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Canadians pay tribute to families lost in deadly bombings

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Canadians pay tribute to families lost in deadly bombings

Post by shammy on Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:11 pm

25th February, 2008

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A mullah's sombre voice echoed through a sunlit room in Kandahar on Sunday as Canadians and Afghans closed their eyes together in prayer.

One week after a deadly bombing in the Arghandab claimed more than 100 Afghan lives, the Canadian military wanted to pay tribute to their families and invited them to a condolence ceremony and to lunch outside the Provincial Reconstruction Team base.

"Just like back home in Canada, when something of this magnitude happens, of such tragedy, it's normal that when we have a connection with people we want to share their tragedy," said Maj. James Allen, the officer commanding the Civil Military Co-operation Team in Kandahar.

"We want to show them that we feel their pain and we understand."

The invitees were delivered door-to-door, after staff at the PRT told soldiers about all the families they knew who had been affected by the explosion.

The region has seen its share of chaos over the last six months.

After the revered leader of the Arghandab, Mullah Naqib, died of a heart attack, his legacy was threatened by a re-emergence of the Taliban.

Canadian and Afghan forces fought back and declared a campaign to clear the region of insurgents won.

But nothing had prepared the residents for the horrors of the blast and the uncertainties that follow.

Gul Mohammad, 70, was at home with his wife when they heard of the explosion.

They raced to the scene and found their son Hayat, 20, dead.

Hayat supported his parents and four siblings by his work as a labourer.

"I am worried," Mohammad said. "Now I am thinking I will have to find a job, maybe as a security guard to support my family."

Thirty-six men and boys attended the ceremony after listening to the Qur'an being recited in a nearby mosque, a tradition that is said to hasten the forgiveness of the dead by Allah.

It is only Allah who can make sense of the tragedy for Mohammad.

"I wish peace would come in our country," he said, his voice breaking.

"I just will pray."


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