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Destruction of Kurram Village, Afghanistan

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Dear colleagues

Last week, some terrorists, flying huge military airplanes, bombed the
Kurram village near Jalalabad out of existence.  Unfortunately, the
design of one and two storied Group R- Division III structures was
incapable of withstanding the 25 explosion that shook the village in the
middle of the night.  Almost everyone died.

The deaths are attributed to poor structural design and non enforcement
of building codes in Afghanistan.  All houses were made with
unreinforced clay-brick masonry in lime mortar (Type-O).  The brittle
failure of heavy walls under explosion loading caused the most damage to

The roofs were 22swg sheets over 2x4s.  These were overlaid with a thick
layer of mud mixed with grass.  When the roofs collapsed, the inmates
were burried in this mud. All materials used in construction of these
houses had only one objective. To keep the blistering winter and
scorching summer of Eastern Afghanistan out.

As most of the houses were owner-designed and built, with the help of a
village mason - all dead, we cannot ask their point of view.   But since
some of the aiders and abeters of this massacre may be on the list, we
may ask there opinion on how to destroy lime-brick houses with 5000lb

Syed Abulkhair Masroor
Consulting Structural Engineer
Karachi, Pakistan.

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