Insecurity in Afghanistan
Insecurity grows in the northern Afghan provinces, spared until now
LE MONDE | 21.05.07 | 14h57 • Mis à jour le 21.05.07 | 14h57
Our Correspondent in Islamabad
Violence has doubled in Afghanistan where a week after the announcement of the death of one of their military chiefs, Mollah Dadullah, the Taliban claimed credit for two suicide bombings that on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 May killed 24 and wounded 50. Fourteen Afghan civilians were killed on Sunday in Gardez (southeast Afghanistan), two hours by car from Kabul when a man detonated his payload in a market after a US military convoy went by.
On Saturday in Kunduz (north) another man detonated his payload near a group of German soldiers who had stopped to shop. Three German soldiers and seven Afghan civilians were killed. These two suicide bombings follow three others that took place Thursday 17 May in Kandahar (South), killing nine and wounding eleven others, including the Afghan Information Minister Abdu al-Karim Khoram.
These bombings, where are less and less the prerogative of the south of the country where the Taliban are the most active, seem to confirm the desire of the militia's leaders to spread their struggle to the rest of the country. The bombing in Kunduz, the most serious since 2003 against German troops, 3,000 of which are deployed in the northern provinces follows another a month ago with killed nine Afghan police in training in a similar manner.
The Province of Paktia, of which Gardez is the capital, is also the prey of increasing insecurity. In this region, the influence of the Taliban, commanded by former Mujahedeen commandant Jalauddeen Haqqani, is asserted more and more.
For its part, NATO is multiplying its operations and has made pubic claims of impressive progress that is impossible to veryify. In a communiqué, NATO claimed to have “driven off or killed more than 100 enemy combatants" over the last two days in the eastern command zone that includes the Provinces of Paktia and Ghazni, where, according to Afghan security forces, “30 Taliban were killed” on Saturday. The Afghan security forces, who are participating in growing numbers in operations, are also taking very heavy casualties, but this is also unverifiable.
Since the beginning of the year, according to calculations from different sources, more than 1,600 people were killed in circumstances linked to the ongoing conflict. Civilians are paying a heavy price and the Red Cross stated on Sunday that 2,000 people are homeless following bombardment by coalition forces led by the United States, which at the end of April struck 14 villages in the Shindand District (west), killing 50 civilians.