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1/12/04 - OUTRAGE IN KANDAHAR - 2004-01-13

Terrorists bombed a crowded shopping district in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Fifteen people -- including twelve children -- were killed and fifty-eight were wounded in the January 6th attack. Another twelve people from the Hazara ethnic group were killed the next day in Helmand province when a terrorist fired into a bus. The attacks are believed to be the work of remnants of the Taleban. Unwilling to engage in combat with armed troops and police, the Taleban prefer to murder children and other unarmed civilians.

A spokesman for Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai said "these enemies of Afghanistan, who hide in the darkness to launch attacks on innocent civilians, must be eliminated, and they will be eliminated."

The people of Afghanistan have chosen a path of reconciliation and tolerance. Representatives from the country's diverse ethnic groups met in the loya jirga, Afghanistan's national council, and adopted a new constitution. Tired of repression, extremism, and violence, the people of Afghanistan have begun to lay the foundation of a society in which human rights are respected. For Taleban extremists and al-Qaida terrorists, a democratic Afghanistan is the ultimate defeat and they know it.

President Karzai said that Afghanistan's new constitution "reflects the demands of the people from different parts of our country, to the extent possible, [and] is indeed the fulfillment of the aspirations of our people."

President George W. Bush says the people of Afghanistan have something important to fight for:

"Afghanistan still has many challenges, but that country is making progress, and its people are a world away from the nightmare they endured under the Taleban."

"A democratic Afghanistan," said President Bush, "will serve the interests and just aspirations of all the Afghan people and help ensure that terror finds no refuge in that proud land."