Dozens killed in multiple Kabul blasts

2017-12-28 11:44
An Afghan man runs away as dust blows in the aftermath of the third blast at a Shi'ite cultural centre in Kabul. At least 40 people were killed and dozens more wounded in multiple blasts in the Afghan capital. (Shah Marai, AFP)

An Afghan man runs away as dust blows in the aftermath of the third blast at a Shi'ite cultural centre in Kabul. At least 40 people were killed and dozens more wounded in multiple blasts in the Afghan capital. (Shah Marai, AFP)

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Kabul - Around 40 people were killed and dozens more wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shi'ite cultural centre in Kabul on Thursday, officials said, in the latest violence to hit the city.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Taliban was quick to deny involvement in the assault near the Afghan Voice Agency, a media outlet which earlier reports had suggested could have been the target.

Deputy interior ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi told AFP the attack was in fact aimed at the Shi'ite Tabayan cultural centre in the west of the city.

"The suicide attacker detonated himself during a gathering at Tabayan cultural centre causing a lot of casualties," Rahimi said.

The main explosion was followed by two smaller bomb blasts that did not cause casualties, he said, adding that the gathering was being held to mark the 38th anniversary of Soviet invasion in Afghanistan.

Distraught

There were chaotic scenes at the Istiqlal hospital where ambulances brought victims, including women and children. Many of them were suffering severe burns to their faces and bodies, as well as shrapnel wounds, AFP reporters said.

Anguished relatives searching for their loved ones inside the medical facility, slapping their heads in fury as they cried and cursed the government for seemingly being unable to end the regular carnage on their streets.

Some were so distraught they crawled on the ground pulling their hair.

An AFP reporter saw badly burned bodies lying on the floor in a room inside the hospital and wooden coffins being delivered so families could take away their dead loved ones.

Kabul has become one of the deadliest places in war-torn Afghanistan for civilians in recent months, as the Taliban step up their attacks and the Islamic State group (IS) seeks to expand its presence in the country.

Thursday's assault comes days after a suicide bomber killed six civilians in an attack near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in the city, which was claimed by IS.

The Middle Eastern jihadist group has gained ground in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015 and has scaled up its attacks in Kabul, including on security installations and the country's Shi'ite minority.


Read more on:    afghanistan

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