Saturday 26 May 2018

Taliban bomb kills 28 in worst Kabul attack since 2011

Smoke rises after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan (AP)
Smoke rises after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan (AP)

Josh Smith in Kabul

A Taliban suicide attack on a government building in Kabul killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 320, in the deadliest single attack in the Afghan capital since 2011.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the assault in a statement from the presidential palace, located only a few hundred metres away from the scene of the blast.

The insurgency led by the Afghan Taliban has gained strength since the withdrawal of most international combat troops at the end of 2014, and the Islamist group is believed to be stronger than at any point since it was driven from power by US-backed forces in 2001.

Police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said civilians and members of the Afghan security forces were among those killed and wounded when a suicide car-bomber detonated his explosives outside the wall of a National Directorate of Security (NDS) office.

Witnesses described chaotic scenes after the blast.


"I was here when a huge explosion happened," said Amir, who works in a nearby restaurant. "I saw three boys with severe head injuries. My uncle was injured and my brother is missing, I don't know what happened to him."

Rahimi said one attacker had tried to slip into the NDS building through a destroyed wall after the blast, but he was discovered and killed.

The Taliban said on its Pashto-language website that it had carried out the suicide bombing on "Department 10", an NDS unit responsible for protecting government ministers and dignitaries.

The Taliban announced the beginning of its spring offensive on April 12, and fighting has raged around the symbolically important northern city of Kunduz since then, although the capital had been relatively quiet.

Kunduz, Afghanistan's fifth-largest city, fell briefly to the Taliban last September in the biggest blow to Ghani's government since Nato-led forces ended their combat operations at the end of 2014.

Irish Independent

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