Mas­sive blast dev­as­tates Kabul’s em­bassy district

Dead­li­est at­tack in years in heart of cap­i­tal kills 90

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY CARLO MUNOZ This ar­ti­cle was based in part on wire ser­vice re­ports.

Ter­ror­ists det­o­nated a mas­sive truck bomb in the heart of Kabul’s heav­ily pa­trolled diplo­matic district, in one of the dead­li­est strikes in the Afghan cap­i­tal in years.

Wit­nesses said the bomber drove an ex­plo­sives-laden sewage tanker truck to­ward the chain of check­points and blast walls ring­ing the se­cure Green Zone sec­tor in down­town Kabul, home to the pres­i­den­tial palace as well as to the U.S. and other for­eign em­bassies. After at­tempt­ing to breach the se­cure zone, the bomber det­o­nated his deadly ord­nance near the Ger­man Em­bassy as the sur­round­ing streets were packed with rush-hour traf­fic.

An es­ti­mated 90 peo­ple were killed and over 400 wounded, in­clud­ing 11 Amer­i­can con­trac­tors, in the af­ter­math of one of the worst sui­cide at­tacks to hit the cap­i­tal since U.S. and NATO forces ended com­bat op­er­a­tions in 2014. Of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Health fear the death toll could surge to over 100, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal re­ports.

Also among the dead were 10 Afghan se­cu­rity guards — nine as­signed to the U.S. Em­bassy, while one worked for Ger­many. The Chi­nese, Turk­ish, French, In­dian and Ja­panese em­bassies and con­sulates were also dam­aged, eye­wit­nesses said.

The blast came days after NATO lead­ers from Ger­many and other al­lied na­tions met with Pres­i­dent Trump in Brussels, Bel­gium, to dis­cuss the way ahead in Afghanistan, al­ready the longest con­flict in Amer­i­can his­tory. The U.S.-backed govern­ment in Kabul has been un­able to sub­due the Is­lamist Tal­iban move­ment, while a new threat has emerged as el­e­ments of Is­lamic State have en­tered the fight.

The Afghan econ­omy is weak, and the na­tional mil­i­tary and po­lice forces have yet to prove able to de­feat the in­sur­gents.

“The at­tack demon­strates a com­plete dis­re­gard for civil­ians and re­veals the bar­baric na­ture of the enemy faced by the Afghan peo­ple,” com­mand of­fi­cials from Op­er­a­tion Res­o­lute Sup­port, the NATO-led mis­sion in the coun­try, said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day.

Gen. John Ni­chol­son, the top U.S. com­man­der in Afghanistan, vis­ited the bomb site, which was near the com­mand’s head­quar­ters, also lo­cated in­side the Green Zone.

Berlin sus­pended de­por­ta­tions of Afghans who had been de­nied asy­lum in Ger­many in the wake of the at­tack, The As­so­ci­ated Press reported. The de­ci­sion was not a sign of a pos­si­ble change in pol­icy to­ward Afghan refugees, In­te­rior Min­istry spokesman Jo­hannes Dim­roth said.

In Washington, Pres­i­dent Trump ex­pressed his con­do­lences over the at­tack to Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani in a phone call Wed­nes­day, while Sec­re­tary of State Rex W. Tiller­son called the bomb­ing a “sense­less and cow­ardly act,” vow­ing the at­tack would not desta­bi­lize Washington’s “un­wa­ver­ing” com­mit­ment to its mis­sion in the coun­try.

The Tal­iban im­me­di­ately de­nied it car­ried out the at­tack, in which the ma­jor­ity of the vic­tims were women and chil­dren, is­su­ing a state­ment it had no con­nec­tion to the bomber or his ac­com­plices. A state­ment by Na­tional Se­cu­rity Direc­torate, Afghanistan’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, claimed the at­tack was the work of the Pak­istani-based ter­ror group known as the Haqqani net­work.

Op­er­at­ing from safe havens in north­west Pak­istan’s in­fa­mous North Waziris­tan re­gion, the Haqqani net­work earned a rep­u­ta­tion through­out the war for its sav­age at­tacks against Amer­i­can, Afghan and al­lied troops, mainly in eastern and cen­tral Afghanistan. Kabul has also al­leged the group re­ceives train­ing and sup­port from Pak­istan’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vices.

“Th­ese ter­ror­ists once again proved they don’t rep­re­sent any re­li­gion and they only carry out such cow­ard[ly] at­tacks to please their Pak­istani masters which is against all Is­lamic and hu­man rights prin­ci­pals,” Afghan in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day.


A crater was cre­ated by a mas­sive ex­plo­sion in front of the Ger­man Em­bassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wed­nes­day. The sui­cide truck bomb hit a highly se­cure diplo­matic area of Kabul, killing scores of peo­ple and wound­ing hun­dreds more. The Chi­nese, Turk­ish and Ja­panese em­bassies were also dam­aged.

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