Eleven Killed As Roadside Bomb Hits Afghan Bus

Security personnel stand at the site of an explosion in Kabul on June 3, 2021, after at least four people were killed and four others injured when a minibus was hit by an explosion in Kabul, according to police, in the latest attack on commuters in the Afghan capital. Zakeria HASHIMI / AFP
File: Security personnel stands at the site of an explosion in Kabul on June 3, 2021, after at least four people were killed and four others injured when a minibus was hit by an explosion in Kabul, according to police, in the latest attack on commuters in the Afghan capital. Zakeria HASHIMI / AFP.

 

At least 11 civilians including four women and three children were killed when a roadside bomb struck a bus in Afghanistan, officials said Sunday, in the latest attack targeting passenger vehicles in the violence-wracked country.

The attack occurred on Saturday evening in the western province of Badghis, raising fears of fresh violence in the months ahead as the US military continues to pull out its last remaining troops from the country.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast but Badghis governor Hessamuddin Shams accused the Taliban of planting the bomb.

Another official from the province, Khodadad Tayeb, confirmed the toll and said that the bus fell into a valley after it was hit by the bomb.

Saturday’s attack came after a series of blasts targeted passenger buses in Kabul this week.

The jihadist Islamic State claimed two back-to-back attacks on buses in Kabul.

Violence has soared in recent weeks as government forces and the Taliban clash in near-daily battles across the rugged countryside, with the militants appearing to focus on capturing new territory and battering checkpoints and bases near Kabul.

The Taliban said on Saturday that they have “captured the district of Deh Yak” in the province of Ghazni, about 150 kilometres south of Kabul.

The authorities said they had only “relocated” their forces from the area.

Ghazni is strategically located on the main road from Kabul to Kandahar, the former bastion of the Taliban in the south. The province sees regular fighting between the two warring sides.

In 2018, the Taliban briefly seized the provincial capital Ghazni, which has the same name as the province, in an all-out attack that left several government buildings torched and destroyed.

The surge in violence across Afghanistan comes as the US military continues to withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden has ordered the military to complete the pullout by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

But as the Americans pack up, experts fear Afghanistan will remain home to a number of jihadist groups.

AFP

Militants Armed With Rocket Grenades Attack Kabul International Airpot

Video still shows Afghan security personnel on vehicles as an area near the Kabul airport comes under attackMilitants armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked Kabul International Airport in the Afghan capital on Thursday in one of the most audacious assaults on the facility, used by both civilians and the military, in a year.

The attack on the airport comes at a time of great uncertainty for Afghanistan as votes from the second round of a disputed presidential election are to be recounted. The poll is meant to mark Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power.

The attack lasted about four hours after four unidentified militants armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire on the airport from the roof of a building just to its north.

“Four terrorists were killed by police special forces. The area is being cleared now, there are no casualties to our forces,” said Interior Ministry Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

The airport is home to a major operational base for NATO-led forces that have been fighting Taliban and other insurgents for 12 years and is bristling with soldiers and police, guard towers and several lines of security checkpoints.

Militants fire rockets into the airport almost every week, causing little damage, but frontal attacks on the heavily guarded facility are rare and represent an ambitious target for insurgents. The attack was similar in tactics to last year’s assault on the airport, when seven Taliban insurgents including suicide bombers attacked after taking up positions inside a partially constructed building nearby.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack.

A Kabul airport official told Reuters all flights had been diverted to other cities. In such circumstances, passenger planes are immediately diverted to other Afghan cities such as Mazar-i-Sharif in the north or Herat in the west.

“Due to the closeness of the attack to the runway, Kabul airport is now closed to all flights,” the official said. Planes could be heard circling above Kabul as the attack unfolded.

On Tuesday, a car bomb detonated in a crowded market killed 43 people and wounded at least 74 in the eastern province of Paktika, close to Afghanistan’s porous border with Pakistan.