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2007 Baghlan sugar factory bombing

Baghlan province
Location Baghlan, Afghanistan
Date November 6, 2007
Target Members of Parliament
Attack type Suicide attack
Death(s) at least 75[1]
Perpetrator(s) Unknown: legal proceedings have not yet taken place.
Suspected perpetrator(s) Taliban, Islamic Party of Mullah Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, or independent jihadists

The 2007 Baghlan sugar factory bombing occurred on November 6, 2007 when a bomb exploded in the centre of Baghlan, Afghanistan, while a delegation of parliamentarians was visiting, killing dozens including several lawmakers.

Contents

The event

A ceremony was being held to re-open a sugar factory as part of a plan to improve and build the economy in the northeastern Baghlan province. Large groups of people, including children and elderly people were lined up to assist in the inauguration of the facility. It is widely believed that the blast was caused by a bomb full of ball-bearings. It is unlikely that a suicide attacker could cause such a massive carnage.

Fatalities

At least 75 people (among them 59 children[1]) were killed or wounded severely in the massive bombing; the Associated Press reports that 64 were killed while a hospital in Baghlan mentioned that 90 bodies were sent to the hospital with 50 others wounded. An Afghan television station reported that at least 100 were killed.[2]

Six members of the Afghan parliament were killed in the blast, including key opposition figures. The lawmakers killed in the bombing were former Commerce Minister Sayed Mustafa Kazemi, the prominent private sector representative Hajji Muhammad Arif Zarif, as well as Abdul Mateen, Al Hajj Sahib Al-Rahman, Nazuk Mir Sarfaraz and Sebghatullah Zaki. All six were members of the ten-member Economics Committee of the National Assembly [3].

It was reported that police officers, children and members of the Department of Agriculture were also killed. Other MPs were said to have been injured.[4][5]

On November 19, a UN report said that guards protecting Afghan MPs had fired "deliberately and indiscriminately" into crowds of civilians after the attack.[6]

Responsibility

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast but there have been about 120 suicide attacks in Afghanistan in 2007, most of them blamed on the Taliban movement. A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry blamed the attack on "the enemy of Afghanistan, the enemy of the people of Afghanistan" referring to the militant group. On the same day of the Baghlan bombings, Taliban rockets were fired at an Afghan base near Kandahar injuring several soldiers, present at the base was visiting Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay. That incident was likely unrelated to the Baghlan bombing.[7]

Following the bombing, a Taliban official dismissed any responsibility of the group over the incident. The attacks have worsened since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.[2][8]

Fighters loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former mujahideen leader who is fighting the Kabul government independently from the Taliban, are known to be active in Baghlan.[4]

One person was arrested and questioned on the following day. According to the BBC, several claims told that it was not a suicide attack and that it was possible a roadside bomb or a rocket attacks.[9]

Reactions

  • A spokesman for the Taliban, which is assumed to be behind most attacks in Afghanistan, condemned the attack in a telephone interview with the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press. The agency quoted spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as saying the Baghlan explosion "was not conducted by the Taliban".
  • Afghan president Hamid Karzai had immediately condemned the attacks in a statement: "This heinous act of terrorism is against Islam and humanity and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It is the work of the enemies of peace and security in Afghanistan". He announced three days of national mourning[4][5][10]
  • Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said on Wednesday that targeting innocent people and members of the Afghan Parliament run counter to the Islamic teachings and human values.[11]
  • Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay met with Karzai on November 7 to discuss about the ongoing deterioration of the situation. MacKay commented: "Yes, this is an undeniable tragedy and one that has shocked many. And yet this is not going to deter the Afghan people on their road to a stable, democratic, fully-functioning society." [12]
  • In a statement issued on the same day United States President George W. Bush called the act as "despicable act of cowardice" that "reminds us who the enemy is -- extremists with evil in their hearts" and added that the White House will be committed on working with the government of Afghanistan and NATO allies to fight the terrorists who use murder to advance their hateful ideology" [13]

See also

References

External links

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