Kabul suicide car bomb blast kills 27, injures 41; Taliban claims responsibility

A car bomb exploded in western Kabul on Monday, killing at least 27 people, according to AFP. Another 41 people were injured in the attack, Associated Press said.

According to the Associated Press, eyewitnesses said the suicide bomber seemed to target a minibus.  This is the third major attack in the last two months. The western part of Kabul is home to many Shia Hazaras, a persecuted ethnic minority which was hit hard a year ago in a strike which killed dozens. That was the first time claimed responsibility for an attack in the heart of Kabul.

On 31 May, a massive truck bomb in the capital left at least 90 people dead and more than 450 others wounded in one of the worst extremist attacks since the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

 Kabul suicide car bomb blast kills 27, injures 41; Taliban claims responsibility

Representational image. Reuters

The bomber drove into Kabul's heavily guarded diplomatic quarter during the morning rush, leaving behind bloody chaos and destruction. Most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children, but the dead also included Afghan security guards.

While no one officially claimed responsibility, the suspicion was that the Islamic State, which is slowly gaining ground in the war-ravaged country, was reponsible.

The Taliban also denied involvement in the attack and condemned the killing of civilians.

"This blast has nothing to do with the Mujahidins," the Taliban said in a statement released by their spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. He added that the Taliban never carry out such attacks, reported Efe news.

"The Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban call themselves) condemn those blasts carried out against civilians and in which civilians suffer casualties without a clear target," the statement said.

Earlier in May, the Islamic State attacked an armoured NATO convoy in Kabul, killing at least eight people and wounding 28, including three coalition members.

The explosion, which came during morning rush hour on a busy road near the US embassy and NATO headquarters, killed "mostly" civilians, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.

First emerging in 2015, the Islamic State overran large parts of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, near the Pakistan border, but their part in the Afghan conflict had been largely overshadowed by the operations against the Taliban.

Captain Bill Salvin, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan, said the local Islamic State presence peaked at between 2,500 to 3,000 but that defections and recent battlefield losses had reduced their number to around 800. "We have a very good chance of destroying them in 2017," Salvin told AFP recently.

Afghan forces have been straining to beat back the Taliban insurgents since US-led NATO troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.

With more than one third of Afghanistan outside of government control, civilians also continue to bear a heavy brunt, with thousands killed and wounded each year and
children paying an increasingly disproportionate price, according to UN figures.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jul 25, 2017 06:42:47 IST