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Afghanistan Not Slipping into Chaos, Says Karzai - 2002-09-06

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his country is not slipping into chaos, following an assassination attempt against him and a bomb attack that killed more than 20 people on Thursday. Mr. Karzai's narrow escape from death on Thursday, and the mid-afternoon car bomb attack on a busy Kabul street has shocked Afghans.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul after returning from the southern city of Kandahar where the assassination attempt took place, President Karzai said Thursday's attacks were independent acts, that do not translate into violence all over Afghanistan.

Following a meeting with Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov the first such visit by a Russian Defense Minister since the collapse of the Soviet Union - Afghan Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim said the attacks would not disrupt overall general security in Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Colonel Roger King, a spokesman for the coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan, says the International Security Assistance Force responsible for security in and around Kabul has established a secure environment in the capital. He also says there are no current plans to reinforce U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan following Thursday's attacks. "I think we have about the right force mix," he said. "ISAF, [International Security Assistance Force] has the responsibility for Kabul and its environs. I do not see anything coming from this [the attacks] as far a change in the way we do business or the allocation of forces."

Police have arrested 18 people in Kandahar in connection with the attack on Mr. Karzai and two people in Kabul they say were involved in the car bomb attack. Mr. Karzai and other senior officials say they believe Taleban and al-Qaida elements were behind both attacks.