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US 'Strongly Condemns'  Kabul Bombings - 2002-09-05

U.S. officials are condemning the bomb attacks in Kabul, while expressing relief that Afghan President Hamid Karzai emerged unharmed from an assassination attempt against him in Kandahar.

Officials here say they do not know if the Kabul blasts and the attempt on Mr. Karzai's life were related. But they say they underline that Afghanistan remains a dangerous place and the importance of the international effort underway to rebuild the country's security forces.

A spokeswoman here said the United States "strongly condemns" the twin Kabul bombings and loss of innocent life there. She said she was unaware of American casualties or any claim of responsibility for the attacks in a crowded downtown area of the capital near the ministry of information.

She said U.S. officials are "pleased" that President Karzai was unhurt in the gun attack on his car in Kandahar and wish a speedy recovery to provincial governor Gul Agha Sherzai, who was said to have been slightly injured.

Mr. Karzai is to meet President Bush next week at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. During the New York visit, State Department security agents are to replace the U.S. military special forces personnel who have been operating as an interim security team for Mr. Karzai, while an Afghan protective force is being trained.