Twin suicide blasts in Afghanistan's Kabul leave 30 dead, including 9 journalists, 45 injured; Islamic State claims responsibility
At least seven people were killed in two suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul on Monday morning, officials said.
At least 30 people, including nine journalists, were killed in two suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Monday morning, according to TOLOnews. Wahid Majroh, a spokesman for the public health ministry, said that 45 other people were injured in the attack. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the blasts in an online statement.
Hashmat Stanekzai, a spokesman for the Kabul Police chief, said that the first bomber was on a motorbike and the second suicide bomber was on foot. The second attacker was among reporters who had gathered at the scene to cover the first suicide bomb attack, added Stanekzai. He added that the second attacker then detonated his explosives while still among the reporters.
The head of Afghanistan's Behsud district’s crime investigation department was killed in the explosion while the deputy district governor was wounded, local officials confirmed.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) chief photographer Shah Marai was also among the dead. AFP says Marai died in a blast that was targeting a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul.
Two reporters for the Afghan branch of Radio Free Europe and a third who was to begin working there soon also were killed, Radio Free Europe said.
Sediqullah Tawhidi, an official from the journalist safety committee says that another journalist was among those who were killed in Monday's attack. Tawhidi says that a cameraman form the local TOLO TV also was killed.
A number of journalists have been injured in the second blast along with civilians, police and emergency personnel who were assisting the first blast victims. Mohammad Mousa Zahir, director of Wazir Akbarkhan Hospital, told that several people suffering injuries from the blasts were being treated at the hospital and some were critical, fearing that the death toll may rise.
As per an Associated Press report, Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has said that it was the deadliest attack targeting reporters since the U.S.-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban in 2001. RSF, said 36 media workers have been killed in Afghanistan in attacks by IS or the Taliban since 2016.
The police chief said that the central area of Kabul that was targeted includes foreign offices. In a statement posted on an Islamic State-affiliated website, the Islamic State group said two of its martyrdom seekers carried out the double Kabul bombings, targeting the headquarters of the "renegade" Afghan intelligence services.
Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has strongly condemned the attacks in Kabul. A statement released by the presidential palace says that attacks targeting innocent civilians, worshippers inside the mosques, national and democratic processes, reporters and freedom of speech all are war crimes.
The United States (US) Embassy has also issued a statement saying ‘The United States strongly condemns today’s savage bombings in Kabul. We extend our deepest condolences to families, friends, & colleagues of all the victims, including a number of brave journalists among the dead and injured".
With inputs from agencies
With Afghanistan facing a severe humanitarian crisis amid ongoing political chaos and an unstable security situation under the Taliban regime, the United Nations (UN) has warned that two-thirds of the Afghan population are facing extreme hunger and are in urgent need of aid
Earlier, several embassies in Ankara including those of the US, Germany, France and Italy issued security alerts over possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship, following separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book, the Koran, was burned in Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark
Since the Taliban gained control of the country, Afghanistan has been on the brink of universal hardship. As many as 97% of people are now estimated to be living in poverty, up from 72% in 2018