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Afghanistan: Interior Minister Calls For Outside Security Help

Kabul, 14 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said Afghanistan needs more outside help to deal with massive security problems and an upsurge in deadly violence. The minister spoke a day after about 65 people were killed in different regions of Afghanistan in a combination of bomb blasts, factional fighting, and ambushes.

The dead included two Red Crescent workers, women and children, pro-government forces, and Taliban and other guerrilla fighters. It was Afghanistan's worst single day of bloodshed in about a year.

The interior minister in particular condemned a bus bombing that killed 15 people in the Helmand Province, saying it indicated that terrorists may be starting to attack civilian targets.

He also said terrorist suspects recently arrested have said they received training and instructions from sources outside Afghanistan. He did not say from where.

In a related development, the United Nations refugee agency today suspended operations in the eastern city of Asadabad after a rocket was fired near one of its compounds. The agency has also suspended operations in Konar Province.