Kabul, Afghanistan was rocked by a Taliban suicide attack Tuesday evening that has left dozens dead and as many as 80 people injured, according to reports. The Taliban attack came during rush hour as convoys of people were leaving the Afghan Parliament offices, where meetings regarding the national budget were being held. [See updates below.]
Reporting from VOA News indicates that the Taliban suicide attack occurred in the Darulaman neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan. One Taliban attacker apparently detonated an explosive vest as Parliament officials and employees left the area, and moments later, another Taliban fighter detonated a car bomb as first responders arrived on the scene, in order to maximize deaths and injuries. A number of high-level officials are thought to be among those killed.
Afghan security immediately attempted to secure the area, and rescue crews came to assist. The transportation of injured individuals was hampered due to heavy traffic. According to Wahidullah Majrooh, a spokesman for the Afghan Health Ministry, some 30 people were killed, a number likely to rise, with around 80 suffering various degrees of injury.
The New York Times spoke with Afghan lawmaker Kamal Safi, who was present during the suicide attack.
“I left the area a couple of minutes before the explosions. The explosions took place exactly at the time when government employees were going home, so it was a rush hour. More than thousand people are working there, so I know the number of casualties are very high.”
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the Kabul, Afghanistan suicide attack, the worst the city has seen in many months, in a public statement. Another attack in Lashkargah, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, took place at a meeting of security officials. That attack claimed seven lives and wounded numerous others. Much of the Helmand province, a major poppy-producing area, is under Taliban control.
Update On Kabul And Other Afghanistan Bombings
The Kabul, Afghanistan Taliban attack and the bombing in Lashkargah have been joined by a third Taliban bombing inside the governor’s compound in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, according to Firstpost. The explosives in this third bombing were apparently hidden inside a sofa in the compound. This attack claimed at least nine lives and caused an unspecified number of injuries, including injuring the visiting UAE ambassador to Afghanistan Juma Mohammed Abdullah Al Kaabi, who was likely the target of the explosion and was badly burned.
No group has thus far claimed responisibilty for this third attack, but as the other bombings were perpetrated by the Taliban, that organization is the primary suspect. It seems that the insurgent group is launching a renewed round of bombings as part of a winter offensive against the current Afghan government, which was formed to take over for the previous Taliban government after they were overthrown by United States forces in 2001.
The latest attack, as well as new reports from the Taliban bombings in Kabul and Lashkargah, place the death toll from terrorist violence in Afghanistan Tuesday at over 50, with well over a hundred injured. Amnesty International, an organization dedicated to protecting human rights, issued a statement regarding the Taliban attacks.
“The deaths of scores of civilians in today’s Kabul bomb attacks indicates that the Taliban are pressing ahead with a gruesome campaign of violence that makes no effort to spare civilian lives… An immediate, impartial and independent investigation must be carried out to secure justice for the victims and their families.”
The violence in Afghanistan has persisted since the 2001 invasion and overthrow of the highly conservative and authoritarian Taliban. The renewed offensive signals that the new government in Kabul still has little control over much of the country.
[Featured Image by Massoud Hossaini/AP Images]