Thu, Aug 08, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Taliban blast in Kabul wounds 95

AFP, KABUL

Men linger around the rubble left from a car bomb blast in Kabul yesterday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Scores of people were wounded yesterday when a Taliban car bomb detonated in Kabul, sending a massive plume of smoke over the Afghan capital and shattering windows far from the blast site.

Violence is surging across Afghanistan and in Kabul as the US and the Taliban negotiate a peace deal ahead of elections planned for Sept. 28.

The car bomb exploded near the entrance of a police station at about 9am, Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

Afghan Ministry of Public Health spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said that at least 95 people, mostly civilians, including women and children, had been taken to hospitals.

“My head is spinning and still I don’t know what has happened, but the windows of about 20 shops around 1km from the blast site are broken,” shopkeeper Ahmad Saleh said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to footage on social media and witnesses, small-arms fire could be heard following the blast.

A common insurgent tactic is to use a suicide bomber to hit a target and then follow up with gunmen storming the area.

More than 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded in the Afghan conflict last month alone, according to the UN, the highest monthly toll so far this year and the worst single month since May 2017.

The Taliban on Tuesday warned Afghans to keep away from election rallies and ordered its fighters to “stand against” the vote.

Overnight, Afghan commandos stormed a safe house for Islamic State group fighters near Hamid Karzai International Airport, officials said. Details of that operation were still emerging.

Separately, in Baghlan Province in northern Afghanistan, authorities said that they stopped an attack on a security forces convoy.

According to an Afghan army statement, three attackers were driving in an explosives-packed Humvee toward the convoy, but Afghan troops spotted them and destroyed the vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Three attackers were killed, it added.

The US and the Taliban met in Doha this week for an eighth round of talks aimed at striking a peace deal that would slash the US military presence in Afghanistan.

Despite the bloodshed, both sides have cited “excellent progress.”

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