A bomb ripped through a small bus Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, killing 15 people, a regional administrator said.
The explosion occurred in Nadh Ali district, about 20 miles southeast of Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province.
Helmand's Deputy Governor Haji Pir Mohammed blamed al-Qaida insurgents and remnants of the Taliban militia, ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in late 2001.
Sporadic bombings in Kabul in the past have been blamed on a mix of Taliban rebels, al-Qaida fighters and supporters of renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. A suicide bombing in eastern Kabul in June killed four German peacekeepers and wounded 29 others.
Anti-government insurgents have been stepping up attacks in recent months, particularly in the south and east of the country. Authorities say insurgents have also infiltrated the capital to carry out terrorist attacks.
The resurgence of the Taliban in recent months has been confirmed by none less than the acting commander of the US-led coalition force in Afghanistan, General F L "Buster" Hagenback. Hagenback admitted last month that there has been an increase in Taliban activity, especially in southern and eastern Afghanistan, along the country's long border with Pakistan.
The resurgence of the Taliban is evident not only from the sharp rise in the number of attacks they have carried out in recent months, but also from the increase in the size of the groups that stage the attack. More than 200 Taliban fighters are said to have participated in a major attack on a government checkpoint near the border town of Spin Boldak in mid-July. While there are conflicting claims regarding the number of casualties on both sides, what is significant is the number of Taliban fighters that were involved in the attack. Ahmed Rashid, an expert on Afghanistan, observes that until a few months ago, attacks by the Taliban never involved more than a dozen or so fighters. "The increase in their numbers reflects the impunity with which they believe they can now operate," Rashid said.
[B]ig powers do not necessarily lose small wars, they simply fail to win them. In fact, they often win many tactical victories on the battlefield. However, in the absence of a threat to survival, the big power's failure to quickly and decisively attain its strategic aim leads to an erosion of domestic cohesion.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.