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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Bomber and bombed in Afghanistan
By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Kabul

Blast site
Bomb attacks have soared this year
Saed Mohammad Nabi sits quietly in the basement of the police station, his arms and legs shackled, a long metal bar linking two sets of battered iron manacles.

His head is shaved, his beard long. He is reserved and quietly spoken.

"That's right, we were arrested with explosives," he said. "Our aim was to carry out jihad against our enemies."

His enemies are the international forces, who he believes should not be in Afghanistan.

He and an accomplice were found hiding mortars, rockets, land mines and artillery shells in a mosque. With them were electronic devices to wire them up into bombs and detonate them remotely.

The intention was to plant the explosives around Kabul and target international aid workers or soldiers on patrol, but Saed Mohammad Nabi was caught before he had the chance.

'Enemies'

Saed Mohammad is a student at Kabul University - he studies Sharia law - and is married with two children.

He was not brainwashed abroad and sent to kill. He made the decision himself to support the Taleban and made contacts - it was as easy as that.

But why did he make that decision?

Saed Mohammad Nabi
We wanted to strike the foreigners, the Americans, all those who are enemies of our religion, honour and country
Saed Mohammad Nabi

"They have gone against the Koran, shown disrespect to Mohammad and Afghan elders, and abused our women and our dead. I would not be here if they had not done this," he explained quite calmly.

A box of leaflets bearing the name of Mullah Omar, the Taleban's spiritual leader, urging more people to join the fight "against the infidels" was found with the explosives.

"We wanted to strike the foreigners, the Americans, all those who are enemies of our religion, honour and country," he said.

There are many people in Afghanistan prepared to kill, and there are many others who are prepared to die themselves in the act.

The Afghan Interior Ministry reports that there were seven suicide bombs in the country last year - a conservative estimate.

This year there have already been more than 65 across the country, from Herat in the west to Khost in the east, Kandahar in the south and Kabul itself.

Every bomber has his target, but in every blast civilians are also victims.

Scarred

In a small room in Kandahar hospital two little girls no longer smile.

Khatimah, aged 7
Seven-year-old Khatimah was injured in a suicide bombing
Khatimah is seven. Three pieces of shrapnel cut into her stomach when a suicide bomber on a bicycle killed four Canadian soldiers.

A drip is attached to her arm, her waist smothered in bandages. She needs blood but her father cannot afford it.

In the next bed lies Rakimah, her 11-year-old sister. Both of her legs are plastered and bandaged, and she has a thick black eye that looks so wrong on such a small and beautiful face.

There is a pool of dried blood under each leg and a pungent smell of gangrene. Her father also cannot afford medicine and the doctor has not been to see them for days.

The family were on their way back to see what was left of their home after fighting in Panjwayi district, where the international coalition claims to have killed hundreds of Taleban militants.

Haji Habibullah, 45, was taken aside to be searched by the Canadian soldiers when the bomber struck. His daughters were nearer to the bomb.

There are green fields and gardens here and the military is dropping bombs - the people are leaving because of them
Haji Habibullah
He blames the Taleban, he blames Pakistan, where he says these bombers come from, and although he broadly supports the international help in Afghanistan, he also blames them.

"Things were fine - during the last four years there has been no fighting," he said.

"Then the foreigners came and everywhere you go there is war and there is no way out. My cow has been killed, my house has been bombed and I'm not able to go home.

"The man who did this to my daughters is not a Muslim - it is not the action of a Muslim.

"But there are green fields and gardens here and the military is dropping bombs - the people are leaving because of them."

Every day people are being killed in the insurgency.

Some are caught up in the fighting. Local government officials or judges are deliberately targeted. Others are caught by shrapnel from suicide attackers or bombs left by the side of the road.

The number of attacks is increasing, five years after the Taleban were driven from power and the country was put on a new democratic path, one that was supposed to lead to peace.




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