Taliban Suicide Attacks Kill 16 In Kabul

Taliban Attacks Kill 16 In KabulTwo suicide attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul has left 16 people dead with at least 40 others injured.

The Taliban, through their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the attacks.

It is the latest in a string of attacks to challenge the Afghan authorities, after the militant group started its spring offensive early.

Sources said Wednesday’s attacks began when a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives outside a police station near a military training facility, west of the city.

It was followed by a five-hour gun battle between officers and another attacker.

Soon after, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the country’s intelligence agency in eastern Kabul.

Separate Bomb Attacks Kill At Least 22 In Afghanistan

afghanstan2More than 20 people were killed in separate bomb attacks in Afghanistan on Monday, including at least 14 when a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying Nepalese security contractors in the Afghan capital, officials said.

In Kabul, a Reuters witness saw several apparently dead victims and at least two wounded being carried out of the twisted remains of a yellow bus after the suicide bomber struck the vehicle during the morning rush hour in the capital.

Hours later, a bomb planted in a motorbike killed at least eight civilians and wounded another 18 in a crowded market in the northern province of Badakhshan, said provincial government spokesman Naveed Frotan. The casualty count could rise, he said.

The attacks are the latest in a recent surge of violence that highlights the challenges faced by the Afghan government in Kabul and its Western backers as Washington slowly draws down its remaining troops despite a persistent insurgency.

Interior Ministry spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter that 14 people had been killed and eight wounded in the attack in Kabul. Police were working to identify the victims, he said.

The casualties appeared to include Afghan civilians and Nepalese security contractors, Kabul police chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi said after police and emergency vehicles surrounded the scene in the Banae district in the east of the city.

He said that the suicide bomber had waited near a compound housing the security contractors and struck as the vehicle moved through early morning traffic. As well as the bus passengers, several people in an adjacent market were also wounded in the attack, which occurred during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack in a statement from the Islamist group’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, on Twitter. There was no immediate indication of who carried out the attack in Badakshan.

The Nepalese government was still working through its embassy in Pakistan, which also oversees Afghanistan, to verify reports that its citizens were involved in the attack, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bharat Paudel said.

At Least 11 Dead In Afghanistan Hercules Crash

afghanistanThere has been a fatal plane crash in Afghanistan where at least 11 people have died after a United States (US) Hercules aircraft crashed at Jalalabad Airport.

US Army Colonel, Brian Tribus says six of those killed worked for the US military, while the others were civilian contractors.

The C-130 is a military aircraft primarily used to carry troops and heavy cargo.

Taliban Spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the group shot down the plane, but US officials declined the statement saying there is no indication of such attack.

The US military said it is now investigating the cause of the accident.

The crash came as US planes worked alongside Afghan Forces, to try and recapture the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban.

Suicide bomber kills top official, 22 more at Afghan wedding

A suicide bomber killed a prominent anti-Taliban politician and 22 other guests at a wedding reception in the northern Afghan province of Samangan on Saturday, officials said.

The bomber blew himself up as he hugged lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani, who was celebrating his daughter’s marriage, police said. The blast also killed the provincial intelligence chief and a senior police commander.

Samangani was close to Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, and commanded thousands of men in the area. The Uzbeks are part of an uneasy coalition of minority tribes that fight the Taliban in their area.

The attack, among the most lethal in recent months, raises the risk of greater insecurity in the relatively peaceful province, analysts said.

At least 23 people were killed and 60 others wounded, said a statement from President Hamid Karzai condemning the attack.

“The enemies of Afghanistan once again targeted mujahideen figures who strive for national unity,” Karzai said.

The wounded were in critical condition and the death toll could rise, said regional police spokesman Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai.

Samangani had told guards at the party not to inconvenience guests with security searches, said provincial police chief Khalil Andarabi.
The Taliban, which has been behind a series of suicide attacks this year, denied responsibility. The group often distances itself from attacks with high civilian death tolls.

“We don’t have a hand in this,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “Ahmad Khan (Samangani) was a former commander of the mujahideen, he was notorious and many people could have had problems with him.”

Samangani, an ethnic Uzbek, fought against the Soviets in the 1980s, and against the Taliban during their 1996-2001 rule. He may have had enemies other than the Taliban, said Kabul-based political analyst Waheed Mujhda.

“Former warlords have frequently been targeted in the past,” he said. “Ahmad Khan Samangani was a strongman in terms of security for Samangan province. His loss will certainly affect security in that region.”

Witnesses described scenes of carnage.

“I saw parts of bodies, blood all over the reception,” said Ahmad Jawed, a guest at the wedding. “Many wounded people were crying for help.”

Another witness, Barat Khan, said: “It took some 15 minutes for the smoke to clear, then I saw bodies and pools of blood.”

Afghanistan is experiencing some of the worst violence since the Taliban government was toppled by U.S.-led Afghan forces more than a decade ago.

In a separate incident on Saturday, a police official was gunned down in the southern city of Kandahar, the governor’s spokesman said.

On Friday, a car bomb killed a leading female politician, Hanifa Safi. No one has claimed responsibility.

REUTERS