WASHINGTON, Sep. 1, 2006 – Extremists severely damaged a co-ed school in Afghanistan's Paktika province today with a makeshift bomb, U.S. military officials reported. The munition caused major damage to the roof and most of the inside of the Malekshay School, whose grand-opening ceremony was scheduled for next week. No one was in the school at the time of the explosion.
Afghan National Police secured the area and are investigating the incident. A coalition explosive ordnance disposal team was sent to investigate the site. "This is one more extremist attack on the education system in Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman. "They recognize that knowledge is power and would prefer the general public remain ignorant so they can't challenge their oppressive ways. We will continue to support and strengthen educational opportunities for all Afghans so that they may be empowered to improve their own lives and the future of their country."
In other news from Afghanistan, a chain of four makeshift bombs was discovered and destroyed by coalition forces in Paktika province yesterday. The first bomb was discovered on the side of a road, and a U.S. explosive ordnance disposal team examined the device and detonated it in place, revealing three more bombs, which had been placed 10 to 15 feet apart in the middle of the road. Those bombs were also destroyed in place.
"Coalition forces have once again neutralized the threat of roadside bombs in Afghanistan," Fitzpatrick said. "An increasing number of improvised explosive devices are being discovered by coalition forces or turned in to Afghan security forces before they can be used to harm others."
No injuries to civilians or coalition forces were reported.
"Taliban extremists went to great lengths attempting to entrap Afghan and coalition forces with multiple improvised explosive devices but it didn't work,' Fitzpatrick said. "Both military forces and the Afghan people are safe today thanks to the outstanding, training, valor and professionalism of Afghan and coalition forces."