Suicide Bombings Kill 22 in Southern Afghanistan

Posted June 6th, 2012 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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Officials in southern Afghanistan say suicide bombers have killed at least 22 civilians near a NATO air base.

Authorities say two bombers struck a parking area packed with truck drivers and others waiting to get into the facility in Kandahar province Wednesday. One attacker on a motorcycle set off the first blast, and as people rushed to help the victims, a second bomber on foot detonated his explosives near small shops.

At least 50 people were wounded in the blasts near the Kandahar Air Field, a massive base run by the U.S.-led coalition.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. NATO on Wednesday accused the Taliban of continuing to kill civilians, saying the group's actions are “the most serious threat to Afghanistan's sovereignty.”

In eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials say a NATO airstrike killed 18 civilians, including women and children, in Logar province.

NATO said “multiple insurgents” were killed during Wednesday's operation targeting a Taliban leader in the Baraki Barak district. The coalition said two women were also wounded in the airstrike, but did not mention any civilian deaths.

The coalition said the airstrike came after insurgents fired on a joint Afghan-coalition force that was trying to detain a Taliban leader.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released a report last week saying civilian casualties in Afghanistan remain at “unacceptably high levels.”

The continued violence has raised concerns about the ability of Afghan forces to handle security beyond 2014, when most NATO forces are planning to conclude their combat role.

NATO said Wednesday that two of its service members died in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. The coalition said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

And in northern Afghanistan, the World Food Program said Wednesday a convoy of 15 trucks carrying food supplies to school children was attacked in the Sheikh Ali district of Parwan province. The United Nations agency says all the drivers were safe, but that three of the trucks were burned Monday, in the first direct attack on a WFP convoy.

WFP says last year it provided food aid to seven million Afghans in all 34 provinces of the country.