Monday, May 30, 2011

The Taliban put at risk the Afghan city of Herat with two suicide bombings

The Taliban have since Monday in check the supposedly peaceful city of Herat in western Afghanistan, where prominent part of the Spanish and in theory from July will be under the responsibility of the Afghan security forces. Two suicide bombers have blown themselves up in the center of the city in a few minutes interval.

Four people died and 33 more were injured. All were civilians, but an Afghan policeman. The first suicide bomber detonated the explosive charge into the quarter past eleven (two hours earlier in the Peninsula) at the very entrance to the military base called Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT, its acronym in English) located in the center of the city where Italian troops are deployed.

The bomber apparently drove a truck loaded with sacks of cement, but in reality he was filled with explosives, according to Said Rafiq WORLDWIDE, criminal investigation police in Herat. As a result of the powerful blast, the windows of every shop in the adjacent streets were smashed and some stores also suffered other major damage.

A few minutes later, another suicide bomber riding a bicycle blew himself up about three kilometers from the military facility, across from the Transportation Office of the Afghan government in the so-called Cinema Square and about 150 meters from the hotel Nazary, one of the few Herat frequented by foreigners.

That second blast created chaos and almost all wounded. Many people had taken to the streets to see what happened after hearing the first explosion, and was hit squarely by the second. "We were both in the store, but he went to see the large plume of black smoke rose in the first explosion," lamented Mojtabo Ameri, mobile phone salesman, walk to the hospital bed of his friend.

He had not a scratch, while his friend lay almost dying. The same thing happened to Abdul Ghani. "After the first explosion, my wife told me to leave the street to look for children, but a flash knocked me," he said shot sitting on the floor of the hospital emergency room in Herat, with bloody clothes and next to a couch where lay badly injured their two children: an eight year old boy and a girl of six.

"Only three or four people were wounded near a military base. The rest was next to the Transportation Office, reported the Emergency hospital director, Markatullah Mohamadi, visibly shaken, while some workers tried to clean the floor of the emergency room, full of blood. All the wounded, but one were civilians.

The Taliban, then clearly attempted against a civilian target. What happened after the second explosion? began shooting and Italian Mangusta helicopters began to fly over the military base and launching TRP flares to avoid being killed, and Afghan army was deployed in much of the city. Beyond that, there are conflicting stories.

Some accounts say that a group of insurgents were barricaded in a building adjacent to the Italian base and started to harass from the roof. Instead, the police chief of Herat, Said Agha Saqib, said: "Those shots were the Italians, but here in the building, there was no" said to justify that part of the facade of the apartment building was completely burned and at three in the afternoon, the Afghan police had taken the building.

At the time of writing this review, six in the evening in Afghanistan, seven hours after the first suicide bombing, three explosions were heard in Herat, Italian helicopters continued on flying the city, police cars were running at full speed with the siren on, and almost all shops in the city were closed.

Herat, however, is one of the cities selected by NATO and the Afghan government to initiate the so-called transition plan in July. So, for the Afghan security forces take charge of its security alone, without the support of international troops, because, in theory, is a tranquil and without threats.

Foreign forces, in fact, and on Monday were conspicuous by their absence in the city. The majority of international troops, including about 500 Spanish-are featured in two military bases to about ten miles outside of the population. As a result, Monday's attacks have not been affected.

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