Suicide attack kills 33 at Afghan army recruiting center

McClatchy NewspapersMarch 14, 2011 

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide attacker blew himself up Monday in an army recruiting center in the northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz, killing 33 and injuring 40 others, officials said.

The bombing — aimed at young men who were seeking to join the army — was the latest in a wave of insurgent attacks in Kunduz, where Afghan security forces are scheduled to assume responsibility for security later this month.

The attacker was wearing an army uniform when he set off the explosives at about 2 p.m., the provincial governor, Anwar Jegdali, said. He said the attack was intended to slow the government's plan to take control of security from the U.S.-led coalition.

"The enemy does not want this to happen," he said.

Among the dead were three army officers; the rest were civilians, including four street children, he said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, though it bore all the marks of the Taliban.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack in unusually strong language, calling it "a serious crime and an unforgivable act of terror" that would only toughen anti-Taliban resolve.

"Such terrorist actions cannot affect the determination and morale of our youth to courageously prepare to serve their country, but will instead bolster their resolve and dedication to eliminate a cruel enemy that wants nothing but bloodletting," Karzai said.

The U.S.-led military coalition and the U.S. Embassy also issued statements condemning the attack.

Last week, a suicide bomber killed the provincial police chief, Abdul Rahman, and three others, and last month, more than 30 people who were trying to get their national identification cards were killed when a bombed devastated the census office in the Imam Saib district, about 35 miles north of the Kunduz capital.

"The enemy wants to create terror and frighten the people not to join security forces in order to stop the country from providing its own security," said Gen. Ali Rezayee, who became the province's acting police chief after Rahman was killed.

(Shukoor is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

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