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Suicide attack

December 6, 2011

One day after the international community met in Bonn to discuss the future of Afghanistan, blasts rocked Kabul, killing dozens. Afghan and German leaders condemned the attacks as they discussed a future partnership.

The scene after the attack
The attack targetted Shiite Muslims on the holy day AshuraImage: picture-alliance/dpa

A suicide bomber attacked a Shiite shrine in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Tuesday, killing at least 54 people, one day after Afghanistan's Western allies had pledged long-term support following the withdrawal of international troops in 2014.

"This is the first time that on such an important religious day there is terrorism of that horrible nature taking place," Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a news conference in Berlin. "We hope a quick recovery to those who are injured."

Bonn conference
The delegates in Bonn promised another decade of engagement in AfghanistanImage: dapd

The victims in Kabul were celebrating the holy day of Ashura. A blast in the northern city of Mazari-i-Sharif killed four other Shiites.

Karzai was meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the two nation's bilateral relations. Around 1,000 delegates from 100 nations had convened in the former West German capital, Bonn, on Monday where they pledged to support Afghanistan for the next decade.

Chancellor Merkel offered her condolence to the Afghan president, saying "we have to keep working hard … to be able to ensure security in Afghanistan."

Future partnership

President Karzai and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Tuesday to negotiate an agreement that would lay the foundations for a future partnership between the two nations, including economic cooperation aimed at "fair" access to the war-torn nation's abundant mineral resources.

"We discussed a future partnership between Afghanistan and Germany," President Karzai told reporters during a joint news conference with Merkel in Berlin. "(This is) something Afghanistan has been seeking for some time and I'm glad to see Madame Chancellor has agreed to it."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Merkel and Karzai discussed a future partnershipImage: dapd

When asked about the details of the envisioned agreement, Merkel said that the partnership would likely include further training for Afghan security sources as well as professional training for Afghanistan's youth.

The chancellor said that in the context of professional training, Germany could provide its technical know-how on mining to help Afghanistan exploit and provide "fair access" its abundant mineral resources. Afghanistan has around $1 trillion (746 million euros) of untapped mineral resources, according to an internal Pentagon memo seen by the American newspaper the New York Times.

Peace process

President Karzai said Afghanistan remains committed to combating corruption by strengthening the civil service so that employees are "secure in their jobs" and can carry out their duties without being vulnerable to political influence. He said simplifying Afghanistan's laws and procedures would reduce corruption.

Karzai told journalists that he had a "very frank and very fruitful discussion about the peace process" in Afghanistan with Chancellor Merkel. The Afghan president emphasized the need to deal with militants who operate out of neighboring Pakistan.

"Unless we address the sanctuaries and work toward a comprehensive understanding of our problems and the eradication of radicalism we will neither see peace in Afghanistan or peace and stability in Pakistan," Karzai said.

"Pakistan's role in any negotiations with the Taliban is important and that's what we are seeking," he added.

Pakistan boycotted the Afghanistan conference in Bonn in reaction to NATO helicopter strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

Author: Spencer Kimball (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Holly Fox