A bombing Sunday at an outdoor dog fighting competition killed 80 people and wounded dozens more, a governor said, in what appeared to be the deadliest attack in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
More than 300 people had gathered to watch the event on the western edge of the southern city of Kandahar, including several Afghan militia leaders. Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid said 80 had been killed. Abdullah Fahim, a Health Ministry spokesman, said about 90 people were wounded.
Witnesses reported gunfire after the blast from bodyguards. It was not immediately clear if the bullets killed anyone.
DOG FIGHTING COMPETITIONS ARE COMMON AROUND AFGHANISTAN
Kandahar — the Taliban's former stronghold and Afghanistan's second largest city — is one of the country's largest opium poppy producing regions. The province has been the scene of fierce battles between NATO forces — primarily from Canada and the United States — and Taliban fighters over the last two years.
Dog fighting competitions are common around Afghanistan and are considered as popular entertainment. They can attract hundreds of spectators who cram into a tight circle around the spectacle.
TARGET OF THE ATTACK WAS LOCAL LEADER
Wali Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai and the president of Kandahar's provincial council, said the target of the attack was Abdul Hakim Jan, the leader of a local militia whom Karzai said was killed in the attack.
Faizullah Qar Gar, a resident of Kandahar who was at the dog fight, said bodyguards of commanders opened fire on the crowd after the bombing.
The previous deadliest bomb attack came in November in the northern city of Baghlan, when a suicide bombing and subsequent gunfire from bodyguards killed about 70 people, including six parliamentarians and 58 students and teachers.
In eastern Kunar province, militants ambushed an Afghan army convoy, and several militants and a soldier were killed in the ensuing battle, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.
The clash occurred Saturday while the soldiers were on patrol in a mountainous area near a military camp in Kunar province's Kandagal area, the ministry said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Şubat 2008, 12:15