Saturday 21 September 2019

Suicide bomber leads ‘co-ordinated attack’ against security forces in Kabul

No-one claimed responsibility for the attack, but both Taliban and Islamic State group insurgents are active in Kabul.

Security forces block the roads at the site of a suicide bomber attack (Rahmat Gul/AP)
Security forces block the roads at the site of a suicide bomber attack (Rahmat Gul/AP)

By Rahim Faiez, Associated Press

There has been a co-ordinated attack against security forces in the eastern part of the capital Kabul, Najib Danish, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, has said.

He said a suicide bomber detonated his explosives on Wednesday and then other insurgents started a gun battle with forces in the area.

Danish said there were casualties but the number of dead and wounded was not immediately clear.

Wahid Majroh, for the Public Health Ministry, said at least 11 wounded were transferred to hospitals from the attack site.

Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said the target of the attack may have been security company G4S.

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on Twitter.

The explosion comes after at least 30 civilians were killed, along with 16 Taliban fighters, by government forces battling the insurgents in Helmand province overnight.

Attahullah Afghan, who heads the provincial council, said most of the casualties in Helmand, which included men, women and children, happened in an airstrike that hit a house on Tuesday night during military operations in the province, a Taliban heartland.

A statement from the governor’s office in Helmand confirmed that 16 Taliban insurgents were killed and said that an investigation was under way to determine the number of civilian casualties.

It said the militants had stockpiled ammunition in the area of the operation, which could have caused civilian casualties. There was also a car packed with explosives that ignited during the strike, the statement added.

Abdul Wadod Popul, a politician from Helmand, also confirmed the civilian casualties.

“The area is under Taliban control and it is very difficult to get a precise number of casualties,” he said in Kabul.

The Helmand fighting came as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was in Geneva, attending a two-day UN-backed conference which was focusing on development, peace and security in the war-battered country.

Also on Wednesday in Kabul, the home of former intelligence chief Amarullah Saleh was attacked by three insurgents but was quickly repelled by Saleh’s security guards, said Rahmatullah Nabil, also a former intelligence chief in a tweet.

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