Terrorists Celebrate Obama’s ‘New Day’ with Suicide Bomb


obama-kabul-karzaiAt least two explosions shook a protected compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, used by United Nations workers and other foreigners, local reports said. The attack came just hours after a brief visit by President Obama to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai.

According to an interior minister, at least six people, including five civilians and a security guard, were killed in the strike. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack.

As our colleague, Mark Landler, who is traveling with the president, has reported, Mr. Obama made a six-hour visit to Afghanistan, where he greeted troops and spoke to an American television audience on Tuesday night from Bagram Air Base. In his remarks, he said that he had traveled to Afghanistan to mark a new era that included a “future in which war ends, and a new chapter begins.” The strategic partnership agreement signed by the two leaders sets the terms for relations after the departure of American troops in 2014.

The police said that a number of explosions had hit the eastern part of the city, which is often frequented by foreigners, according to our colleagues Graham Bowley and Sangar Rahimi, who are reporting from Kabul.

One resident in that area reported hearing three consecutive, very loud explosions and gunfire around the compound, known as the Green Village, that is used by aid workers and other foreign contractors.

The United Nations sent out an advisory to its employees, warning them to remain under cover, but said that all of its employees had been accounted for.

The United States Embassy in Kabul also sent out a warning to American citizens on Twitter:

U.S. Embassy Kabul@USEmbassyKabul
Emergency Message to American Citizens: There is an ongoing attack on Jalalabad Road in Kabul today, May 2, 2012. 1/3
1 May 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

The embassy also canceled visa appointments and other services on Wednesday and issued warnings that roads were closed, describing the situation as “uncertain.”

Mr. Bowley reports that some of the explosions were loud enough to be heard easily on the opposite side of the city. A spokesman for the police said that the attacks were suicide bombings.

A Western diplomatic official speaking by telephone from the Green Village said: “I am not sure what happened. We heard a big explosion about 6.15am. We moved to the bunker. We heard a few shots. Since then there have been a couple of explosions.”

She said the Green Village was a varied community, mainly of foreigners, who were used to the security situation in Afghanistan. “They are being pretty sober about it.” she said.

Stephen Mackenzie, an American who works in Afghanistan for the United Nations and lives at the Green Village in the east of Kabul said by email that two large explosions had hit the area right outside the compound and some rocket propelled grenades had hit nearby.”Lots of small arms fire about 30 minutes ago,” he said at 7.45am.

He said there was heavy security now surrounding the compound, mainly Afghan National Army.

A Western official said that a United Nations security official inside the Green Village compound reported that the area was under attack by mortar fire and rocket-propelled grenades. There were also reports of small-arms fire.

By about 7:15 a.m. local time, the local resident said that flames and black smoke could be seen rising from the area but that the smaller explosions and gunfire had quieted.

{The Lede/Matzav.com Newscenter}