What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Terrorism hits Baghlan: Update IV.

I can continue directly from where I left off yesterday when I raised the issue of how a single suicide bomber (if eyewitness accounts we know of are correct) could have caused so much death and destruction. It must have been a huge explosion for sure.
Well, the fog of mystery is indeed descending now. NPR quotes a Shiite cleric from Kabul, who was there at the scene.
" Sayed Mohammad Bakir Hashimi, a Shiite cleric in Kabul, saw three bullets wounds — one on the chest and two on the hand — on the body of lawmaker Sayed Mustafa Kazimi, the spokesman for Afghanistan's largest opposition political group. It was not known if Kazimi died from the shrapnel or from the bullets. "
I'm surprised NPR hasn't yet asked more people about this alternative account of what happened. For now it seems to be isolated from other, more consistently matching narratives. Some people have said earlier on that they heard gunshots in the wake of the bombing, but not before that, and that's the only thing that might hint at the possibility of Mohammad Bakir Hashimi's account being correct. (Other media sources could have worked on uncovering this by now, for that matter.) I don't think that in the confusion after a huge explosion that did happen anyway, one can so easily distinguish shrapnel wounds from bullet wounds - one'd rather trust proper autopsy with that. But still this might be intresting to clarify.
Ok, to be correct, I see now that this was just an AP report taken as it was by NPR, but still.
Added info: I should have noted, the AP report in question also includes the following remarks: "Narmgui, who was at the site of the attack, said he heard gunfire from security personnel for a short time after the explosion. "I ran into a compound, and when the gunfire stopped, I came out and saw that there were dead bodies everywhere," he said. Five people had been treated for bullet wounds in his hospital, he said. Baghlan's governor, Halam Isakzai, said it was "possible" some victims had been killed by the gunfire." That's Dr. Khalil Narmgui from the Baghlan hospital quoted there. So he was there at the blast, and then just went to work at his hospital. And meanwhile he wasn't one of those who first checked on the medical condition of the people who were scattered about by the blast? Shouldn't more questions have been asked from the doctor by journalists?
(12:30, p.m., Budapest local time)
Update at 12:45, p.m.: I find it somewhat bizarre that I'm reading the same stuff at NPR and Fox News, but the simple reason for that is that they are both using the same AP report. At Fox I found a different version of it, that included information on where MPs who died in the bombing will be buried. Five of the deceased will be buried in Kabul, and one of them (I have to presume it must be Engineer Abdul Mateen) will be laid to rest in Helmand. (Excerpt: "Five of the lawmakers, including Kazimi, will be buried in Kabul, said Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi. One of the slain lawmakers will be buried in Helmand province, he said.") See these earlier two updates for info on which Wolesi Jirga member was from which province.
Update at 13:30, p.m.: (See some added info to an earlier part of this post above.) I'm still studying the AP report I've been discussing today. It says: "A deputy education minister, Abdul Ghafor Ghazniwal, said students he had visited in Kabul hospitals told him that a conservative cleric had told female students to go home because they should not be out in public." Apparently, Baghlan police have arrested two people for telling women to go home from the scene of the ceremony shortly before the attack came. I'm not sure this is that significant, but we will see.
BBC has a more interesting hint from an Afghan MP they talked to in Kabul. "So why was security for the MPs' visit so lax? How could a suicide bomber get so close to the visiting dignitaries? One MP who was supposed to take part in the delegation but could not go because of illness says it was because the MPs themselves did not request extra security." Good for the guy he got sick before the Baghlan visit. Still, this is perhaps not that significant. It might be more interesting that the parliamentary delegation didn't seem to particularly fear for its safety in a province where over September and October the security situation clearly deteriorated. But that might be put down to just being too optimistic, in hindsight.
Finally, this article at the Hungarian defence ministry's site says there were no Hungarians injured in the attack, as the Hungarian PRT wasn't reperesented in any form at the event at the sugar factory. Again, this is something that might seem remarkable, but I'd suspect this might be to do with luck for the PRT that really noone was injured, and with the PRT keeping a low profile in general over what happened, that they are so strongly emphasising this.

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