Kabul Bombing: Death Toll Rises to 36

Kabul Bombing: Death Toll Rises to 36


Image Attribute: The Site of the VBIED* Suicide Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan / Source: Twitter

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack that the government says killed at least 36 people and wounded 42 others at Police District 3, in the capital, Kabul.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the blast occurred at around 6:40 a.m. local time (10:10 pm ET) on Monday, when a Toyota Corolla exploded in the city's west, targeted a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Mines.

The attack came amid a surge of violence in Afghanistan, where the United Nations says more than 1,700 civilians have been killed this year.

The Taliban said in a statement that the bombing targeted two mini-buses belonging to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country's spy agency, and claimed to have killed 37 personnel. However, the government said their intelligence staff never travel in mini-buses.

Image Attribute: The Site of the VBIED* Suicide Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan / Source: Twitter

Image Attribute: The Site of the VBIED* Suicide Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan / Source: Twitter

There were conflicting reports on the death toll.

Reuters quoted a senior government official speaking on condition of anonymity as saying the death toll stood at 35, while The Guardian cited unnamed officials reporting at least 38 dead.

Witnesses said the attacker appeared to have rammed into a bus. Shattered glass from nearby buildings was scattered over the roadway after the blast.

According to the Ministry of Interior statement - the incident is  a "criminal attack against humanity." Three vehicles and 15 shops were also damaged in the attack. All the victims were civilians, including some employees of the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum. Women and children were among the dozens injured.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the bombing by issuing a statement - "Once again, these terrorist are attacking civilians and targeting government staff,"  He also added, "The enemy of Afghanistan can't face our forces in battle field so they target innocent civilians."

Image Attribute: The Site of the VBIED* Suicide Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan / Source: Twitter

Image Attribute: The Site of the VBIED* Suicide Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan / Source: Twitter

The attack came as Hazaras, a Shi'ite ethnic minority in predominantly Sunni Afghanistan, planned to hold a demonstration to mark the one-year anniversary of twin bombings that killed more than 80 people and wounded 230 others, most of them Hazaras.

But the protesters had agreed to delay the demonstration over security fears and after meeting with Ghani on July 23, a presidential statement said.

Afghanistan's Hazaras, who now number around three million, have been persecuted for decades. Thousands of its members were killed in the late 1990s by al-Qaeda and the Taliban, whose ranks are mostly made up of Sunni Muslim ethnic Pashtuns. The last year's attack on the Hazaras by Islamic State -- which established a foothold in eastern Afghanistan in 2015 -- gave the Afghan conflict a fresh sectarian twist.

Police cordoned off the scene of the July 24 blast, located near the residence of Mohammad Mohaqiq, the deputy to Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. A spokesman for Mohaqiq said he was not injured.

The July 24 blast adds to the unrelenting violence in Afghanistan, where at least 1,662 civilians were killed in the first half of the year, according to the United Nations.

It was also the 10th major attack this year in Kabul, which has accounted for at least 20 percent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2017.

Image Attribute: The Site of the VBIED* Suicide Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan / Source: Twitter

Image Attribute: The Site of the VBIED* Suicide Attack in Kabul, Afghanistan / Source: Twitter


Current Situation:


The Taliban has launched a series of attacks around the country in recent days, prompting clashes in more than half a dozen provinces. 

On July 23, 2016, the Taliban overran two districts - Kohistan in Faryab province and Taywara in Ghor province. There was also fighting reported in Baghlan, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan provinces, according to officials.

The Afghan government believes Pakistan to be a key supporter of the Afghan insurgency.

On Saturday, the Pentagon announced that the US would withhold $50m in military reimbursements to Pakistan for failing to curb the Haqqani network, a hardline military wing of the Taliban. Last year, the Obama administration withheld $300m.

*Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device

With reporting by TOLONews, CNN, AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters
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