At least 35 die in wave of bombings across Afghanistan


KABUL – At least 35 people, including seven Nato soldiers, were killed in a string of roadside bombs and clashes on Sunday, one of the most violent days in the country for months. A bomb killed six Nato troops in the east, the coalition said without elaborating, after an insurgent attack in the south killed one foreign soldier.

Twenty-eight Afghan civilians and police were killed in southern Kandahar and Helmand provinces, officials said.

The Taliban said early on Sunday that a roadside bomb had killed four American soldiers in eastern Logar province. The exact location of the six dead Nato soldiers in the east was not immediately clear. Three bombs hit three vehicles in Kandahar – the birthplace of the Taliban, where the group has substantial sway and enjoys popular support – killing 18 people, including children.

“Villagers were travelling in a minivan and a tractor when they were hit by twin roadside bombs planted by the Taliban,” the provincial governor’s spokesman, Ahmad Faisal, said of the attack in Spin Boldak near the border with Pakistan.

A third bomb then killed a family of four in Arghistan district, also straddling the Pakistan border, local officials said. Two policemen were killed by a bomb to the west of Kandahar in southern Helmand province, where clashes with militants killed a further four officers, the Helmand media office said.

Meanwhile, locals have vowed to avenge the public execution of a woman last month in front of a large crowd not far from Kabul.

The Taliban has denied involvement in the killing in Parwan province in which an unnamed woman’s head and body were riddled with bullets at close range in punishment for alleged adultery.

Authorities in Kabul directly blamed the Islamist group.

“We will take revenge for this. Their brutality and such inhumane acts are why we hate the Taliban,” said a shopkeeper in Charikar, provincial capital of Parwan about 25km south of Shinwari, where the killing took place.

The execution was recorded in a three-minute video, obtained by Reuters, which shows a woman in a shawl being repeatedly shot in front of about 150 men perched on a hill, who cheer and praise the attackers, calling them mujahideen, a term the Taliban call themselves.

Nato’s top commander in Afghanistan, US Gen John Allen, called the killing “an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty”.

The US embassy in Kabul, condemning the public execution in the “strongest possible terms”, said the hard-won gains of Afghan women in the last 10 years must be protected. – (Reuters)