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Saturday 22 September 2018

Several killed as suicide bombers strike in Afghan capital

Eight extremists took part in the Kabul attacks, one of which was claimed by Islamic State.

Afghan security personnel inspect at the site of suicide attack (AP)
Afghan security personnel inspect at the site of suicide attack (AP)

By Rahim Faiez

Suicide bombers have struck two police stations in Afghanistan’s capital, killing at least five people and wounding 16 others.

Interior minister Wais Ahmad Barmak said a total of eight suicide bombers took part in the attacks, one of which was claimed by Islamic State (IS) and the other by the Taliban.

In the first attack, in western Kabul, the attackers hurled hand grenades and blew themselves up, setting part of the station on fire, Mr Barmak said, adding that a third suicide bomber was shot and killed by police.

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Afghans run from the site of a suicide attack (AP)

He said two police personnel were killed in the attack and two other officers and a civilian were wounded. IS claimed the attack in a brief statement carried by its Aamaq news agency.

The second attack unfolded in the city centre, where a suicide bomber struck the entrance to a police station in order to clear the way for another four bombers. Mr Barmak said “two or three” more attackers were holed up in a nearby building, trading fire with security forces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to media.

Public health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said a total of seven people were killed and 17 wounded in the attacks, with the toll expected to rise.

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Two police officers were killed in the first attack (AP)

Both the Taliban and IS frequently target Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and security forces. Twin suicide bombings claimed by IS last week killed at least 25 people, including nine journalists who had rushed to the scene of the first attack. It was the deadliest assault on reporters since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the Taliban advanced on a district compound, officials said, with one reporting the capture of the northern district by the insurgents and another saying heavy fighting was still under way.

The battle for the compound in the Bilchirgh district, in the northern Faryab province, came a day after the insurgents captured the district compound in the remote Tala wa Barfak district, in the northern Baghlan province.

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Three suicide bombers struck two police stations in Kabul (AP)

The Taliban have captured several districts in different parts of the country from Afghan security forces since 2014, when the US and Nato formally concluded their combat mission and shifted to a supporting role.

Mohammad Hashim, a member of parliament from Faryab province, said the Taliban captured the district headquarters in Bilchirgh after more than 40 security forces retreated under heavy fire. He said the Taliban also captured several villages nearby. Provincial police spokesman Abdul Karim Yuresh said the fighting is still underway and that government forces still hold the compound.

The Taliban issued a statement saying they control the district and claiming to have killed 10 security force officers.

The Taliban also attacked a school being used as a voter registration centre, killing eight soldiers in the latest in a series of attacks targeting preparations for elections later this year.

Press Association

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