At least 20 civilians were killed today, three of them children, when a suicide bomber hit a currency exchange shop in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province. Several people were also wounded in the strike, the deadliest in months.
Officials speculated the bomber was initially planning to attack a NATO meeting with tribal elders going on further down the road. They could not explain why the bomber hit the currency exchange instead of the meeting.
The attack typified a war in which civilians are increasingly taking the bulk of the casualties. According to the United Nations 2,412 civilians were slain in 2009, and between this attack and a NATO hit on civilian protesters earlier this week it looks as though 2010 will be just as bad.
But perhaps the biggest concern is that the attacks are continuing apace this month. Generally the Afghan War grinds to a halt in winter and doesn’t resume at full pace until the spring thaw. This year, there has been virtually no winter lull, which may raise concerns that the spring will mean even worse violence than the record seen in 2009.
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