The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a car bombing in Kabul that left at least 29 people dead, as it ratchets up an offensive across Afghanistan. The blast occurred at around 6:40 am local time on Monday, when a Toyota Corolla exploded in the city’s west, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish told CNN. It is the latest in a string of attacks in recent days by the Taliban, which said it had captured two districts in northern and central Afghanistan at the weekend. In a statement released by
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, the group said the Kabul bomb’s target was a bus carrying Afghan intelligence staff, but Danish said that all the victims were civilians, including some employees of the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum. Women and children were among the dozens injured, Danish said. (fox61.com)
The charred remains of the bus stood in the middle of the road and a black column of smoke from the explosion hung in the air.
An army truck and forklifts were attempting to remove the carcas of the bus as ambulances as well as taxis and private cars ferried the injured to nearby hospitals, an AFP photographer said.
Kabul is regularly rocked by suicide bombs and attacks. A recent U.N. report showed that attacks on the capital accounted for nearly one-fifth of all civilian Afghan casualties in the first half of 2017. The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which has been documenting civilian casualties since 2009, said in its recent report that 1,662 civilians were killed and more than 3,500 injured in the first six months of the year.
Many died in a single devastating attack in Kabul in late May when a truck bomb exploded, also during the morning rush hour, killing more than 150 people and injuring hundreds. UNAMA put the civilian death toll at 92, saying it was the deadliest incident to hit the country since 2001.
The bloody toll for the first six months of 2017 has unsettled the government and put increasing pressure on President Ghani. Protests and deadly street clashes hit the Afghan capital in the wake of the May attack as people incensed by security failures called for his government resignation.
The UNAMA report also said that nearly half of Afghanistan 34 provinces have seen an increase in civilian deaths in the first six months of the year, mainly due to the rise in attacks by anti-government forces across the country. NATO combat mission in Afghanistan ended three years ago, handing sole responsibility to the country security forces, which have also suffered spiralling casualties as they try to beat back the resurgent Taliban and contain the growing threat from the Islamic State group.
Iran has strongly condemned the terrorist car bomb blast in the Afghan capital of Kabul, vowing to help the war-ravaged country fight terrorism and extremism. “Despite such acts of violence and inhuman and savage measures by extremist and terrorist groups, the scarred Afghan people and government will continue with their fight against extremism and violence more strongly than before,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday. He emphasized that the Iranian government and nation would as always stand by the Afghans in this difficult battle. The Iranian spokesperson also offered his condolences to the Afghan government and people as well as the bereaved families of the terrorist attack. (presstv.com)
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Kabul. The Prime Minister also expressed solidarity with the people and government of Afghanistan in their fight against terrorism. (pmindia.gov.in)
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, UAE today said that UAE calls for concerted efforts of international community in confronting this scourge and addressing it as a global phenomenon that threatens international security and stability. The statement called on all countries worldwide to stand together to eradicate this scourge, which aims to destroy communities, spread chaos, and stoke conflict and division among the people of a country. The ministry extended the condolences of the UAE leadership, government and its people to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. (gulfnews.com)