KABUL, Afghanistan – In one of the year’s deadliest days for Afghan civilians, at least 39 people were killed and more than 100 hurt Tuesday in attacks that spanned the country from north to south – including the brutal tactic of a suicide bombing staged at a hospital where victims of an initial blast were being treated.
The more lethal of the two strikes, in Nimroz province, involved nearly a dozen would-be bombers, authorities said, although all but three were arrested or killed before or during the attack. Nonetheless, it showed the insurgents’ willingness to sacrifice large numbers of fighters in a single operation, and also their continuing wherewithal to stage complex and coordinated attacks.
The blasts also reinforced a pervasive sense of insecurity felt by many ordinary Afghans. Civilian war casualties fell by 15 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2011, the United Nations reported earlier this month, but the advent of the warm-weather “fighting season” has seen a spike in violence across Afghanistan.
Most of those killed in a triple suicide bombing in Nimroz province, in the southwest, and a remote-controlled blast in Kunduz province in the north, were people out shopping for their nightly iftar, the meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and for the holiday feast beginning this weekend that marks Ramadan’s end.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.