Afghanistan violence: Deadly suicide bomb hits Kabul

At least 28 people have been killed and 329 injured in a huge explosion in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul, police and officials say.

A suicide attacker detonated a vehicle and gunmen stormed the area, reports say. Officials say the gunfight is now over and the area has been cleared.

A Taliban spokesman said the group carried out the attack.

It comes a week after it said it was launching its “spring offensive”, warning of large-scale attacks.

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Tuesday’s bombing happened during the morning rush hour in Pul-e-Mahmud, a busy neighbourhood where homes, mosques, schools and businesses nestle close to the Ministry of Defence, other ministries and military compounds.

Soldiers and security officers are reported to be among the casualties, but the majority are civilians, says the BBC Afghan Service’s Waheed Massoud.

The blast shattered windows 1km (0.6 mile) away. The Associated Press quoted a police officer as saying it was one of the most powerful explosions he had ever heard, and he could not see or hear anything for 20 minutes after.

It appears the initial blast cleared the way for Taliban fighters to enter the area – a commonly used tactic.

Wounded Afghans are treated in hospital after a Taliban-claimed suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, on 19 April 2016Image copyrightAP
Image captionSeveral hundred people were wounded in Tuesday’s blast
Security forces members keep watch at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan on 19 April 2016Image copyrightReuters
Image captionSecurity forces cordoned off the area and fighting continued for hours
Smoke rises after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 19 April 2016Image copyrightAP
Image captionAn enormous plume of acrid smoke was left behind by the blast
A man stands inside his damaged shop near the scene of a huge bomb blast in central Kabul, Afghanistan, on 19 April 2016Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThis man’s shop was damaged

Unconfirmed claims suggest they managed to breach the defences of the National Directorate of Security, the main spy agency which protects high-ranking government officials.

The presidential palace – only a few hundred metres from the blast – condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms”.

“Such cowardly terrorist attacks will not weaken the will and determination of Afghan security forces to fight against terrorism.”

A tweet from President Ghani’s office’s official account suggested the attack “clearly shows the enemy’s defeat in face-to-face battle with ANSDF” – the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.


[Source:- BBC]