IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

U.N. curbs staff after Kabul bombing

The United Nations said on Thursday it had restricted movements of its staff in Kabul after a suicide bombing killed at least 12 people, while the Taliban said it had 45 more suicide attackers awaiting orders to strike.
/ Source: Reuters

The United Nations said on Thursday it had restricted movements of its staff in Kabul after a suicide bombing killed at least 12 people, while the Taliban said it had 45 more suicide attackers awaiting orders to strike.

Wednesday’s bombing at a military training center set up by U.S.-led forces to train a new national army killed at least 12 Afghans, most of them army officers. It was the worst suicide attack in the capital since the Taliban’s 2001 overthrow.

The Taliban claimed responsibility and vowed more.

U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards said U.N. staff in the city, already under night-time curfew, had been placed on restricted movement as a precaution.

“While we are assessing the situation, there is restricted movement on staff,” he said.

The security office serving non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan has advised against unnecessary movement and told staff to stay on high alert.

In Wednesday’s attack, a suicide bomber in army uniform rammed a motorcycle into a convoy of buses carrying Afghan army officers in the eastern part of the city, opposite a base of NATO-led peacekeepers.

The bombing came 10 days after landmark parliamentary elections, which passed off relatively peacefully despite militant threats. There has been a surge in violence since then.

Afghan officials said 12 people had been killed, all Afghans.

Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi claimed 20 deaths and said most of the victims were foreigners.

“Most of them were foreign soldiers and officers but their Afghan slaves are covering this up,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Iraqi-style tactics?
Hakimi vowed more attacks on foreign forces and said 45 suicide bombers were ready and awaiting orders from Taliban commanders.

“American and British forces are our first target and then we will launch attacks on others,” he said.

The attack has again raised fears that insurgents may be importing Iraqi-style tactics into Afghanistan.

Newsweek magazine this month quoted a Taliban commander as saying he had been to Iraq for training and wanted to make use of the expertise acquired there in Afghanistan.

While Kabul has seen several suicide attacks on foreign peacekeepers and civilians since the Taliban’s overthrow, it has been spared the extent of Islamic militant violence seen in Iraq.

But 2006 has seen a surge in violence in the troubled south and east where the Taliban and their allies are most active and roadside bomb attacks of the type seen in Iraq have become an almost daily occurrence.

More than 1,000 people, most of them insurgents, have died so far this year in the bloodiest period since U.S.-led forces drove out the Taliban for refusing to give up al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities.

The dead include more than 50 U.S. troops killed in combat, the bloodiest period so far for U.S. forces in the country.