Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Taliban kills at least five in Kabul

AFP, KABUL

The Taliban yesterday killed at least five people in a fresh bombing in Kabul as the US and insurgents negotiate a deal to see US troops leave the country.

The blast shook Shash Darak, a heavily fortified area adjacent to the Green Zone and home to several important complexes, including the Afghan National Directorate of Security.

The morning attack was also close to where the Islamic State group killed nine journalists in a blast in April last year.

Farid Ahmad Karimi, general manager at Wazir Akbar Khan hospital close to the bomb site, said that five bodies and 25 wounded people had been brought into the facility.

“There are both civilians and security personal among dead and wounded. Five of the wounded are women,” Karimi said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying a “martyrdom seeker” — suicide bomber — had triggered the bomb.

Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said that the blast had been caused by a car bomb at about 10:10am.

On Monday, at least 16 people were killed in a Taliban attack on a residential area in east Kabul.

The capital has been gripped by a surge in deadly violence, even after the US and the Taliban reached an agreement “in principle” that would see the Pentagon pull thousands of troops in return for various Taliban security promises.

However, there is increasing unease about the deal, with Afghans fearing it will lead to a return of the Taliban to power, and a growing chorus of US lawmakers and officials expressing doubts.

According to parts of the deal made public so far, the Pentagon would pull about 5,000 of its 13,000 or so troops from five bases across Afghanistan by early next year, provided the Taliban hew to their security pledges.

The insurgents have said they would renounce al-Qaeda, fight the Islamic State group and stop militants using Afghanistan as a safe haven.

On Wednesday, the Afghan government expressed doubts about the prospective deal, saying that officials need more information about the risks it poses.

Even as negotiations for an accord have entered what are considered to be the final stages, violence has surged across Afghanistan.

On Saturday last week, the Taliban attempted to seize the provincial capital of Kunduz and sporadic fighting has continued on the outskirts, while on Sunday, insurgents launched an operation in the city of Pul-e Khumri, the capital of neighboring Baghlan Province.

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