Taliban claims responsibility for Jalalabad suicide attack

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 27, 2012 

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle at the entrance to a joint Afghan-U.S. air base in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Monday, killing at least nine people, local officials said.

Twelve people were wounded in the attack — including ten civilians and one guard from the airbase and an army soldier — Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for Nangarhar's governor said. But Afghanistan's ministry of defense said four of its soldiers were also wounded in the blast.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which it described as "revenge" for the burning of copies of the Quran last Monday at Bagram air base, north of Kabul.

The attack at Jalalabad — the capital of Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan — took place after a week of nationwide demonstrations which have left at least 28 people dead and more than one hundred wounded.

U.S. Marine General John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the name of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said the insurgents' attack on the ISAF base had failed, and condemned the loss of "innocent lives."

"The Taliban are shamelessly murdering innocent Afghan civilians and Afghan national security forces, and poisoning the sacred faith of Islam," said Allen.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai described the attacks as inhuman and un-Islamic.

"The enemies of peace and stability in Afghanistan will not gain anything from these attacks but the hatred of the Afghan people and God's punishment," Karzai said.

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