Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bomber attacks Afghan hotel

A suicide bomber killed at least 15 people and wounded 24 in a hotel restaurant in Urgun, Paktika province. The bomber was apparently targeting local officials in the restaurant. Whether this represents a change in tactics from focusing attacks on vehicles and convoys remains to be seen.

So far there this year there have been 102 suicide bombings in Afghanistan that have killed 241 people (mostly civilians). Last year there only about 20 such attacks. And while the number of suicide bombings has increased dramatically, they still pale in comparison to Iraq, where over 1,300 people have been killed this year from around 160 attacks.

There's speculation that the lower fatality rate in Afghanistan is due to bombers not receiving as much training and not having as sophisticated of support networks (including guides to select targets) that are present in Iraq. Obviously both of these factors could be fairly easily addressed and if they are, the lethality of attacks will almost certainly increase.

From an NGO perspective, the trend is worth watching. In the future, simply avoiding military vehicles and convoys may not be a sufficient enough security measure to optimally decrease the risk from suicide bombing attacks.


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