Wed, Sep 04, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Kabul bombing toll rises as US tries to finalize Taliban deal

FED UP:With 16 people dead and 119 injured, angry residents set tires on fire and blamed the assault on the nearby international presence

AFP, KABUL

Afghan security officials yesterday inspect the scene of a truck bomb blast late on Monday that targeted the Green Village compound in Kabul.

Photo: EPA-EFE

A massive blast in a residential part of Kabul killed at least 16 people, officials said yesterday, following yet another Taliban attack that came as the insurgents and Washington try to finalize a withdrawal deal.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was in the Afghan capital to discuss the proposed deal — which would see the US withdraw troops in return for Taliban security guarantees — when the bombing happened late on Monday.

Local television footage showed a massive crater near crumbled blast walls, twisted metal where buildings once stood and the charred remains of a gasoline station that had caught fire and blown up as a result of the attack.

Afghan Ministry of the Interior spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the blast was caused by a tractor packed with explosives that had been parked alongside a wall by Green Village, a large fortified compound that houses aid agencies and international organizations.

Five gunmen then tried to storm the area in a “complex attack,” but Afghan security forces shot and killed them before they got far into the compound, Rahimi said.

In addition to the 16 killed, 119 people were wounded, he said.

All the victims were civilians, he added.

The bombing was the third major Taliban attack in as many days — and the violence is likely to continue, Taliban expert Rahimullah Yusufzai said.

The insurgents are convinced it was their military strength that has forced Washington to open talks with them on a withdrawal, he said.

“This is the weapon in their hands and they will keep on using it until they gain their objectives,” he said.

Residents in the area around Green Village were furious that their neighborhood, which has been targeted before, had been hit once again and blamed the assault on the nearby international presence.

“All our rooms have been destroyed, and I don’t know where to go now,” a female victim in a local hospital said.

“My two daughters have been injured and are in the hospital. This explosion ruined our lives,” the woman said.

Locals set tires on fire, sending plumes of thick, acrid smoke into the morning sky, and closed off a main road next to the scene of the attack.

“We want these foreigners to move out of our neighborhood,” resident Abdul Jamil said.

“This is not the first time we suffer because of them... We don’t want them here anymore,” he added.

The most recent previous attack on Green Village was in January, when a powerful truck bomb killed at least four people and wounded more than 100 others.

Green Village is separate from the nearby Green Zone, a walled-off and heavily fortified part of Kabul that is home to several embassies, including the US and UK missions.

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