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Violence Leaves 60 Dead in Afghanistan
COMBINED NEWS SERVICES
August 14, 2003
Kabul, Afghanistan - In one of Afghanistan's deadliest days in more than a year,
about 60 people were killed yesterday and dozens wounded in outbreaks of
violence across the country, officials said.
In the southern province of Helmand, an explosion ripped through a bus, killing
15, including six children.
Elsewhere, at least 21 people died after heavy fighting erupted between
government soldiers and Taliban remnants in Khost province near the Pakistani
The deaths were part of a trend of stepped-up attacks and killings that are
increasing the pressure on the fragile Afghan government and creating an
atmosphere of constant fear in the country.
In addition, two students died making a homemade bomb and 20 to 25 men were
killed in a feud in southern Uruzgan province between rival commanders both
loyal to President Hamid Karzai's government.
Officials were quick to blame al- Qaida insurgents and Taliban loyalists for the
explosion that destroyed the bus.
"The Taliban do not want peace in the country. They don't want a government to
be established. That's why they want to create instability and make the people
of Afghanistan afraid," Ghulam Mahauddin, a district administrator, told The
Associated Press by telephone.
Villager Sheir Ali said he heard the blast. "When we came closer, we saw many
dead bodies," he said. "We helped carry three injured people to hospital."
Mahauddin said it appeared the bomb had gone off accidentally inside the bus and
may have been intended for an attack on independence celebrations next week in
Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province.
Helmand was a main bastion of the Taliban until its overthrow and has been hit
by several bloody attacks by a resurgent Taliban guerrilla movement in recent
In the southeastern province of Khost, border forces said they had killed 16
Taliban and al-Qaida guerrillas repulsing a major attack in which five border
policemen also were killed.
Border police officer Major Ghafar said the insurgents used heavy guns, rifles,
mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to attack a base used by a border
battalion east of Khost.
"The Taliban attack has been foiled. But we are continuing our mopping up," he
Ghafar described it as the biggest attack in the area since the Taliban fell.
The violence comes despite the presence in Afghanistan of a 12,500-member
U.S.-led coalition pursuing Taliban and al-Qaida remnants, and NATO, commanding
a 5,000-member peacekeeping force in Kabul