WASHINGTON, June 15, 2006 – A bus bombing in Afghanistan killed several passengers this morning, and Operation Mountain Thrust continues in the southern portion of the country, military officials said. A bus exploded near the intersection of highways 1 and 4 in Kandahar City at about 8 a.m. today. The explosion, caused by a bomb on the bus, killed seven and injured 17. It was believed to be a deliberate attack against Afghan civilians.
Afghan national security forces and coalition forces have responded by assisting with the evacuation of casualties to the Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar City. "This is a cowardly and senseless attack on innocent Afghans, trying to make a better life for themselves and their families," said Canadian army Brig. Gen. David Fraser, commander of the coalition forces in southern Afghanistan. "We will assist the Afghan authorities in their investigation and provide any support they need to bring those responsible to justice."
In southern Afghanistan, Operation Mountain Thrust is moving forward with large-scale operations in southern Afghanistan. The operation is a successive phase of an ongoing campaign to disrupt enemy forces, interdict safe havens, extend the reach of the government of Afghanistan, and facilitate good governance, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, according to officials. More than 10,000 Afghan and coalition forces are participating in Mountain Thrust, which will put heavy pressure on insurgent sanctuaries and known areas of operation in order to disrupt insurgents' ability to intimidate the Afghan people. Coalition forces are supporting Afghan national security forces, which have the lead for this operation that began in mid-May.
These operations are the precursor to follow-on operations that will strengthen good governance in the region, improve security, and enable reconstruction and economic development, officials said. Recent operations in Kandahar, Helmand and Oruzgan pursuing enemy fighters and leadership are a direct result of Mountain Thrust. There is no scheduled end date for Mountain Thrust. Operations will continue until objectives are met. This operation also will help set conditions for NATO-International Security Assistance Force transition also scheduled later this summer.