Karzai: Car Bombing Kills 9, Wounds 19 in S. Afghanistan

Posted February 5th, 2012 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has strongly condemned a deadly car bombing that happened Sunday outside a police headquarters in southern Afghanistan.

According to the president's official Facebook page, a vehicle filled with explosives killed nine people and wounded another 19 at the police station in Kandahar city. Previous reports quoted Afghan officials as saying the bombing killed five officers and two civilians.

Mr. Karzai said only a “desperate enemy” would resort to such “coward acts of terror” and that it will not help their cause. The NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan also joined President Karzai in condemning the violence.

While no one has claimed responsibility so far, Kandahar has long been a stronghold for the Afghan Taliban, and such attacks are a common tactic used by the insurgency.

On Saturday, a new United Nations report blamed the Taliban for more than 2,300 civilian deaths last year, compared to just 410 civilian deaths by NATO or the Afghan security forces. On Sunday, the Taliban rejected the report as politically biased.

The report said that more than 3,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year. That makes 2011 the fifth year in a row that civilian casualties increased, jumping 8 percent from 2010.

Taliban negotiators are reported to have been holding preliminary talks with U.S. officials in Qatar on plans for peace negotiations to end the decade-long war.

In northern Afghanistan, police officials say an American soldier allegedly shot and killed a local guard outside a military base, apparently because the American thought the guard was to going to attack him. Officials called last Thursday's incident in Sari Pul province a “misunderstanding.”

A NATO representative refused to comment to the French news agency, saying an investigation is ongoing.

The incident comes less than two weeks after an Afghan soldier shot dead four unarmed French troops at a base in eastern Afghanistan.