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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Suicide bomber kills Canadian peacekeeper, civilian in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide bomber killed a Canadian soldier and an Afghan civilian Tuesday in an attack on a convoy of the NATO-led security force patrolling Kabul. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
The soldier was the first foreign victim of a fresh wave of violence that has claimed more than 60 lives this month. The attack came a day after Afghanistan’s president signed the country’s first post-Taliban constitution into law.
Three other Canadian troops and eight civilians, including a Frenchman, were wounded in the attack on a three-jeep convoy on a main road in the west of the city.
Lt. Col. Don Denne, a Canadian commander of the security force, said the attacker blew himself up as a jeep slowed down to negotiate a rut in the road, peppering the soldiers and bystanders with shrapnel.
Denne told reporters the man appeared to have detonated artillery or mortar rounds strapped to his body – a tactic previously unknown in Afghanistan. Only his severed head and legs were found.
Mullah Hakim Latifi, a Taliban spokesman who contacted The Associated Press by satellite telephone, said the attack was the start of a campaign of suicide bombings that ”will be continued until the coalition forces leave our country.” He identified the bomber as 22-year-old Hafiz Abdullah from Khost province.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, blaming it on ”terrorist elements intent on disrupting the peace and security of our people.”
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the attack ”showed how desperate the terrorists are as Afghanistan makes progress” and vowed the Taliban would be defeated.
”There is no doubt in my mind that history is not on their side,” he said.
At NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer condemned the attack and pledged it would not deter the alliance’s peacekeeping mission.
”The attack on these soldiers was a shameful act, but it will not detract from our commitment to help Afghanistan build a better, more hopeful future,” Scheffer said.
International troops and local police cordoned off the site of the attack, about a mile from the main Canadian base in Kabul and close to the ruins of a former royal palace.
An open-backed military jeep – badly burned and with its windows blown out – sat on a patch of blackened road, a white sheet lying next to it. A small Canadian flag hung from its antenna.
The dead soldier was identified as Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy, 26, of Conception Harbour, Newfoundland. The wounded were Lt. Jason Matthew Feyko, 30, of Bethany, Ontario; Cpl. Jeremy Gerald MacDonald, 30, of Burnt Islands, Newfoundland; and Cpl. Richard Michael Newman, 23, of Hartland, New Brunswick.
Fazel Karim Sayedi, director of the hospital that treated most of the wounded, said the 20-year-old Afghan civilian died of abdominal injuries.
Two other wounded civilians were in serious condition.
Afghan state television said the wounded Frenchman worked for the Asian Development Bank. Bank officials could not be reached for comment.
The wounded Canadians were in stable condition, said spokesman Lt. Col. Joerg Langer.
At their main base in Afghanistan, Canadian soldiers hugged and comforted each other after the attack.
Some of the troops said the attack was retaliation for a raid the Canadians carried out early last week with Kabul police, in which several suspected terrorists and alleged drug lords were apprehended. The raid was their first offensive action since arriving in Afghanistan last August as part of the NATO-led security force.
Two years after the Taliban’s ouster, remnants of the hard-line regime, along with its al-Qaida allies and followers of Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar have been launching regular attacks against U.S. or international forces, though suicide bombs are an unusual tactic in Afghanistan.
The United Nations has warned landmark elections slated for June might be delayed because of poor security and can only go ahead at all if the situation improves.
In the latest clashes, three U.S. soldiers and three Marines were wounded in two separate incidents, the U.S. military said Tuesday.
The soldiers were wounded Tuesday by gunfire and shrapnel during a clash near a U.S. base at Orgun, 105 miles south of Kabul in Paktika province. The Marines were hurt Monday by a bomb blast near Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province, 120 miles east of Kabul.
About 2,000 Canadians serve in the security force, one of the largest contingents of peacekeepers in Afghanistan.
In June, a suicide attack on a bus killed four German soldiers and wounded 29 in one of the worst post-Taliban attacks in the capital.
Another apparent suicide bomber killed four Afghan intelligence agents and their driver on Dec. 28 after they arrested him near Kabul’s airport.
A mine explosion killed two Canadian troops in October.

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