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Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Bombings in Afghan capital kill 2 people, injure 2 reporters

AP , Sunday 2 Jun 2019
Explosion in Kabul
Afghan security police walk at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, June 2, 2019. Afghan officials say there have been three explosions in the capital, Kabul, including a sticky bomb attached to a bus carrying university students (Photo: AP)
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Four explosions struck the Afghan capital on Sunday, killing at least two people and wounding 27 others, officials said. Among the injured were two Afghan journalists, according to a local non-governmental media organization.

The first bomb hit a bus carrying university students in a residential area of western Kabul. It was followed 20 minutes later by two further detonations at the same location, said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the interior ministry.

Wahidullah Mayar, a spokesman for the public health ministry, said the three successive attacks injured 24 people, including four women. The first blast killed at least one person. Mayar added it was not immediately clear which explosion had caused the second death.

A wave of attacks has rocked the Afghan capital in the last week, where both the Islamic State group and Taliban insurgents are active.

Attacks by the Taliban have continued unabated despite peace talks with the United States as well as a fresh round of talks with Afghan notables last week in the Russian capital, Moscow.

The Taliban have rejected repeated demands for a cease-fire in the decades-long civil war, demanding a US and NATO troop withdraw from Afghanistan first.

However, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for three of Sunday’s attacks in Kabul. In a statement, the Sunni extremist group said it set off an improvised explosive device on a bus allegedly transporting minority Shia Muslims.

After security forces and journalists had gathered at the site, the group detonated two additional devices, it added.

The secondary explosions wounded seven people who had arrived after the initial attack, including five members of the security forces, Rahimi said.

Also wounded in the secondary explosions were two Afghan journalists, Ahmad Jawed Kargar and Mohammad Faseh Mutawakil, according to Nai, a media organization that supports open media in Afghanistan.

Kargar, a photographer for the European Pressphoto Agency, confirmed he was injured in a video he posted to social media while being taken to the hospital. Epa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nai said the second journalist had been lightly wounded.

Late in the afternoon Sunday, a fourth blast wounded three people, said Rahimi.

He said that a sticky bomb attached to a vehicle had exploded in a southwestern neighborhood in Kabul.

No one immediately claimed the last attack.

Islamic State group bombings have seemingly targeted journalists before. In April 2018, nine journalists were killed and half a dozen wounded in a double suicide bombing in Kabul.

In that attack, it appeared the journalists were intentionally targeted by a bomber who hid among members of the media rushing to cover the first explosion. IS claimed responsibility for the bombings, but didn’t say that journalists were specifically targeted.

In a separate attack late Saturday in eastern Ghazni province, a Taliban suicide bomber was able to enter a police compound using a stolen Humvee packed with explosives.

The blast killed at least seven police reserve unit personnel and wounded eight others, said Naser Ahmad Faqeri, head of Ghazni’s provincial council.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid took responsibility for the attack in Ghazni.

In western Farah province, at least six members of the border security forces were killed Saturday night in an attack on their checkpoint by Taliban insurgents. Abdul Samad Salehi, a provincial council member, said eight other members of the security forces were wounded. The Taliban offered no comment on the attack in Farah.

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