04/28/2008, 00.00
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Attack on Karzai, investigations opened, hundreds of arrests

The attack in Kabul yesterday missed the Afghan president, but it inflicted a harsh blow on the image of the central government and of the foreign forces deployed in Afghanistan. The condemnation of the international community and the promises of Pakistan.

Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At least 200 people have been arrested in a hotel in Kabul, in the course of investigations into yesterday's attack on the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who was unharmed. Karzai says investigators are looking into how it was possible for the armed group to pass through the security controls in place for the event. The president was participating in the military parade for Victory Day, when the stage where he was seated was hit with gunfire and rockets.  The annual celebration marks the anniversary of the fall of the pro-Soviet government of Najibullah (1992).  Six people died in the attack, including one member of parliament and three terrorists, while another nine were wounded.

The condemnation from world leaters has been unanimous: the United Nations, France, Germany, Canada promised to continue, in spite of everything, their efforts in Afghanistan.  The Pakistani prime minister Gilani has guaranteed Karzai the support of his government in the fight against the "common enemy". Kabul charges Pakistan with not doing enough to uproot the Taliban militias operating in the tribal border areas.

Broadcast on live television, in the presence of foreign dignitaries, the attack inflicted a severe blow on the image of the Afghan government and of the multinational forces present in its territory.

The attack comes just days after the announcement by NATO that it wants to hand over control of security for Kabul to Afghan troops by the end of the year.  The attack, which probably missed its real objectives, nevertheless has produced a strong perception of a lack of security.  In claiming responsibility, the spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Muhjahid, explains: "the aim was to deliver the message that they (the government and Westerners) are by no means safe".

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