Kabul: Firing rockets and carrying out a
suicide attack, Taliban on Wednesday made a failed bid to disrupt a
conference of tribal leaders called by President Hamid Karzai
to evolve ways to bring peace in Afghanistan.
Karzai and Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad were among
nearly 1,500 people who escaped unhurt in the incident in
which two attackers were killed and five Afghan security
personnel were injured.
As soon as Karzai arrived to address the `jirga`, two
rockets zoomed past the huge tent where the delegates,
including several diplomats, were present and landed around a
km away, sources said.
Unfazed by it, Karzai went ahead with the programme,
urging the tribal leaders to suggest ways by which the war
could be ended and peace bestowed in the country.
While he was winding up his speech, two suicide bombers
exploded just about 200 metres away from the venue, shaking
even the podium.
Sources said the bombers were trying to reach the jirga
venue but when stopped, they blew themselves up.
A Presidential Guard, two personnel of Afghan National
Directorate of Security (intelligence unit) and two Afghan
army personnel were injured in the attack, they said.
Two Taliban terrorists were hiding in a house nearby and
security forces engaged them, injuring one seriously and
arresting the other, they said.
About 12,000 security personnel had been deployed for
protection of the jirga in apprehension of trouble.
The Taliban have already rubbished the jirga, saying it
was a propaganda stunt. They say no peace talks can be held
till US-led forces leave the country.
The three-day jirga has been called by Karzai to discuss
whether there could be reconciliation and reintegration of
Taliban in the mainstream as part of efforts to end the war.
"We need a national consultation, a peace consultation
all over Afghanistan," Karzai said at the conference.
"The Afghan nation is looking at you. They await your
decisions, your advice so that you can show the Afghan nation
the way to reach peace, to rescue Afghanistan from this
suffering and pain," he told the delegates.