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U.N.: Most Afghan Suicide Attacks Start in Pakistan

Associated Press
Sunday, September 9, 2007

KABUL, Sept. 8 -- More than 80 percent of suicide bombers in Afghanistan are recruited and trained in neighboring Pakistan, the United Nations said in a report that showed attacks running at record levels this year.

Most of the suicide bombers are poor, young and uneducated, and many are Afghan, according to the report, which was based on interviews with failed attackers, other militants and security officials.

The report, set for release Sunday, also stressed the role of refugee camps and Islamic schools in the tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan in the recruitment and training of the bombers.

"The phenomenon of suicide attacks in Afghanistan is inherently linked to a variety of structures and institutions across the border in Pakistan," it said, noting that "over 80 percent" of bombers passed through training facilities in the Waziristan region of the country.

Pakistan, which has also experienced a recent surge in suicide attacks, concedes that Taliban fighters have sought refuge on its side of the border, and the government has deployed tens of thousands of troops to try to uproot them.

In 2006, there were 123 recorded suicide attacks in Afghanistan, up from 17 the year before, the report said. This year, there were 103 attacks as of the end of August, putting 2007 on course to set a new benchmark, the U.N said.

While the targets of such attacks have been exclusively military or government in nature, 80 percent of the 183 victims until June this year were civilian, the report said.

The report also said the bombs were not claiming more lives per attack, suggesting little sustained innovation and contradicting a widely repeated assessment that expertise from Iraqi insurgents was being imported into Afghanistan.

Elsewhere, two British soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack Saturday in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, Britain's Ministry of Defense said.

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