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UN criticises Afghan insurgents

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By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kabul
Wednesday, 11 July 2007

The United Nations in Afghanistan has accused insurgents of acting with a “staggering disregard” for civilian lives and “perpetrating mass murder”.

The statement comes a day after a suicide bombing in the south of the country killed 17 people.

The Afghan interior ministry said 12 of the dead were school children.

The bomber blew himself up in a crowded marketplace in Uruzgan province near a convoy of Nato-led international force (Isaf) wounding eight soldiers.

The UN secretary-general’s special representative in Kabul, Tom Koenigs, said that such disregard for “innocent lives” was staggering.

‘A mistake’

He said there had been heavy violation of international humanitarian laws and that there could be no excuse for this “mass murder”.

Mr Koenigs said the UN mission had repeatedly stressed the need for all sides to prevent civilian casualties.

Many civilians have also been killed in actions by international and Afghan government forces in recent months.

They have repeatedly said such deaths are a mistake.

Reports quote a Taleban rebel spokesman as saying the attack in Uruzgan was “bravely carried out by one of its fighters”.

Isaf described the attack as inhuman and despicable.

Reports said many children were caught in the explosion as they were leaving classes near a crowded bazaar in Dehrawood.

Less than a month ago, another suicide attack in the same province killed at least 10 people including a Dutch soldier.

More than 6,000 people have died in insurgency-related violence in the past 18 months.

Uruzgan was also the scene of heavy fighting last month between Afghan and foreign forces on the one hand and Taleban rebels on the other.

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Written by afghandevnews

July 11, 2007 at 10:08 pm

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