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Kabul attack prompts more security concerns -

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EMMA ALBERICI: It was the deadliest attack in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Forty-one people were killed and 139 others were wounded, when a suicide bomber rammed an
explosives-laden car into the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital.

It's put more pressure on the Afghan government which is already dealing with public anger over
claims that two wedding parties have been attacked in separate Coalition military strikes against
Taliban militants.

Adding to its strained relationship with the west, the latest incidents have come at time when the
Afghan government has rushed through anti-corruption legislation which aid groups say is hindering
meaningful reconstruction of the country.

Barney Porter reports.

BARNEY PORTER: The explosion in Kabul destroyed two embassy vehicles, blew the front gates off, all
but destroyed its walls and badly damaged buildings inside the compound.

As well, windows hundreds of metres away were shattered.

WITNESS (translated): We heard an explosion. The dust covered us and then we saw dead bodies
everywhere.

WITNESS 2 (translated): I can't get to the site to see what happened. My son is there. What can I
do?

WITNESS 3 (translated): The Indian Embassy was the exact target. The bomber drove a Toyota Corolla
right into it. He was inside when it detonated.

BARNEY PORTER: The finger is being pointed at India's rival Pakistan - the main backer of the
Taliban when it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 - but Islamabad denies the Afghan accusations,
and has strongly condemned the attack.

The UN Security Council has also condemned the attack, and expressed concern about the threats to
security from the Taliban, al-Qaeda, illegal armed groups, criminals and drugs traffickers.

Nearly 700 Afghan civilians were killed in the first six months of this year - most of them by
Taliban militants but 255 of them were killed by Afghan government and international troops.

In one of the latest incidents, a government official in a remote region on the border with
Pakistan says as many as 27 people were killed in a Coalition air strike, as they were walking to a
wedding.

Lal Wazir says men, women and children were among the dead, and up to 11 others were wounded.

LAL WAZIR (translated): It was 6.30 in the morning and the wedding party was on their way to the
groom's house in another village he says. They stopped in a narrow location for rest. The plane
came and bombed the area. There were between 80 to 90 people altogether. We've carried six of the
injured to this hospital, and more might be coming.

BARNEY PORTER: The US-led coalition denies any civilians were hit, saying instead several militants
were killed.

Earlier, President Hamid Karzai had ordered an investigation into allegations that missiles from US
helicopters killed at least 15 civilians in another part of the country's east. Again, the Defence
Ministry says 20 militants were either killed or wounded.

Civilian casualties have caused friction between the Afghan government and NATO troops in the past,
and has weakened the standing of the Western-backed President in the eyes of the population.

But such disputed incidents are not the only cause of friction.

In Paris last month, international donors pledged to provide more than $20-billion dollars in aid
but they also wanted greater efficiency and accountability from the Afghan government.

The UN's special envoy to Afghanistan is Kai Eide.

KAI EIDE: The aid provided by the international community is far from as effective as we wanted to
be so what we had put in place, mechanisms that can trace the money from the donor to the project
and to see with that, as little as possible is spent in the donor country. That as much as possible
is being used to build Afghan capacity.

Also with regard to ensuring that we combat corruption as much as possible.

BARNEY PORTER: The Afghan Government has just passed an anti-corruption law. A senior Cabinet
member, the Education Minister, Haneef Atmar, has told the BBC the issue is high on the
government's agenda.

HANEEF ATMAR: We are more concerned about a, service delivery and the performance of government
officials trying to take bribes from people and obviously this is something of grave concern to all
of us.

BARNEY PORTER: Paul Fishtein heads the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, a think tank based
in Kabul.

He says any improvement will be incremental.

PAUL FISHTEIN: There needs to be some you know, obviously, capacity building. There has to be
procedures developed but I think even more than that, there needs to be, at least the way we
perceive things, a real commitment from the highest levels of the Government, that there is a real
commitment to combat corruption and some real specific actions in the area of appointments, removal
of certain officials. I think these things would send a very strong message to the population as
well as to the international community.

EMMA ALBERICI: Paul Fishtein, the head of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit ending that
report by Barney Porter.