October 16th, 2007 07:43 EST
Suicide bomber kills own family in Afghan
KABUL, Afghanistan - A mother who tried to stop her son from carrying out a suicide bomb attack triggered an explosion in the family's home in southern Afghanistan that killed the would-be bomber, his mother and three siblings, police said Monday.
The would-be bomber had been studying at a madrassa, or religious school, in Pakistan, and when he returned to his home in Uruzgan province over the weekend announced that he planned to carry out a suicide attack, Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said.
Surviving family members told police that the suicide vest exploded during a struggle between the mother and her son, said Juma Gul Himat, Uruzgan's police chief. The man's brother and two sisters were also killed.
Family members said the would-be bomber gave his family $3,600 before telling them he intended to carry out the attack, Himat said.
Bashary said the explosion happened on Sunday, but Himat said it occurred on Monday morning. It was not clear why the two accounts differed.
In a second accidental explosion, another would-be bomber died Friday in Paktika province after he identified himself to police and began taking off his bomb vest, Bashary said.
The bomber said he changed his mind and was aborting the suicide mission because he saw people praying in a mosque. But he accidentally triggered a blast as he slipped off the vest that killed only himself, Bashary said.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, said it had looked into allegations that soldiers had desecrated the Quran during a raid on a home in the eastern province of Kunar and found no evidence of wrongdoing. The allegations had outraged villagers, who met with the governor, provincial leaders and U.S. military commanders on Sunday.
Kunar deputy provincial governor Noor Mohammad Khan said American soldiers raided the home of Mullah Zarbaz on Saturday, arresting him and three others. Villagers claimed that soldiers ripped, knifed and burned a Quran during the raid, allegations that led to an angry demonstration, Khan said.
But Maj. Chris Belcher, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, which oversees Special Forces soldiers who usually carry out nighttime raids, said the allegations had been investigated and were found to be baseless.
"We looked into it. There was no desecration of the Quran or any religious symbol by U.S. forces," Belcher said. "Had a soldier desecrated it, we would take action."
In the latest violence, Taliban militants ambushed a NATO patrol in central Afghanistan on Sunday, leaving about a dozen soldiers wounded, a NATO official said. The troops called for an airstrike on the militants in Wardak province, but there were no reports of casualties, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
The official did not identify the nationality of the wounded troops. Most of the troops in Wardak province, which borders the capital of Kabul, are Turkish.
In an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp., President Hamid Karzai said Afghanistan has suffered "the law of unintended consequences" because of the war in Iraq.
"We did suffer by movements of people, by movements of extremist ideology, by transfer of knowledge by extremists to one another," Karzai said in the interview, which was broadcast Monday. "There is no doubt that al-Qaida is linked all across the world."
Karzai said he knew "with confidence" that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban chief Mullah Omar were not in Afghanistan. But he said he did not have "precise information" on where they were. Afghan officials say the two are hiding in Pakistan.
The top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, meanwhile, urged countries contributing troops to the NATO force not to "wobble" in their commitments to fight the Taliban and help counter a campaign of intimidation, abduction and killing by government opponents.
Tom Koenigs said at the United Nations in New York that while the Afghan national army will have 47,000 troops at the end of the year, and hopefully 70,000 by the end of 2008, "numbers are not a measure of capability" and NATO remains the most capable force to defend the government against a tough insurgency.
Insurgent violence in Afghanistan is at its highest level since U.S. forces invaded the country in 2001 to oust the hard-line Islamic Taliban rulers, who harbored al-Qaida leaders blamed for planning the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
The focus of the violence has been in Afghanistan's southern and eastern provinces, but the insurgents are increasingly using Iraq-style tactics, such as roadside bombs, suicide attacks and kidnappings to hit foreign and Afghan targets around the country.
Associated Press writers Noor Khan in Kabul and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
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