Five killed in northern Afghanistan market bombing
Last Updated: Friday, August 27, 2010, 15:38
Kabul: A roadside bomb tore through a crowded market in Afghanistan's increasingly volatile north, killing three policemen and two civilians, a police official said Friday.

Another 15 civilians were wounded yesterday in Kunduz province's Archi town. The blast went off as residents were shopping for foods ahead of breaking the dawn-to-dusk fast observed during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but deputy provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Aqtash said civilians appear to have been the target.

"This was a cruel act of the enemy. There was nothing to link these people to the coalition or to politics," Aqtash said. Kunduz, about 150 miles (240 kilometres) north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, has not traditionally been a stronghold of the Taliban, who enjoy their greatest support among ethnic Pashtuns in the country's southern and eastern provinces.

However, insurgents have been steadily building their presence there since about 2007, mostly among Pashtuns who are a minority in the area. Attacks on a key coalition supply line running south from Tajikistan are a constant menace, along with ambushes of German forces who help provide security.

In establishing a northern foothold, Afghan authorities believe the Taliban use veterans from southern battlefields to help organise local groups, sometimes with help from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which provides recruits from among the Uzbek minority.

"The situation is very bad and dangerous in Kunduz but unfortunately the security officials keep saying things are all right," Mabubullah Mabub, chairman of the Kunduz provincial council, told The Associated Press yesterday. "Over the last two years, the situation has been getting worse."

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, August 27, 2010, 15:38

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