Kabul charity attacked, toll from violence hits 25
The assault on a charity called Pamlarena began on Monday with a massive explosion, just hours after a brazen Taliban double bombing near the defence ministry – an attack apparently aimed at inflicting mass casualties.
A plume of smoke rose over the upscale neighbourhood of Shar-e Naw after the raid on the charity, which means ‘care’ in Pashto. Sporadic blasts and gunfire followed during the government’s clearance operation on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for CARE International said the charity could not immediately confirm if it had been the target of the attack. “Forty-two people including 10 foreigners were rescued” after the attack, interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter, confirming at least one fatality.
“All three assailants were gunned down by security forces,” he added. The authorities had earlier put the number of attackers at two.
No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the raid on the charity, but it comes as the Taliban ramp up their nationwide offensive against the US-backed government.
The attack on the charity had been preceded by twin Taliban blasts that killed at least 24 people during the city’s rush hour Monday, including high-level officials, and left 91 others wounded.
The second of the two explosions struck just as soldiers, policemen and civilians hurried to help the victims of the first blast, which occurred on a bridge near the ministry.
Ambulances rushed to the scene, littered with disfigured bodies and charred debris. But there were so many bodies that some had to be taken to hospitals in car boots and the back of police pickup trucks.
Firemen raced to retrieve some bodies thrown into the Kabul River by the intensity of the first blast on the bridge. Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said the casualties from the double bombing could rise still further as some of the wounded battled for their lives in hospital.
“The enemies of Afghanistan have lost their ability to fight the security and defence forces of the country,” President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday, condemning the twin blasts. “That is why they are attacking highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter the defence ministry was the object of the first attack, while police were targeted in the second.