Posts tagged Afghanistan
Afghanistan suffers day of bloodshed at hands of Nato and Taliban
Thirty civilians killed by suicide bombers in market and air strike that wiped out village wedding party, say officials
Civilians are regular victims of the fighting that now affects most of Afghanistan, and last year a record number of innocent people were killed, according to UN data, but it is unusual for both parties in the conflict to exact such a toll within the span of a few hours.
In the southern city of Kandahar, a bomber struck in a market near the gates of a large military airbase. As crowds gathered at the site of the attack, a second man drove up on a motorbike and detonated another suicide vest. Together they killed 21 civilians and injured at least 50, the provincial police chief, Abdul Razzaq, said.
In Logar province, which lies south of Kabul but near the eastern border with Pakistan, a Nato air attack on a village home killed up to 18 civilians who had gathered to celebrate a wedding, local government and security officials said.
The attack targeted Taliban fighters who had taken shelter in the house, but among the bodies that angry villagers brought to the provincial capital were at least five women and seven children, according to a photographer from the Associated Press who saw the dead.
It is not clear whether the insurgents sought permission to enter the house, or forced their way in at gunpoint. There were also at least half a dozen militants among those killed, the police and intelligence services said, but villagers were only mourning their own dead.
“Last night in Baraki Barak district there was fighting between the Taliban and foreigners and the Taliban hid themselves in the house of a man called Basir Akhunzada, an elder of the people,” said Abdul Wali, the chief of the Logar provincial council, who discussed the bombing by phone from Logar.
“Akhundzada was killed, his brother Qayoum Akhunzada, Qayoum’s wife. Altogether 18 civilians from his family were killed.”
An official from the provincial governor’s office confirmed that 18 civilians died. “Not all the people were from his immediate family, because there was a wedding ceremony going on, so there were many relatives staying there,” said adviser Mirwais Mir Zakhwal.
Nato forces said they had requested an air strike in Baraki Barak after troops were attacked with guns and rocket-propelled grenades, but listed “multiple insurgents” as the only dead. A spokesman said the Nato-led coalition was looking into allegations of civilian casualties.
“We are still looking into the circumstances to try and understand what took place there, and the nature of the casualties,” said Lieutenant Commander Brian Badura.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Kandahar but said it was aimed at the base, Nato’s largest headquarters in the south, and claimed they killed only foreigners. But the bombers targeted an area with a bazaar and bus station where there are few foreigners. Afghan security and health officials said the dead and injured were all Afghans.
Pictured:Afghan villagers gather at a house destroyed in a Nato raid in Logar province. Photograph: Ihsanullah Majroh/AP