Bomb Rattles Afghan Capital
Dec. 29, 2000
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ A powerful bomb shattered the windows of a small hotel in Afghanistan's capital and frightened nearby residents, but no injuries were reported, police said Friday.
The bomb exploded outside the Khorasan Hotel in Kabul late Thursday, said Mullah Rahmatullah, a police spokesman. No one took responsibility, but the country's ruling Taliban militia blamed their northern-based opposition. Opposition officials denied involvement.
The opposition, led by ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani and his former defense chief Ahmed Shah Massood, rules about 5 percent of Afghanistan and the Taliban control the remaining 95 percent. Both sides are battling for more territory.
One occupant of the hotel, who refused to be identified, said no one was hurt in Thursday's explosion.
The small hotel was mostly occupied by exiles from Arab nations, Rahmatullah said. Afghanistan has become a refuge for hundreds of residents of Arab countries, most of whom cannot return home because of their affiliation with radical Islamic groups.
The most well-known of these men is suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, wanted by the United States on suspicion of involvement in the 1998 twin bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.
Earlier this month, the United Nations imposed fresh sanctions on the Taliban to press a demand that they hand over bin Laden for trial in the United States or a third country. The Taliban have refused, saying bin Laden is a guest in their country and there is no evidence of his involvement in terrorism.
The Taliban espouse a harsh brand of Islamic law that bars women from working and girls from attending school beyond the age of eight. They have also banned most forms of light entertainment, and they require men to wear beards and pray in mosques.
The Taliban ousted various other Islamic factions from Kabul in 1996, accusing them of widespread killing and destruction. Prior to the Taliban takeover, four years of bitter factional fighting between the Islamic groups left much of the capital in ruins.