- Leon Panetta named as source of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ scriptwriter’s information
- Mandela service sign language interpreter: ‘He made up his own signs’
- Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
- Ben Affleck: Fundraising for Democrats started to ‘feel gross’
- Vladimir Putin orders military to boost presence in Arctic
- Brooklyn, N.Y.: ‘Lesbian capital’ of the Northeast
- Elian Gonzalez: It’s America’s fault that my mother died
- India top court rules homosexuality is illegal
- Aaron Hernandez, ex-Patriot, on prison life: ‘I’m way less stressed in jail’
- Man pulled from water believed to be disgraced D.C. cop
Karzai: Toll from attacks on Afghan Shiites now 80
President HamidKarzai said during a speech in Kabul that the Dec. 6 bombings were carried out by people seeking to undermine peace and stability. An extremist group in neighboring Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the deadliest of the attacks, a suicide bombing that targeted Shiite crowds gathered around a shrine in Kabul.
Mr. Karzai did not say if the new toll included only those killed in that attack or whether it also included those killed in another blast on the same day targeting Shiites in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sarif. The earlier casualty toll was 56 killed and more than 160 wounded in Kabul, and four killed in Mazar-i-Sharif.
The Pakistani extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi says it carried out the Kabul bombing, raising fears it was trying to stoke Shiite-Sunni tensions in Afghanistan. The group is blamed for many attacks on Shiites in its own country.
Afghanistan, by contrast, largely has been spared the kind of sectarian violence in which civilians are targeted simply for their membership in a particular religious group. The Dec. 6 attacks suggest that at least some militant groups may have shifted tactics, taking aim at ethnic minorities such as the Hazara, who are largely Shiite and support the Afghan government and its Western partners.
“I do not see this turning into a sectarian conflict just looking at the reactions on the part of the Shia leadership calling for calm,” he said.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Sunday that the Afghan insurgent group’s leadership had recently gathered in a shura, or council, to condemn the attacks. The Taliban also strongly condemned the two bombings on the day they took place.
Mr. Mujahid blamed the attacks on the “foreign occupation” of the country but was not specific. In an email sent to the media, he said the Taliban leadership called for the unity of Afghans and had ordered all its fighters to be on the alert and “prevent these kinds of attacks.”
Islamabad is accused of tolerating some militant groups on its soil, but the government has emphatically denied that it has any links to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, saying the group has been targeted by its military.
Mr. Karzai‘s speech touched on another major challenge facing Afghanistan: corruption. Specifically, he asked the United States to send home the former head of Afghanistan’s central bank, Abdul Qadir Fitrat.
Afghanistan has issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Fitrat, who along with other officials at the central bank faces allegations of failing to act on warnings about widespread corruption at Kabul Bank. The institution nearly collapsed last year because of mismanagement and questionable lending practices.
“The government of the United States should cooperate and hand him over to us. Bring Fitrat and hand him over to Afghanistan to make clear who is to blame. But our hand can’t reach to America,” Mr. Karzai said in the speech, made during an event marking U.N.-sponsored International Anti-corruption Day.
He said Mr. Fitrat held American citizenship.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- New budget accord saves $23 billion -- after $65 billion spending spree
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama hits new poll lows for approval 38 percent
- Gov't Motors: Obama fudges math on auto bailout, $10.5 billion loss for taxpayers
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- LAMBRO: The dark lining to the silver cloud of Obamanomics
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Helping the YOUniverse conspire on your behalf.
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow