International leaders denounced the Taliban-claimed attack on Afghan President Hamid Karzai, which left three dead during Victory Day celebrations in Kabul.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon led international condemnation of an extremist attack which saw Afghan President Hamid Karzai survive a hail of rockets and bullets that killed three people.
"I condemn in the strongest terms the attack against President Karzai that occurred at a victory parade in Kabul today," the UN secretary general said in a statement Sunday.
The extremist Taliban movement claimed responsibility for the attack which they said showed their ability to strike "wherever we want to" but also saw three gunmen shot dead by security forces, the Afghan defence ministry said.
"This attack against the legitimate institutions of the Afghan state and the Afghan people is unacceptable," Ban said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier slammed the "cowardly" and "odious" attack, vowing France's "resolute and constant" support for efforts to stabilize the country, in a latter to Karzai.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Karzai to express her "dismay" over the attack.
"The chancellor assured him that Germany will remain closely engaged by Afghanistan's side," Merkel's spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said in a statement.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani assured Afghanistan of his support to defeat the "common enemy" and overcome "terrorism and extremism."
"We are greatly relieved and grateful to Allah that no harm has come to His Excellency Hamid Karzai," he said, in a statement condemning the attack.
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee described the attack as "dastardly" and expressed relief that Karzai was unhurt.
He also "underscored the need for the international community to show zero tolerance for terrorism," a foreign ministry statement said.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier strongly condemned the "terrorist attack" in Kabul, saying in a statement: "This senseless act of violence injured and killed innocent Afghans, including civilians and security personnel."
"This attack will not deter us in our support for the Afghan people, President Karzai and the Afghan government," he said.
Ban also reaffirmed UN support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan "through legitimate state institutions, in a manner that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable and that provides both justice and security."
And he urged the international community and the Afghan government to continue their joint efforts towards these goals, "undeterred by vicious attacks such as the one today."
Karzai escaped unharmed Sunday after militants attacked a high-profile military parade with rockets and gunfire, killing three people including an MP and wounding around 10.
The annual Victory Day parade -- which normally includes a display of troops, tanks and aircraft -- is a show of might for the Afghan army, which was in ruins at the fall of the Taliban regime and is being rebuilt with international help, notably from the United States.
The attack was broadcast live on television and about an hour later Karzai appeared on camera to reassure the public and announce some of the attackers had already been caught.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said earlier it was clear the radical Taliban aimed to topple the Afghan government and terrorise those working to rebuild the war-ravaged country.
"This cannot and will not succeed," Steinmeier said.
Date created : 2008-04-28