Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004
Many Children Among Victims in Deadly Afghan Attack
I found this story disturbing for a number of reasons ... the obvious harm to the children, of course. But, within this story, the U.S. and Afgan authorities say the Taliban did it ... The Taliban says, no, we kill people, but not civilians, (which I tend to believe!) But which, of course, may or may not be true!
However, if the U.S. thinks it is, and it isn't, then that means (as usual) we don't know who's causing the havoc over there, now, and therefore, we can't possibly know who to target to fight! My question is, if this is indicative of our "fight against terror" just how badly are we losing it? And will the U.S. ever have a clue about what to do about those who have declared a "jihad" against us?
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A powerful explosion in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens, two days after the country adopted a new constitution aimed at healing the wounds from decades of bloodshed.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack as an "act of cruelty and barbarism" and said it would only strengthen his resolve to fight terrorism in Afghanistan.
A statement from his office said at least eight children were among the dead and 58 people were wounded in the explosion, which officials called a "terrorist attack."
But a spokesman for the ousted Taliban militia, linked to a wave of violence in recent months, denied involvement.
A Reuters reporter at the scene saw the bodies of three young men. Pools of blood, shoes and a turban littered the blast site.
"At first there was a small explosion in which a child was injured," said local witness Gulalai. "When people gathered to help the child, the big explosion happened."
General Abdul Wasi, spokesman for the corps commander of Kandahar province, told Reuters the blast was a "terrorist act."
""The majority of victims were school children. This was a very bad incident," he said.
Doctors at a nearby hospital were treating at least 29 people, 18 of them with serious wounds. They said the majority of the victims were children between seven and 15 years old.
Kandahar Corps commander Khan Mohammad Khan told Reuters one man had been detained on suspicion of coordinating the explosion. Around 50 U.S. and Afghan soldiers quickly sealed off the area.
Rival Afghan factions agreed on a new national constitution on Sunday, clearing the way for the country's first free elections after nearly a quarter of a century of war.
METHOD USED BEFORE
The method of the attack was similar to one used last September 2002 when dozens of people who rushed to help those injured in a blast in Kabul were killed by a second larger one.
Later that same day, Karzai narrowly escaped with his life when a man opened fire on his vehicle in Kandahar.
Kandahar, a bleak and dusty city, is the former bastion of the ousted Taliban, which has declared a "jihad," or holy war on foreign and Afghan soldiers and aid workers. Several attacks have been staged there on aid groups and civilians in recent months.
In early December, at least 18 people were wounded in an explosion in a crowded Kandahar market, an attack blamed by the authorities on the Taliban but denied by the hardline Islamic militia toppled from power by U.S.-led forces in late 2001.
A Taliban official, speaking by satellite phone, said the militia had nothing to do with the latest incident.
"The Taliban does not target civilians," he said. "We condemn this attack in which civilians have been killed and injured."
But Tuesday's blast will raise fresh fears that Islamic militants from the Taliban and al Qaeda network it once sheltered are still capable of undermining stability.
The Taliban has threatened to step up attacks in Afghan cities, and said they carried out a suicide bombing in Kabul just over a week ago that killed five security officials.
A wave of bloodshed mainly in the south and east of the country since early August has claimed more than 400 lives, including many rebels.
Around 12,000 U.S.-led troops are hunting remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda and 5,700 international peacekeepers are based mainly in the capital. The U.S. military has a large base at Kandahar airport, outside the city.
Free your mind, and the rest will follow.