Bombing Kills 9 Police Officers In Northern Afghanistan

Bombing Kills 9 Police Officers In Northern Afghanistan
April 17th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Bombing Kills 9 Police Officers In Northern Afghanistan

Bombing Kills 9 Police Officers In Northern Afghanistan
New York Times
April 17, 2007
By Carlotta Gall
KABUL, Afghanistan, April 16 — A suicide bomber struck a group of police officers in the normally peaceful north of Afghanistan on Monday, killing nine policemen and wounding 25, officials said.
“According to eyewitnesses, the suicide bomber was wearing a black turban and ran toward our policemen, who were exercising on the main road outside their base, and blew himself up,” said Muhammad Omar, the governor of Kunduz Province. No civilians were harmed, he said.
The attack happened just before 9 a.m. outside a district police station in the city of Kunduz. Northern Afghanistan is generally much more peaceful than the south and southeast of the country where insurgents are operating, but there has been a steady trickle of attacks on aid workers and occasionally on NATO troops stationed in the north.
Kunduz Province suffered one suicide bombing last year, and the police thwarted two others, said Muhammad Ayub Salangi, the provincial police chief.
The governor said the police had recently caught a man with remote control equipment who was planning attacks in the area. He added that there was still some sympathy for the Taliban in the area, which was once the Taliban center of operations in the north.
Hayatullah Khan, who is believed to be a Taliban commander, claimed responsibility for the Taliban for the bombing on Monday, Reuters reported. He also said more bombers were ready to strike. “They are present in all Afghan cities and waiting for orders,” he said.
The attack was the third suicide bombing in Afghanistan in three days. All were aimed at police officers and security guards and seem to be part of a trend in recent weeks toward more suicide attacks and roadside bombs, kidnappings and even drive-by shootings of people working with foreign troops.
While there has been fighting in several provinces, in particular in Helmand in the south and the border provinces of Zabul and Paktika, the Taliban do not seem to be staging a conventional offensive so much as mounting smaller individual attacks aimed at sapping public morale, said Gen. Zaher Azimi, spokesman for the Defense Ministry.
Also on Monday, the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch published a study detailing the growing human cost of the Taliban insurgency and the devastating psychological toll the violence is taking on the population. Civilian deaths from insurgent attacks skyrocketed in the last 15 months, the report said.
Attacks by the Taliban and other insurgent groups accounted for nearly 700 deaths, while at least 230 civilians died in operations of the American-led coalition or NATO. The report labeled some of the Taliban attacks war crimes because they aimed directly at civilians.
It also said some coalition and NATO operations broke the rules of war. Although there was no evidence that coalition forces intentionally singled out civilians, the report said, they have conducted a number of indiscriminate attacks and failed to take adequate precautions to protect citizens.
Hundreds more civilians suffered serious injuries, including burns, severe lacerations, broken bones and severed limbs, the report said. Suicide bombings soared to at least 136 in 2006, from 21 in 2005. Bombings and arson at schools doubled in 2006.
The violence has continued this year, with 25 armed attacks resulting in civilian casualties in the first two months of 2007. The attacks, including suicide bombings, kidnappings and executions, killed at least 52 civilians and wounded 83 more, the report said.
“Trends are worsening dramatically,” said Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch during a visit to Kabul. “Insurgent attacks are clearly increasing and the number of civilians getting killed is clearly increasing too.”
The kidnapping and killing of aid workers, teachers and government employees, which the Taliban have often claimed responsibility for, implicates Taliban leaders in war crimes, Human Rights Watch said. The Taliban say the victims are spies.

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