Suicide car bomb kills 41 in central Kabul
* Not to worry: suicide bombing is “un-Islamic”- and anyhow, its only a tiny minority of extremists who misunderstand their peaceful religion, right?
Blast near Indian Embassy reportedly deadliest in capital since Taliban’s fall
updatedÂ 12:43 a.m. ET July 8, 2008
KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide car bomb outside the Indian Embassy killed 41 people and wounded nearly 150 others Monday, ripping through the building’s reinforced walls and scattering bodies and pools of blood across some of Kabul’s most protected streets.
Like other recent high-profile attacks, Afghanistan quickly blamed Pakistan, India’s archrival, for the blast, which was the deadliest in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
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The bomb detonated only 30 yards from where dozens of Afghans line up to apply for visas, one of the reasons the casualties were so high. Women and children browsing nearby shops were among the victims who lay on the ground, bloodied and in agony, crying for help. Debris covered the pavement, including sandals, a wrecked bicycle and heaps of twisted metal.
The embassy is on a busy, tree-lined street near Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry that is protected on both ends by police, though the checkpoints are easily driven past. The 8:30 a.m. explosion rattled much of Kabul and kicked up gray dust that shrouded the bodies of the dead and enveloped the survivors â€” a monochromatic coating broken only by the crimson blood of the wounded. The blast blew clothing off many victims.
Karzai condemns bombing
President Hamid Karzai condemned the bombing and said it was carried out by militants trying to rupture the Afghan-India friendship. He told the Indian prime minister during a phone conversation that Afghanistan would do all it could do identify the attackers.
The Afghan Interior Ministry hinted that the attack was carried out with help from Pakistan’s intelligence service, saying the blast happened “in coordination and consultation with some of the active intelligence circles in the region.”
A spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the bombing. The Pakistan foreign minister said his country condemned the attack and all terrorism.
The bombing showed that Afghanistan is also a theater for the struggle between longtime rivals India and Pakistan.
“These attacks seem designed to sabotage any improvement of relations between Pakistan and either of its two neighbors, India and Afghanistan, to assure that Pakistan has no alternative but to continue to support militant organizations as part of its foreign policy,” said Barnett Rubin, an Afghanistan expert at New York University.
At Kabul’s hospitals, anguished parents railed against the Afghan government.
“Where is the security?” cried Mirwais, a father of four who knew that two of his children had been killed. Before heading to another hospital to search for his other two children, he shouted obscenities at Karzai.
Moments later, a woman ran outside screaming, crying and hitting her face with both hands. Her son and daughter had been killed. “Oh my God!” the woman screamed. “They are both dead!”
Zemeri Bashary, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said 41 people were killed and 147 wounded in the blast. Six police officers and three embassy guards were among the dead.
In New Delhi, India’s foreign minister said four Indians, including the military attache and a diplomat, were killed.
The blast also killed five Afghan security guards at the nearby Indonesian Embassy, where windows were shattered and doors and gates broken. Two diplomats were slightly wounded, Indonesia’s foreign ministry said.
CONTINUED : Condolences from Washington