Army tightens grip on Kandahar

Afghan military takes control of security in city in the wake of latest deadly attacks.

    This week's attacks have shaken a city that has become used to years of violence [Reuters]

    Twenty-four hours later a rocket hit the city's main square, destroying several stores.

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    Security tightened in Kandahar
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    Al Jazeera's correspondent Zeina Khodr, who is in Kandahar, says the two attacks have prompted Afghan authorities to change the way they deal with security in what is regarded as the country's most dangerous city.

    She said that prior to the attacks the many different security agencies that operate in Kandahar rarely cooperated or shared information, contributing to lapses in security.

    Mohammed Riza, a soldier with the Afghan army, told Al Jazeera the military was better trained to maintain security in the city and had better resources than the local police.

    "The police force is weak," he said. "They only have one magazine of bullets – our soldiers have 15."

    International forces, particularly Canadian troops, are helping to support the Afghan army, strengthening security at the entrances to the city.

    Memorial

    Kandahar residents have become used to years of violence, but the scale of the recent attacks, particularly Tuesday's truck bombing, has left many stunned.

    Officials say poor cooperation on security has contributed to lapses [Reuters]
    On Thursday Afghan officials and local residents held a memorial in honour of the attack victims by slaughtering a cow.

    The mayor of Kandahar province, Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, said they were praying for such incidents never to happen again.

    According to the Afghan interior ministry, Tuesday's blast came from remote-controlled explosives planted in a truck, but it is not known who planted the device.

    A Taliban spokesman on Wednesday denied any responsibility, and said that the group condemned the attack.

    The recent violence in Kandahar comes as the war-torn country awaits results from last week's election.

    According to the latest results Hamid Karzai, the incumbent president, has extended his lead over his top challenger Abdullah Abdullah, although he remains short of the 50 per cent he needs to avoid a two-man runoff.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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