Saturday, 8 August 2015

44 dead, hundreds wounded in lethal wave of Kabul bombings

Eight more fatalities were confirmed Saturday from a barrage of bombings in Kabul, taking the toll to 44 in
the deadliest day in the Afghan capital since the NATO combat mission ended in December.

The explosions on Friday, which devastated buildings and
overwhelmed hospitals with hundreds of casualties, were
the first major militant assaults on Kabul since the
announcement of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death.
In the first attack, a powerful truck bomb tore through the
centre of Kabul just after midnight on Friday, killing 15
civilians and wounding 240 others.
The Taliban distanced themselves from the bombing which
struck near a Kabul military base — as they usually do in
attacks that result in a large number of civilian casualties.
Less than 24 hours later, at least 20 people were killed when
a suicide attacker dressed in police uniform blew himself up
at the entrance of Kabul Police Academy.
The Taliban were quick to claim responsibility for that
attack, which marked a serious breach of security at a
premier training institute for Afghan security forces.
Explosions and gunfire also erupted when Camp Integrity, a
US special forces base in Kabul, came under attack late
Friday, killing nine people.
“One Resolute Support (NATO) service member and eight
Resolute Support contracted civilians were killed,” a NATO
statement said without revealing their nationalities.
Military jets were heard flying over the centre of Kabul
shortly after the Camp Integrity explosions.
The carnage underscored the volatile security situation in
Afghanistan amid a faltering peace process with the Taliban
as Afghan forces face their first summer fighting season
without full NATO support.
Friday’s bombings were the first major attacks after Mullah
Akhtar Mansour was last week named as the new Taliban
chief in an acrimonious power transition after the
insurgents confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah
Omar.
– ‘Capable, potent and operational’ –
Experts say the escalating violence demonstrates Mullah
Mansour’s attempt to boost his image among Taliban
cadres and drive attention away from internal divisions over
his leadership.
“The new wave of attacks is a tactic by the Taliban’s new
leadership to show they are capable, potent and
operational,” said security analyst Abdul Hadi Khaled.
“The demise of Mullah Omar divided the movement and
affected the morale of their ground fighters. Hitting Kabul
with a wave of powerful attacks is a way of showcasing
their strength.”
On Friday evening, a suicide attacker dressed in police
uniform blew himself up at the entrance of Kabul Police
Academy, killing at least 20 Afghan cadets who were
returning after their two-day weekend.
The bomber managed to place himself in a queue as police
trainees were waiting to be searched before entering the
academy, said a senior Afghan intelligence official,
requesting anonymity.
The official put the toll at 20 dead and 20 wounded. Another
police official confirmed that toll while a third senior security
source said 25 cadets were killed.
Anguished relatives of cadets gathered near the academy,
which was cordoned off by heavily-armed security officials
as ambulances with wailing sirens rushed to the scene.
The academy in west Kabul is a premier training institution
for police forces in Afghanistan, with between 2,000 and
3,000 cadets graduating every year.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban — who
were toppled from power in the 2001 US invasion of
Afghanistan — told AFP the insurgent group was behind the
attack.
Earlier Friday, a truck packed with explosives detonated
near an army base in the neighbourhood of Shah Shaheed,
rattling homes across the city, ripping off the facades of
buildings and leaving scattered piles of rubble.
The force of the explosion just after midnight created an
enormous crater in the road, around 10 metres (30 feet)
deep, and destroyed the boundary wall of the base, although
no military casualties were reported.
That attack left 15 dead and 240 wounded, with women and
children among those injured, according to deputy
presidential spokesman Sayed Zafar Hashemi.
Soldiers erected a security cordon around the military base
close to Shah Shaheed, a largely middle-class civilian
residential area with no major foreign presence.

Source : dailymail

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