Dozens killed in Afghanistan bomb at­tack

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

KABUL: A Tal­iban sui­cide at­tacker det­o­nated a car bomb in the western part of Kabul yes­ter­day, killing up to 35 peo­ple and wound­ing more than 40, govern­ment of­fi­cials said, in one of the worst at­tacks in the Afghan cap­i­tal in re­cent weeks.

Po­lice cor­doned off the area, lo­cated near the house of the deputy govern­ment chief ex­ec­u­tive Mo­ham­mad Mo­haqiq in a part of the city where many of the mainly Shia Hazara com­mu­nity live.

The sui­cide bomb­ing, which tar­geted govern­ment per­son­nel, con­tin­ued the un­re­lent­ing vi­o­lence that has killed more than 1 700 civil­ians in Afghanistan so far this year.

The Tal­iban, which is bat­tling the Western-backed govern­ment and a Nato-led coali­tion for con­trol of Afghanistan, has launched a wave of at­tacks around the coun­try in re­cent days, spark­ing fight­ing in more than half a dozen prov­inces.

“I was in my shop when sud­denly I heard a ter­ri­ble sound and as a re­sult all of my shop win­dows shat­tered,” said Ali Ahmed, a res­i­dent in the area of yes­ter­day’s blast.

Act­ing in­te­rior min­istry spokesman Najib Dan­ish said at least 24 peo­ple had been killed and 40 wounded but the ca­su­alty toll could rise fur­ther.

Another se­nior of­fi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rised to talk about the in­ci­dent with the me­dia, said the toll stood at 35 killed.

That was in line with a claim on Twit­ter by Tal­iban spokesman Zabi­hul­lah Mu­jahid, who said 37 “in­tel­li­gence work­ers” had been killed.

Mu­jahid said in a tweet claim­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack the tar­get had been two buses that had been un­der sur­veil­lance for two months.

Govern­ment se­cu­rity forces said a small bus owned by the min­istry of mines had been de­stroyed in the blast but the Na­tional Direc­torate for Se­cu­rity, the main in­tel­li­gence agency, said none of its per­son­nel had been hit.

Three civil­ian ve­hi­cles and 15 shops were de­stroyed or dam­aged in the blast, the in­te­rior min­istry said.

Kabul has ac­counted for at least 20% of all civil­ian ca­su­al­ties this year, in­clud­ing at least 150 peo­ple killed in a mas­sive truck bomb at­tack at the end of May, ac­cord­ing to UN fig­ures.

The Is­lamic State group claimed an at­tack on a mosque in the cap­i­tal two weeks ago that killed at least four peo­ple.

On Sun­day, dozens of Afghan troops were un­der siege af­ter Tal­iban fight­ers over­ran a district in the north­ern Faryab prov­ince, a spokesman for the pro­vin­cial po­lice has said.

There was also fight­ing in Bagh­lan, Badakhshan, and Kun­duz prov­inces in Afghanistan’s north, and Kan­da­har, Hel­mand, and Uruz­gan in the south, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

The resur­gence of vi­o­lence also co­in­cides with the US ad­min­is­tra­tion weigh­ing up its strate­gic op­tions for Afghanistan, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of send­ing more troops to bol­ster the Nato-led train­ing and ad­vi­sory mis­sion al­ready help­ing Afghan forces.

PIC­TURE: AP

Res­i­dents in­spect the dam­age at the site of a sui­cide at­tack in Kabul, Afghanistan, yes­ter­day.

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