Development News from Afghanistan

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Six years on, terrorism a daily threat: Afghanistan

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by Sardar Ahmad
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

KABUL (AFP) – Terrorism is a daily threat in Afghanistan six years after the 9/11 attacks that led the United States to topple the Taliban, the government said Tuesday on the anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks.

Despite achievements there are significant threats, presidential spokesman Homayun Hamidzada told reporters, citing in particular a suicide bombing in the southern province of Helmand on Monday that killed 29 people.

It was one of the deadliest since 2001 when the Taliban launched an insurgency after being toppled from government in a US-led invasion launched after the hardliners did not hand over Al-Qaeda leaders following 9/11.

Another suicide bombing in the same province on Tuesday tore through a convoy delivering supplies to NATO troops. Two Afghan civilian drivers were killed and eight people wounded, the interior ministry said.

“Since then (9/11), we have had significant achievements but the threat from terrorism still remains,” Hamidzada told a regular weekly news briefing in the capital, Kabul.

“We still face terrorism on a daily basis,” he said.

Attacks like the one Monday in Helmand’s Gereshk town “show if terrorism is not addressed, if it is not dried up at its roots, it’ll threaten peace and stability in the country and the region,” he said.

President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday condemned the attack saying the aim was to thwart development in Helmand, the main producer of Afghanistan’s illegal opium which makes up 93 percent of world supply.

In a statement, he said “terrorists and drug smugglers, working with each other, attack police and innocent children so the government can’t achieve its development projects in Helmand.”

UN and other officials say that the Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban insurgency is in part funded by profits from the drugs trade.

The presidential spokesman also referred to a new UN report that cited an unidentified Taliban commander saying 80 percent of the men who carried out suicide attacks in Afghanistan had been trained or equipped in Pakistan.

“Once again, here we see where the roots of terror are based,” Hamidzada said.

Many Afghan and some Western officials insist the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders are in Pakistan and from there organise the uprising against the government and attacks on its Western allies.

Islamabad says it is doing what it can to fight extremism within its borders.

Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders are believed to have fled into Pakistan after a US-led coalition unleashed the invasion on October 7, 2001.

The extremist Taliban vowed in a statement Tuesday to launch a new wave of attacks on government and Western military targets throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan due to start on Thursday.

An operation code-named “Nasrat”, which means victory in Arabic, would include suicide bombings, roadside explosions and other attacks “throughout the country,” the statement read to AFP by Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said.

The threat comes a day after Ahmadi said his group was ready for peace talks offered by Karzai’s government.

Hamidzada reiterated the offer Tuesday, adding that the government would not arrest any of the Taliban negotiators.

Insurgency-linked unrest has spiralled this year to claim more than 5,000 lives, according to an AFP count based on reports, with the violence focused in southern and eastern areas adjoining Pakistan.

Nearly 4,000 of the dead are militants themselves.


Written by afghandevnews

September 11, 2007 at 1:13 am

Posted in Security

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