Twin Taliban suicide blasts in Kabul kill 24, injure 91
The carnage near the defence ministry came as the Taliban ramp up their nationwide summer offensive against the US-backed government. The two bombers on foot blew themselves up in rapid succession, in an assault apparently aimed at inflicting mass casualties as government employees left the ministry after work.
“The first explosion occurred on a bridge near the defence ministry. When soldiers, policemen and civilians rushed to the scene, there was the second explosion,” defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said.
Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said the attack left 24 people dead and 91 others wounded, some of them seriously. “The casualties could rise still further,” Majroh said.
The Italian-run Emergency Hospital in Kabul tweeted that it had so far received 21 injured people, four of whom died on arrival.
President Ashraf Ghani has strongly condemned the attack and offered condolences to the families of the victims. “The enemies of Afghanistan have lost their ability to fight the Security and Defense Forces of the country,” he said.
He added; “That is why they are attacking highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the defence ministry was the object of the first attack, while police were targeted in the second.
The attack took place more than a week after 16 people were killed when militants stormed the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, in a nearly 10-hour raid that prompted anguished pleas for help from trapped students.
Explosions and gunfire rocked the campus in that attack, which came just weeks after two university professors – an American and an Australian – were kidnapped at gunpoint near the school. Their whereabouts are still unknown and no group has claimed responsibility for the abductions so far.
The uptick in violence in the capital comes as the Taliban escalate nationwide attacks, underscoring the worsening security situation since NATO forces ended their combat mission at the end of 2014.
Afghan forces backed by US troops are seeking to head off a potential Taliban takeover of Lashkar Gah.
No hope Pak will help, they lied to us: Afghan NSA
Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Mohammad Hanif Atmar on Monday said there was no hope Islamabad would help Kabul in peace talks with the Taliban group, a media report said. Atmar said: “We have received messages from Pakistan as we have diplomatic relations. Our President has told them we have no hope that they will help us with peace talks.”
“He (Afghan President) told Pakistan that they promised they would go against those who do not want peace talks, but they did not do this. They lied to us,” he added. Questioning Pakistan’s honesty in the fight against terrorism, Atmar said: “Islamabad said the Taliban leader was not in Pakistan, but then we saw Mullah Mansur had a Pakistani ID card when he was killed while travelling inside Pakistan.”