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

Friday, November 9, 2007

Terrorism hits Baghlan: Update V.

Joshua Foust at Registan reported rumours from Kabul yesterday, that show how much guessing is going on related to the questions left unanswered in the wake of the November 6 sugar factory bombing in Baghlan. Joshua quoted yesterday from an e-mail he got from Kabul the following (I'm posting only a short part of the original text here):
" There are various ideas flying around town at the moment. One that has come into currency today, and that is just about believable, is that the attack was carried out (in some way) by members of the United National Front, who have been observed visiting schools and mosques etc today calling on people to go out on the streets to protest against the government. "
There are several hints in the text that give me the impression this is still not something I should take very seriously. The person who sent the e-mail says that Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami is "the second best candidate" to have committed the attack, after the United National Front, when in fact I would say that the UNF as such (as opposed to individual warlords) is not a candidate at all really (so surely not the first candidate). The person in question also says that he/she can't put this thing (taking out their own spokesman to further their aims) past the UNF. So perhaps this is not the most UNF-friendly source one can quote on the issue (I don't know the person, so the only clue I have is the text of the e-mail in front of me). Still it's significant there are such rumours, if not for any other reason, then for their destabilising potential to create rift in the ranks of the UNF it is.
The BBC throws some wood on the fire, as they write in a new article:
" ... there are persistent claims - including from some MPs - that the bombing was not a suicide attack, but an explosion from a rocket or a roadside bomb.
If it was not a suicide bombing, then the range of suspects widens considerably, to take in local warlords or even economic disputes over the forthcoming privatisation of a cement factory. "
I would have been glad if they would have gone a bit more specific on that statement. There is a cement factory in Pul-i-Khumri for example, so if that's the one they're referring to, that's bad news for Baghlan. I mean if the conspiracy theory of a false flag operation is correct. Which I don't believe at the moment.
Péter Wagner notes, related to the question of why the Hungarian PRT wasn't present at the event, that it might have been a precaution. ISAF does indeed collect some useful intel and has information from time to time, that did prove correct on occasions before, that suicide bombers had/have gone up north, sometimes with even specific knowledge of how many. Such wannabe bombers have to get through all sorts of people's areas so there indeed is a chance that such a venture may not go entirely unnoticed and may thus not remain a secret forever, in fact not even till an attack actually is to occur. So it would be interesting to know if ISAF's security briefing gave any such clue in the weeks running up to November 6. If there was such information, revealing it could prevent an escalation of any potential conflict among the crucial players in the north, which would obviously be beneficial to the security situation in Baghlan.
Else. I'll have to be away from home during the day, so I'll say this is to finish this post for a while: the Kabul funeral for those Afghan MPs who were buried there, in the capital, has taken place. Mustafa Kazemi was buried while a cleric sang a Hazara prayer song for him. Which reminds me, if rumours were to get out of hand, that would reinforce Hazaras' sense of being victims (killed by the scores during the Taliban; Bamiyan's governor's complaints that they are not getting as much aid as the southern provinces that are rewarded in her view for the insurgency there; the traditional Hazara-Kuchi and Hazara-Pashtun enmities; and then this...). Here's a picture of the wreath and the funeral portrait of Nazek Mir Sarfaraz (an MP from Kunduz province).
R.I.P., with the I.P. part wished both to those deceased and to those alive. (Photo by AP - source)

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