Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

Kandahar blast kills at least 80

©

Latest update : 2008-02-17

At least 80 people were killed by an explosion at a picnic spot near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, witnesses said. FRANCE 24 correspondent Jerome Starkey reports.

A suicide blast tore through a crowd of men watching dog fighting in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar Sunday, killing 80 people and wounding dozens more, a provincial governor said.
   
The attack was the deadliest in Afghanistan since the 2001 fall of the Taliban regime, after a suicide bombing in the north in November last year killed 79 people -- most of them school children.
   
Officials blamed Taliban insurgents for Sunday's blast, which reverberated across the city, but the extremist group did not immediately claim responsibility.
   
Bodies and limbs lay among bloodied boots, clothes and mobile phones -- some of them ringing -- after the explosion, an AFP reporter said.
   
Provincial governor Assadullah Khalid told a press conference shortly afterwards that 60 bodies were taken to the city's main hospital, Mirwais, and 20 to other hospitals.
   
"This suicide attack was the work of Taliban, the enemies of Afghanistan," Khalid said.
   
"Lots of people have been wounded -- since they have been taken to different hospitals, we don't have a precise figure at this time," he said.
   
More than 500 people had gathered for the dog-fighting competition, said Abdul Karim, who had been in the crowd to take part in the popular winter pastime, which was banned from 1996 to 2001 under the Taliban government.
   
"Fighting had just started between two dogs. Suddenly I heard a huge explosion next to a police vehicle. Then I saw lots of people dead and wounded. I counted over 40 people on the ground dead," he told AFP.
   
Police reinforcements rushed to the scene as civilian and police cars and ambulances ferried the wounded to hospitals. A police officer who asked not to be identified said he had helped to evacuate more than 50 dead and wounded.
   
Witnesses said the attack bore the hallmarks of previous suicide bombings carried out by Taliban insurgents.
   
A spokesman for the group, Yousuf Ahmadi, said he could not yet comment on the blast.
   
Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai and head of the Kandahar provincial council, told AFP he had no doubt the attack had been carried out by the extremist movement.
   
"Who else would carry out suicide bombings? Obviously the Taliban are the ones carrying out suicide attacks," he said.
   
The blast was the biggest ever in Kandahar city, he added.
   
The Taliban, which rose from Kandahar province in the early 1990s, last year carried out around 140 suicide attacks across Afghanistan.
   
Kandahar city had seen a wave of suicide blasts and other attacks but the strikes tailed off last year.
   
The last significant attack in the city was in December when a suicide attacker blew up a bomb-filled car near an Afghan army convoy, killing a civilian.
   
A US aid worker was kidnapped in the city three weeks ago with her driver. No group has publicly admitted to the abduction including the Taliban, who captured dozens of foreigners and Afghans last year, killing some of them.
   
The last major attack on a crowd gathered for entertainment was in January 2006 when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up among men watching a wrestling match in the border town of Spin Boldak near Kandahar.
   
About 24 people were killed.
   
NATO-led and US military forces helping the government tackle the violence have been calling for reinforcements ahead of an expected surge in fighting as the weather warms in coming weeks.
   
Last year was the worst of the Taliban insurgency, with more than 6,000 people killed.

Date created : 2008-02-17

Comments

COMMENT(S)