At least 24 killed in Kabul car bombing

2017-07-24 06:21
Afghan medical staff treat a man wounded in a car bomb attack in Kabul. (Shai Marai, AFP)

Afghan medical staff treat a man wounded in a car bomb attack in Kabul. (Shai Marai, AFP)

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Kabul - At least 24 people have been killed and 42 wounded after a car bomb rocked Kabul just before 7:00 am Monday, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.

All the dead and wounded were civilians, he said.

Interior ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said the target of the attack, which came just before 07:00 am, was not immediately clear.

The attack occurred in a western Kabul neighborhood where several prominent politicians reside and at rush hour, as residents were heading to work and students were on their way to a nearby private high school, said Basir Mujahed, the spokesman.

"The bomber attacked at one of the busiest times of the day," he said. "There were traffic jams with people going to work and to the university and schools. Many of the shops had just opened."

The bus was completely destroyed, along with three other cars and several shops in the area, he said, adding children were among the wounded. In a statement the Interior Ministry called the attack "a criminal act against humanity."

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing but in the past, both the Taliban and the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have staged such large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital.

Monday's attack was the second against employees of the mines and petroleum ministry. Last year, a bus carrying the ministry's employees was also targeted in an attack that killed several people.

"Once again, these terrorist are attacking civilians and targeting government staff," President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement.

Several attacks have occurred in the neighborhood, including the suicide attack last month that killed prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Ramazan Hussainzada, who was also a senior leader of the ethnic Hazara community.

Eyewitnesses to Monday's attack said shattered glass from nearby buildings was scattered all over the street. "The sound was very strong, the ground shook," said Mohammed Nader, who owns a convenience store in the neighborhood.

The neighbourhood is home to many Shiite Hazaras, a persecuted ethnic minority who have been targeted many times in the past.

It is also near prominent politician and former warlord Mohammad Mohaqeq's home. Omid Maisom Mohaqiq, a spokesperson for the politician, said the bomb had detonated near the first checkpoint approaching the house, "killing and wounding some civilians".

"We assume the car wanted to target Mr Mohaqeq's house but was stopped by guards," he said.Kabul is regularly rocked by suicide bombs and attacks. A recent UN report showed it accounted for nearly one-fifth of all civilian casualties in the first half of 2017.

Read more on:    afghanistan  |  suicide bombing

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