Terror both sides of Pak-Afghan border

A suicide bomber in burqa killed 13 people at a police checkpoint Oct. 1 at Bannu in northwest Pakistan on the Afghan border. (AGI, Oct. 1) The following day, a suicide bomber killed 12 Afghan police on a bus in Kabul—the second such attack in the capital in four days. Twenty-eight soldiers and two civilians were killed in a similar attack on a bus on Sept. 29. (Reuters, Oct. 2)

Afghanistan is suffering its most violent year since the 2001 US-led invasion, according to an internal UN report that sharply contrasts with recent upbeat appraisals by presidents Bush and Karzai. The report, compiled by the Kabul office of the UN Department of Safety and Security, said: “The security situation in Afghanistan is assessed by most analysts as having deteriorated at a constant rate through 2007.” There were 525 security incidents—attacks by the Taliban and other armed groups, bombings and abductions—every month during the first half of this year, up from an average of 425 incidents per month in 2006. The report found three-fourths of suicide bombings targeted international and Afghan security forces, but suicide attacks also killed 143 civilians through August. There are about 40,000 US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. An AP count of insurgency-related deaths, meanwhile, reached 5,086—the most deaths in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion. (McClatchy, Oct. 1; AP, Oct. 3)

See our last posts on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

See also our special report, “The Politics of Militarism and Islamist Extremism in Pakistan.”