Lawmakers among Afghan bomb dead


Nov 7, 2007

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least 35 people -- including three children and six members of parliament -- have been killed in a suicide bombing at a sugar factory in northern Afghanistan, the hospital chief in that province told CNN.

Other reports from the region said as many as 100 people were killed or wounded in the blast, and the numbers were expected to rise.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the death toll had risen to 41, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday. Such a figure would make the attack the deadliest in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, AP reported.

Karzai condemned the attack in a statement issued by his spokesman and "expressed his deep sorrow at the martyrdom of a number of Afghan MPs."

"This heinous act of terrorism is against Islam and humanity and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Karzai said. "It is the work of the enemies of peace and security in Afghanistan."

In Washington, the White House also issued a condemnation of the attack, with President Bush expressing his sorrow "for the grieving families of the victims."

"The terrorist attack today in Afghanistan is a despicable act of cowardice and it reminds us who the enemy is -- extremists with evil in their hearts who target innocent Muslim men, women and children," said the statement from the White House press secretary's office.

The statement said the Bush administration is committed to "working with the government of Afghanistan" and NATO allies "to fight the terrorists who use murder to advance their hateful ideology."

Among the lawmakers listed as dead in the president's statement is Mustafa Kazemi, the former commerce minister and spokesman for the opposition, who is also a top warlord in the region.

The statement also said that the other lawmakers killed included Abdul Mateen, Alhaj Sahibur Rahman, Hajji Muhammad Aref Zarif and Sebghatullah Zaki.

School children had lined the route where up to 18 national lawmakers and dozens more local dignitaries walked on their way to the factory when the blast went off, prompting local officials to believe that children may be among the dead and wounded.

The visit was part of an economic assistance plan for the northeastern province.

Kamin Khan, a police official, told AP people "everywhere" were dead and wounded, including police, children, lawmakers and officials from the Department of Agriculture.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary blamed the attack, according to AP, on the "enemy of Afghanistan, the enemy of the people of Afghanistan," a term often used to refer to Taliban militants.

Previously the Taliban has claimed responsibility for such blasts