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Daily Archives: June 17, 2007

Kabul police bus blast kills 35

 Image A powerful bomb destroyed a police bus in the heart of the Afghan capital yesterday, killing more than 35 people, police said, as the extremist Taliban movement claimed responsibility.
It was the deadliest attack of its kind in Afghanistan since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001.
The 45-seater bus, which had been taking officers to a police academy, was totally destroyed in the explosion. Body parts and bits of human flesh were flung across a wide area.
"More than 35 people including civilians and a police officer were killed," the city's criminal investigation department chief Alishah Paktiawal told AFP.
"A number of people were wounded but we don't have a figure."

The blast struck outside the police headquarters in a crowded part of the city centre that is near a busy market. Two minibuses were damaged nearby and witnesses said bystanders may also have been hit.
Paktiawal first said the bomb was inside the bus but later said it may have been a suicide bombing.
"We are investigating. We don't know if it was a suicide bombing or an explosion inside the bus," he told reporters at the scene.
"It is the work of terrorists, Al-Qaeda and murderers of the people," Paktiawal said.
The sirens of ambulances could be heard across the city as the wounded were ferried to hospitals.
"Over 30 wounded have been admitted to Kabul hospitals," ministry of health spokesman Abdullah Fahim.
His initial reports put the death toll at more than 20.
The insurgent Taliban movement, which is allied with Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility. "It was a suicide car bomb," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.
The attack comes a day after a suicide car bomb blast in the west of the city killed three people. It was the fifth suicide bombing inside Kabul this year.
The extremist movement has been waging an insurgency for the past five years that sees regular suicide blast and other attacks.

Ex-Soviet GUAM leaders to discuss Western course in Baku

Backed by leaders of other former Soviet bloc countries, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine gather Azerbaijan capital Baku today for a two-day summit aimed at reducing Moscow's influence over energy supplies and peacekeeping in the region.
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Romanian President Traian Basescu will join three leaders from the GUAM group of ex-Soviet states, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.
The three countries are part of the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) regional bloc seen as a counterweight to Russia's influence in the former Soviet Union. The focus of the meeting will be efforts to ship oil from Azerbaijan to Ukraine and the creation of a joint peacekeeping force, Yushchenko told journalists earlier this month.
But Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin will not be attending as the summit conflicts with long-planned talks with the European Union in Luxembourg and Brussels, his press service told Moldovan news agencies.
Analysts say Moldova's commitment to the organisation is unclear, especially since Moscow lifted a ban on imports of Moldovan wine and meat late last year.
Moldovan Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev will attend in Voronin's place.
Georgia and Ukraine, both of which have long depended on Moscow for energy, have been keen to promote GUAM as an alternative to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a Kremlin-dominated grouping of ex-Soviet countries.
Aliyev, whose country sits on major Caspian Sea energy reserves, has been more cautious, emphasizing that GUAM is not an anti-Kremlin alliance.
Yushchenko said that energy would be the main focus of the summit, in particular a plan to ship oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia, across the Black Sea to a Ukrainian pipeline that runs from Odessa to Brody, near Ukraine's border with Poland.
Yushchenko said he also expected progress in talks over the creation of a joint GUAM peacekeeping force, which could work in conflict regions under mandates from the UN Security Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Analysts have said that GUAM peacekeepers could be used to replace Russian forces currently deployed in two separatist regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Azerbaijan has said GUAM peacekeepers could also be deployed as part of settlement over the disputed enclave of Nagorny Karabakh, seized from Azerbaijan by Armenian forces in the early 1990s.