Explosion wounds 100 people in market in Mazar-e-Sharif

Thursday, December 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan (AP) _ An explosion ripped through a market in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif on Thursday, wounding 100 people, hospital officials and witnesses said.

The blast occurred late Thursday afternoon. One of the wounded said he saw a fragmentation grenade roll into the moneychangers' section of the central market before the explosion.

The local health minister, Mirwais Rabde Sherzod, called the explosion a terrorist act.

``The people who did this meant to destroy the peace and tranquility of our city,'' Sherzod said.

A security guard in Mazar-e-Sharif's central hospital said more than 100 wounded had been registered, according to an Iranian television crew. Hospital officials said six people were seriously wounded.

Television footage showed several people lying in hospital cots with bandages around their legs and faces. Some of them were attached to intravenous drips.

Mazar-e-Sharif was the first major Taliban-held city to fall since the U.S. launched its campaign in Afghanistan. Backed by U.S. bombardment, northern alliance fighters took the city Nov. 9 with the help of American special forces.