Hamid Karzai blames Afghanistan bomb on terror group

 

Afghan president Hamid Karzai today blamed a Pakistan-based terror group for the devastating suicide bombing against a Shiite shrine in Kabul.

At least 56 people were killed in Tuesday's attack on hundreds who had gathered to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashoura. A second bomb hit a Shiite vehicle procession in a northern city at the same time, killing four people.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, a Pakistan-based splinter group of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi that has carried out attacks against Shiite Muslims in Pakistan, has called various media outlets to claim responsibility for the Kabul bombing.

President Karzai said he believed this claim, although he did not elaborate.

"We are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistan government about it," he said as he visited a hospital where scores of people wounded in the attack were being treated. He said the attack was not just an act of hate against Muslims, but against mankind.

"Afghanistan cannot ignore the blood of all the victims of this incident, especially the children," he added.

A Pakistani military spokesman dismissed any suggestions that the violent sectarian group has links to the country's intelligence agencies.

"Lashkar-e-Janghvi has declared war on the security forces in Pakistan," he said. He said the group has been implicated in some of the worst attacks on Pakistani security forces.

"They are being hunted down," he stressed.

The bombing at the shrine in Kabul was the first major sectarian attack in Afghanistan in recent memory. It has raised worries that an already violence-wracked country might be on the verge of dipping into a divisive religious conflict as well.

Afghanistan's Shiite community makes up about 20 % of the nation's 30 million population. Hard-line Sunnis consider Shiites nonbelievers because their customs and traditions differ from the majority sect.

As families gathered for funerals across Kabul on, violence in the insurgent-heavy south continued with a roadside bomb that killed 19 people travelling in a bus in Helmand province. At least five of them were children.

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