Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taliban deny role in southern Afghan attack

Taliban deny role in southern Afghan attack.

By NOOR KHAN, Associated Press Writer Noor Khan, Associated Press Writer Wed Aug 26, 2009.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – A Taliban spokesman denied any responsibility Wednesday for a major bombing that killed dozens of people in southern Afghanistan's largest city, saying the militant group condemns the attack.

The explosion ripped through a central area of Kandahar city just after nightfall, killing at least 43 people and wounding 65, according to the Interior Ministry. It flattened buildings and sent flames shooting into the sky on the same day that the first preliminary results were released from last week's landmark presidential vote.

Rescue workers were still pulling out injured people on Wednesday.

"There are some people still trapped in the buildings and we are trying to get them out," Mohammad Darwish, one of the rescue workers.

The thundering blast occurred in a district that includes U.N. facilities and an Afghan intelligence office.

Kandahar is the spiritual home of the Taliban and the city was hit by rockets on the morning of election day as Taliban militants made good on threats to try to disrupt last Thursday's polling with violence.

However, the group said it had no involvement in the most recent attack.

"We are denying responsibility, and condemn this attack in which innocent civilians were killed," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi wrote in a text message sent to an Associated Press reporter.

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