POSTED: 2:46 a.m. HST, Apr 13, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan >> A suicide bomber detonated his vest full of explosives in northeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing 10 people, including five schoolboys and an influential tribal elder and former military commander who supported the Afghan government.
The target of the midday bombing in Kunar province was Malik Zareen, a leader of Afghan forces during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, a provincial police chief said.
The police chief, Khalilullah Ziayi, said seven others were also wounded in the blast in the province’s Asmar district.
“Unfortunately, the suicide attacker targeted a local council meeting of the tribal elders,” he said.
The Afghan Ministry of Education said five schoolboys — students in the eighth, sixth, fourth and first grades — were among the 10 killed in what the ministry called an “anti-Islamic and inhumane act.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai also condemned the bombing, saying it was a “terrorist attack against the Afghan people.”
He said that by killing tribal leaders, the attacker was trying to silence the voice of the Afghan people.
“The strong pillars of Afghanistan are the tribal elders,” Karzai said in a statement. “They are trying to solve the problems of the local people.”
He called Zareen a brave and influential jihadi leader who was working for peace and stability.
The province, along the Pakistan border, has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks. Six U.S. soldiers were killed in the area on March 29.
Also in the east, a NATO service member was killed in a roadside bomb attack Wednesday. So far this year, at least 115 foreign troops, have been killed in Afghanistan. The coalition did not disclose the nationality of the service member who died or where he was killed.
In Logar province, south of the capital Kabul, a roadside bomb killed one person and wounded two others who were riding on a tractor, according to the Afghan Ministry of Interior.
The ministry said a security guard was killed and three others were wounded Wednesday when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Sayd Abad district of neighboring Wardak province.
Two children also were killed Wednesday when an old rocket exploded in Waza Khwa district of Paktika province, the ministry said.