News / Asia

    Afghan Blast Adds to Election Security Fears

    • Afghans help an injured man into a vehicle after a suicide attack in Maimana, Faryab province, Afghanistan, March 18, 2014.
    • A police officer stands at the site of a suicide blast in Faryab, Afghanistan, March 18, 2014.
    • People stand near debris at the site of a suicide blast in Faryab, Afghanistan, March 18, 2014.
    • Afghan police forces and civilians inspect the site of a suicide attack in Maimana, Faryab province, Afghanistan, March 18, 2014.
    Suicide Attack at an Afghan Market
    A suicide bomber has attacked a busy market in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 15 civilians.  There are some fears that violence will increase before the April 5 Afghan presidential and provincial elections.

    A man driving a rickshaw into a crowded market Tuesday detonated the bomb, killing or wounding scores of civilians in the northern province of Faryab.

    No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place near a security checkpoint, but the Taliban and allied militants are known to operate in the area.

    A lawmaker from Faryab, Naqibullah Fayeq, said the suicide bomber killed only innocent bystanders.

    He said the very sad part of this attack was that all those killed were women, children and workers.

    President Hamid Karzai blamed the attack on those working for “foreign interests,” but did not elaborate.

    The bomb blast added to the security concerns surrounding the April 5 elections.  The Taliban have threatened all those who take part in the vote.

    Jandad Speenghar of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan said violence would affect the voting.

    "Any security incident close to the election day can affect psychologically on people participation, especially on those areas where such event is happening of course the people of that area might [be] scared and not participate in the election.  It will affect directly on people of specific areas," said Speenghar.

    Lawmaker Fayeq said more attacks were expected.  He called for Karzai to put an end to the violence.

    He said, "Right now the security forces in Faryab are saying they are expecting more suicide bombings and explosions in the province."  Fayeq wanted the Afghan government and the Afghan president to ask his Taliban brothers to stop the explosions. 

    He said "What happened today was not an explosion, it was a massacre."
    The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a statement that the use of homemade bombs in a civilian location such as a market was “atrocious and cannot be justified.”

    In the first two and a half months of 2014, homemade bombs or IEDs have killed 190 civilians in Afghanistan, a 14 percent increase over the same period last year.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora