Syria: Car Bomb Explodes In Damascus Ten children and US diplomat killed in weekend of Afghanistan violence

Schoolchildren are reported to be among the dead after a car bomb exploded at the heart of the city’s business district.

A car bomb has exploded in the business district of the Syrian capital killing 15 people and leaving at least 47 injured.

A government official said the explosion occurred at one of the capital’s biggest roundabouts in Sabaa Bahrat, the city’s main business district, which houses the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.

A resident described the explosion as the biggest she had heard in the capital and said that large plumes of smoke were rising from the area.

Cars burn after a boming in Damascus


original story

Ten children and US diplomat killed in weekend of Afghanistan violence

Press officer among six dead in suicide bombing as Nato accused of killing civilians in Kunar

Anne Smedinghoff

A suicide attack claimed six lives, including the first US state department officer to die in Afghanistan since the 1970s, and Nato air attacks killed 10 children over a weekend that was a bloody reminder of the scale of the country’s conflict.

On Saturday, an attacker detonated a vehicle full of explosives in the centre of Qalat just as a US military convoy passed the provincial governor and his entourage. The blast killed and seriously injured several people from both groups, including a young Kabul-based diplomat, Anne Smedinghoff.

Separately, 10 children and an Afghan woman were killed by air strikes during an hours-long battle in a remote part of eastern Kunar province on the same day, senior local officials said. A US civilian adviser to the Afghan intelligence agency was also killed in the fight. “In the morning after sunrise, planes appeared in the sky and air strikes started and continued until evening,” said tribal elder Gul Pasha, who is also the chief of the local council in Shultan, where the bombing happened.

A senior Taliban commander was in the house, but so were women and children between one and 12 years old who were members of his family, Pasha told the Associated Press by telephone.

Explosion in Qalat, Zabul province

The scene after the explosion in Qalat, in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, which killed six people. Photograph: AP

“I don’t think that they knew that all these children and women were in the house because they were under attack from the house and they were shooting at the house,” he told the Associated Press by telephone from the district.

Civilian casualties caused by foreign forces have been one of the most emotive and high-profile issues of the war in Afghanistan, prompting street protests and condemnation from officials including President Hamid Karzai.

They remain a frequent flashpoint for national anger, and earlier this year Karzai banned Afghan forces from calling in air strikes, although his order appears to have been ignored on the ground.

The deaths came as the most senior US general, Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, arrived in the country to discuss long-term training plans for Afghan soldiers, who from this summer are expected be leading the fight against the Taliban.


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