Afghanistan

Blast Shakes Kabul

Just one day after lifting a flag over Marja, a huge explosion, followed by scattered gunfire, shook the Afghan capital of Kabul. There has been no confirmation as to what caused the 6:30 a.m. blast. "Our police have gone to the scene and they are investigating," said a ministry spokesperson. A U.S. general had been optimistic after the flag-hoisting in Marja, where U.S. and Afghan forces are pushing hard against insurgents, saying it was "a new beginning" and the Afghans "believe there is a fresh start for Marja under the government of Afghanistan." But the blast in Kabul may have stirred up fresh anxiety. Sirens and a loudspeaker told residents to stay indoors shortly after the bomb went off, as gunfire continued for half an hour.