the explosion ripped through one truck, he said.
The program trains and equips villagers to provide security in their own areas. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Wardak last week to inspect the program and said early reviews were positive.
Gen. David McKiernan, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said this month that if the Wardak program is successful, the defense initiative will be expanded to other parts of the country.