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Afghan President Condemns Bombing - 2004-01-07


Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has condemned a bomb attack in Kandahar that killed at least 13 people -- mostly children.

The Afghan leader said the attack was an act of 'cruelty and barbarism' and said it would strengthen his resolve to fight terrorism.

Police say the deadly blast happened just minutes after a smaller explosion injured a child. They say a crowd of schoolchildren had gathered at the site when the second bomb went off.

Hospital officials say eight children were killed and 58 people were injured -- many seriously.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has sent his condolences to the Afghan government and the bereaved relatives of the victims.

It is not clear if there was a specific target for the attack. But the bombs went off before a provincial governor (Yusuf Pashtun) was due in the area.

They also happened near an Afghan military base where U.S. troops regularly patrol.

At the site of the attack, some witnesses told VOA a man was seen planting an explosive device in a fruit cart, while other reports say it was attached to a bicycle or a truck.

Afghan military officials say one man believed to be a Taleban militant, has been detained in connection with the first blast.

The bombings (Tuesday) follow gunfire and a grenade attack Monday at the U.N. Refugee Agency office in Kandahar. Some damage was done to the building, but there were no casualties.

Elsewhere, at least two Afghan soldiers, including a local commander, were killed in a factional clash in nearby Zabul province late Monday.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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