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80 killed in Afghan bombing
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A bloody suicide bombing shocked Taliban former stronghold Kandahar in south Afghanistan Sunday morning killing at least 80 people and injuring many more, Kandahar's governor Assadullah Khalid said.



Afghan policemen and locals at the site of the bomb blast in Kandahar on Feb. 17 2008. 


The huge explosion took place at a ground where hundreds of people were gathering to watch dog fighting, among the few pastimes for common Afghans.


"Eighty innocent people have been confirmed dead in the heinous crime committed by enemies today," Khalid told news reporters.


He said it is too early to count the number of the injured people as they have already been rushed to hospitals.


The official said the Taliban, fighting against Afghan government and foreign troops since it was overthrew six years ago, was behind the deadly attack. However, the Taliban militants did not say they were responsible for the bomb explosion.


Taliban militants during their six-year of reign on 1996-2001 in major parts of Afghanistan banned all kind of popular entertainment activities, including dog fighting, cook fighting, kite flying and wrestling.


Besides, the militants also outlawed cinemas, televisions, music, girl schools and confining women to their homes during the outfit's rule which was toppled by US-led military invasion in 2001.


Taliban fighters carried out a failed attack against AssadullahKhalid, governor of the restive Kandahar province a week ago while he was on the way to Shah Walikot district.



Afghan policemen and locals at the site of the bomb blast in Kandahar on Feb. 17 2008.


A similar deadly attack in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province last November killed 73 civilians, including six parliamentarians, and injured more than 100 others.


Afghan government blamed Taliban insurgents for the deadly attack in Baghlan but the Taliban militants denied they were involved in the attack.


"Attack on Afghans and killing the people is the work of the enemies of Afghanistan and our enemies the Taliban insurgents are behind today's attack here in Kandahar," Khalid noted.


Anti-government Taliban fighters and their associated allies usually launched guerrilla-style attacks including ambushes, suicide blasts and roadside bombings on government and military targets, but often claimed civilian lives.


Taliban's fugitive chief Mullah Mohammad Omar in a statement released last week vowed to accelerate militant activities.


Escalating violence killed a record over 6,000 people in the post-Taliban nation last year and observers and military experts have predicted an upsurge of suicide blasts and roadside bombings in 2008.



An Afghan policeman keeps watch at a blast site in Kandahar province Feb. 17, 2008.


(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2008)

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