National mourning for the victims of the Baghlan suicide bomber
Yesterday’s attack, the worst since 2001, has left at least 42 people dead, including six MPs and many children. For Kabul the “enemies of peace and security in Afghanistan” are behind this crime, but Talibans deny any involvement. Some believe former muhjaheddin leader Hekmatyar is the main principal in the massacre.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai today announced three days of national mourning, with the national flag flying half mast, for the victims of yesterday’s suicide attack in the northern part of the country, the worst since 2001. Together with the United States and the United Nations, the president slammed the attack by the “enemies of peace and security in Afghanistan,” a catch phrase which usually refers to the Talibans. The attack was “a despicable act of cowardice and it reminds us who the enemy is,” the White House said.

The suicide bomber blew himself up at a sugar factory just outside Pul-i-Khumri, a town in Baghlan Province, as a parliamentary delegation was visiting, killing at least 42 people, including six lawmakers as well as scores of school children, and injuring 120 people. The final tally is likely higher because many removed the bodies of their family members before an official body count could be made.

The delegation was led by opposition figure Mustafa Kazimi, a former commerce minister and chairman of the economy commission in the National Assembly, who died in the explosion.

No one has yet to claim responsibility for the blast. Taliban sources denied any involvement.

For others the vicious attack has all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.

The followers of mullah Omar usually attack international troops or leaders in the Karzai government, whom they consider a puppet of the Americans. Never before have so many political leaders been targeted together at one time. Moreover, Talibans usually operate in the south and east of the country; the north had hitherto avoided suicide bombs.

Baghlan Province, which has few Pashtuns, is known for tensions between majority Tajiks and the followers of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, head of the Hezb-i-Islami Party, who has fought the central government in Kabul. For some observers the Pashtun leader has likely joined the Talibans and al-Qaeda.