WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2011 — WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2011 ï¿½ Afghan President Hamid Karzai and senior U.S. military and diplomatic leaders in Afghanistan jointly condemned today’s terrorist attacks in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif that reportedly killed and wounded dozens of innocent Afghan civilians observing the Ashura religious festival, military officials reported.
“An attack against Ashura pilgrims on one of the holiest of days in the Islamic calendar is an attack against Islam itself, and we denounce and condemn these atrocities in the strongest of terms,” said Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force. “Our prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those innocent civilians killed or injured in today’s horrific attacks.”
NATO’s senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Simon Gass, said, “The attacks today in Afghanistan, on such an important religious day, are horrifying and to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
“That men, women and children are killed and injured on Ashura is particularly tragic,” Gass continued. “Our prayers and condolences are with them all and their family and friends.”
“Just a few days ago,” Allen said, “20 scholars from prestigious Islamic religious centers around the world condemned violence under the name of Islam in Afghanistan and other countries.
“This insurgency, which wraps itself in a false veil of Islam, must know that killing innocent pilgrims will spell their own demise,” the general said. “Once again, I call on Mullah Omar to condemn this grotesque act of terrorism.”
In Afghanistan operations yesterday:
— A Haqqani network leader responsible for a recent car bomb attack was captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force in the Pul‑e ‘Alam district of Logar province.
The leader was responsible for the Dec. 2 car bomb attack in the Muhammad Aghah district, which killed a civilian and wounded nine others. One suspected insurgent also was detained.
— A combined force captured a Taliban leader and a suspected insurgent in the Dehdadi district of Balkh province. The leader conducted attacks against Afghan forces.
— A Taliban leader was captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force in the Nawah-ye Barakzai district of Helmand province. The leader manufactured roadside bombs.
— A combined force captured a Taliban insurgent and detained several suspects in the Qalat district of Zabul province.
— In the Ghorak district of Kandahar province, a combined force detained several suspects during a search for a Taliban facilitator who distributes narcotics and roadside bomb-making materials.
— A combined force seized bomb-making materials and detained several suspects while searching for a Taliban leader in the Khogyani district of Ghazni province. The leader directs insurgent operations in the district. In Dec. 4 Afghanistan operations:
— A combined force confiscated a weapons cache containing 31 pressure plates, 15 30mm rounds, nine recoilless rifle rounds, 15 pounds of explosives and electronic detonation devices in Helmand’s Kajaki district.
— In Helmand’s Musa Qal’ ah district, a combined force seized a weapons cache containing 14 mines and one 105 mm casing with nine pounds of explosive material and metal fragments.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force and ISAF Joint Command News Releases