Conflict & Justice

Afghanistan: Dozens killed in day of violence


US soldiers inspect the site of a suicide attack near the gate of Kandahar international airport on January 19, 2012. A suicide bomber killed at least seven people and wounded eight on January 19 in an attack at Kandahar international airport in war-torn southern Afghanistan, officials said.



At least 9 people were injured in eastern Afghanistan today, after two grenades exploded inside a mosque's compound during morning prayers.

The attack, which took place in eastern Khost province, came on the heels of Afghanistan's deadliest day this year so far. At least 50 people were killed as Taliban insurgents and their allies ramped up violence across the country.

The Associated Press reported that this morning, three grenades were thrown into the mosque compound in Baghi Sara area. Khost police chief Sardar Mohammad Zazai said that one exploded inside the mosque, one inside the courtyard, and the third failed to detonate. Many of those praying were Afghans who work at a nearby US base.  

"This was the work of the enemy," Zaizai said. "It cannot be a private dispute. Why would anyone be so angry to throw grenades in a mosque while people are praying?"

Along with the series of coordinated attacks on Tuesday, two district officials, including a district chief, were also killed in an insurgent ambush in Badakhshan province in the country's north.  

The violence adds to mounting concerns over the planned transition of security expected when foreign troops withdraw from the region in 2014.  

Reuters reported that yesterday's violence is the worst such attack seen in the entire Nimroz province since 2001. It comes amid an uptick of Taliban-lead violence throughout the country, reported the Guardian.

The Los Angeles Times cited a UN report saying that in the first half of the year, civillian war casualties fell by 15 percent as compared to the same period last year.  However, the advent of the warm-weather "fighting season" has seen an increase in violence across Afghanistan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for yesterday's attacks. According to the LA Times, the Taliban at times refrains from acknowledging having carried out suicide bombings and other strikes that kill large numbers of civilians.