POSTCARD FROM KANDAHAR
By Anuj Chopra
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- This volatile city in southern Afghanistan, known as the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban, isn't unfamiliar with the staccato rattle of gunfire and the thunder of explosions. But last week's bomb attack — the deadliest in years — has deepened the anguish of war-weary Kandaharis living in the shadow of rising violence. A cluster of vehicle bombs ripped through a central area of Kandahar, killing 43 and injuring 65, nearly all of them civilians. The ear-piercing explosions sent shock waves through the city, smashing windows miles away from the bombing site and leaving broken shards of glass and mangled remains of cars strewn on the streets. Heaps of rubble and smoldering debris lay amid dozens of damaged buildings, now resembling more the ruins of an ancient civilization.