Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baghlan suicide bomb: bodyguards killed most victims

Confirming what has been alleged in various corners, a UN report reveals:

Up to two-thirds of the 77 people killed and 100 wounded in a suicide bombing last week were hit by bullets from visiting lawmakers' panicked bodyguards, who fired on a crowd of mostly schoolchildren for up to five minutes, a preliminary U.N. report says... (link to AP story here)
The AP report goes on and relates more details which make the Afghan government look rather unsavory:
An Afghan doctor who treated patients after the Nov. 6 blast, meanwhile, told the AP that a high-ranking government official told him not to publicly reveal the number of gunfire victims, suggesting a possible government cover-up...

Among the parliamentarians killed was Sayed Mustafa Kazimi, the chief spokesman of Afghanistan's only opposition group, the National Front. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and Afghan officials say they don't know who was behind the bombing. The Taliban has denied it was responsible. A government investigation is also under way.

Sayed Mohammad Bakir Hashimi, a Shiite cleric who performed a religious ceremony on Kazimi after the blast, told the AP the lawmaker had three bullet wounds. However, Kazimi's family now denies he was hit by bullets. ...

Annotated close air support
The US Air Force's Nov 17 air power summary provides some details on the clash in Zhari district which involved CF and ANA against Taliban insurgents and which I blogged about yesterday:
In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fired cannon rounds against enemy combatants, located west of Kandahar, who were in hostile contact against coalition forces. Additionally, this same aircrew conducted shows of force with flares to deter further enemy activities. The on-scene joint terminal attack controller confirmed both missions as successful.

During the same mission, a Royal Air Force Harrier GR-7 aided the strike by using Winnipeg-made] rockets against the enemy combatants. The JTAC confirmed the desired effect was achieved and deemed the mission as successful.

An Air Force MQ-9A Reaper [an 'unmanned' plane] also aided the strike in the same mission by firing hellfire missiles against the enemy combatants. The missiles hit the intended targets and the mission was reported as a success by the JTAC. ...

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