Three suicide attackers blew themselves up in the largest city in southern Afghanistan Wednesday, killing 22 people and wounding at least 50 others in a marketplace.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack on innocent civilians, saying it proved the “enemy is getting weaker because they are killing innocent people.”
The explosion occurred about three miles from the main gate of the massive military installation run by the U.S.-led coalition and roughly 500 yards from an Afghan military base.
One suicide bomber detonated a three-wheeled motorbike filled with explosives first, said Rahmatullah Atrafi, deputy police chief in Kandahar province. Then, as people rushed to assist the casualties, two other suicide bombers on foot walked up to the site and blew themselves up.
Eight private security guards were among the 22 killed along a main road on the east side of the city, he said.
Not to be outdone, a pre-dawn NATO air strike aimed at militants in eastern Afghanistan killed civilians celebrating a wedding, including women and children said Afghan officials and residents, though provincial Police Chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Roogh Lawanay said it wasn’t a wedding party but a meeting of Taliban commanders.
An Associated Press photographer saw the bodies of five women, seven children and six men piled in the back of vans that villagers drove to the capital of Logar province to protest the overnight strike on a house in volatile Baraki Barak district. Raeis Khan Abdul Rahimzai, deputy provincial police chief, estimated that there were 18 bodies in the vans, including women and children. He said seven key local Taliban officials were killed in the strike.
NATO spokesman, Maj. Martyn Crighton said the coalition was aware of the allegations of civilian deaths, but did not have any reports of civilians being killed.
He said troops were trying to capture a Taliban commander and called in an airstrike when they came under fire.
“During the follow-on assessment, the Afghan and coalition security force discovered two women with non-life-threatening injuries,” Crighton said in an email. He said both women were taken to a military base for treatment.
“I do not have any operational reporting that would allow me to confirm civilian deaths,” Crighton said.
It must be difficult to decipher whether civilians are killed in an airstrike when you label every military age male killed in said strike as a militant before even confirming their identities.