(KABUL, Afghanistan) — At least 40 people were killed by bombings Tuesday in what was one of Afghanistan’s most violent days of the year.
No one claimed immediate responsibility for the assaults, although suspicion immediately fell on the Taliban, which has been actively seeking to retain the power it lost following a U.S.-led invasion nearly 11 years ago.
In the deadliest of the strikes, witnesses said that a group of 10 suicide bombers went on a mission to blow themselves up in heavily-populated areas of Zaranj, the capital of southwestern Nimruz province.
Three of the bombers were successful in detonating the explosives near government buildings, killing 30 passersby and wounding 60 others in the process.
Afghan security forces did manage to shoot dead three of the assailants and capture four others before they could blow themselves up.
Later in the day, 10 civilians died and more than 30 were wounded by a remotely detonated bomb attack in the northern province of Kunduz.
Responding to the assaults on civilians, the commander of NATO forces appealed to the Taliban’s supreme leader to stop the bloodshed.
Gen. John Allen said, “What we saw today were further acts of intentional mass murder. Once again, I call on Mullah Omar to rein in his murderers. His intentions not to target civilians are hollow.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Andreas Preuss and Joe Sutton, CNN
Roshni Majumdar and Deborah Bloom, CNN Newswire