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Suicide Attacks Spread Across Southern Afghanistan

16 January 2006

A suspected suicide bomb blast Monday evening killed at least 20 people and injured more than 30 others in an Afghan border town. It was the third suicide attack in two days. Afghan President Hamid Karzai Monday warned Afghanistan could once again become a source country for international terrorism.

Local officials in the Afghan border town Spinboldok say a suicide bomber drove a motorcycle into a crowd of people watching a late afternoon wrestling match.

The blast came just hours after a suicide attack in the southern city of Kandahar killed four people and injured 16. The bomber targeted an Afghan military convoy in the provincial capital, considered a stronghold for Taleban insurgents.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the increased use of suicide tactics underscores just how desperate Taleban militants have become.

"Its not an insurgency, its terrorism," said Mr. Karzai. "But this will not deter anybody, neither the international community nor Afghanistan from continuing its fight against terrorism."

He said militants have been recruiting drug addicts for suicide missions. The attacks are a relatively recent phenomenon in Afghanistan.

Security experts say it appears local insurgents are importing tactics used by militants in Iraq. There have been nearly two dozen suicide bomb attacks in the last four months.

Monday, President Karzai urged Western nations to maintain their commitment to Afghanistan's anti-terror operations.

"If you do not defend yourself here, you will have to defend yourself back home in European capitals and American capitals. This is a fight for all, for you and for us," he added.

The Dutch parliament is debating plans to send more than 1,000 fresh troops to the region, a key component of NATO's new security plans for southern Afghanistan.

Dutch politicians have voiced growing concerns over security threats from Taleban insurgents.

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