“Suicide Attack Kills 36 in Afghanistan”

18 Feb ’08

Another day, another nightmare.

In the second serious attack in southern Afghanistan in two days, a suicide bomber set off an explosion as he drove his car near a convoy of Canadian troops on Monday in a crowded street in the border town of Spin Boldak, killing 36 civilians and wounding 38.

The governor of Kandahar Province, Asadullah Khaled, called it a cataclysm for the Afghan people. Three or four Canadian soldiers, part of the NATO security force in Afghanistan, were injured in the blast but the brunt of the explosion was felt by civilians, mainly street vendors and people selling fruit on pushcarts beside the road, he said. Several shops also caught fire in the town, the main border crossing to Pakistan, he said.

At a news briefing later in the day, Mr. Khaled lashed out at Canadian forces for patrolling in crowded places when there was a known suicide bomb threat in the area.

He said the Afghan security forces had received information that a suicide bombing was planned and had warned the Canadian military, but he complained they did not heed the warnings.

“We told NATO six times not to come in these areas because for the last two days a suicide bomber has been circulating,” Mr. Khaled said at a news briefing in the city of Kandahar. “But they continue patrolling the area. We repeatedly told them not to come out until we arrest the suicide bomber.”

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