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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Huge car bomb near embassies in Afghan capital kills or wounds dozens

Up to 20 dead after triple suicide bomb attack at funeral in Kabul (GRAPHIC PHOTOS, VIDEO) Published time: 3 Jun, 2017 12:27 Edited time: 3 Jun, 2017 16:33 Get short URL 06:00 06:00   Afghan policemen arrive at the site of blasts in Kabul, Afghanistan June 3, 2017. © Mohammad Ismail / Reuters AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook 539 Share to Twitter Share to Reddit Share to StumbleUpon Share to Google+ Share to Tumblr Up to 20 people have been killed and 87 injured in three successive suicide bombings centered around a funeral taking place in downtown Kabul Saturday, reports the TOLO news network. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and Acting foreign affairs minister Salahuddin Rabbani were both in attendance along with other government officials at the funeral at the time of the explosions. All were unharmed. Speaking at a press conference Saturday evening, Abdullah condemned the bombings and called for calm while an investigation into the attack is carried out. "Three suicide attackers with explosives detonated during funeral prayer as the Imam was leading the prayers and as a result a number of our people have been martyred," Abdullah said. "Considering the current situation in Afghanistan, my request is that people should express their demands and other issues regarding their rights in a way that will not allow the enemies of Afghanistan to take advantage of," he added.  The Taliban denied responsibility for both Saturday's attack and previous attacks this week according to local media. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks. The funeral was reportedly for Salim Izadyar, a protester and son of an Afghan senator, who was shot dead in violent anti-government protests which took place in Kabul Friday. His father Alam Ezadyar is the deputy speaker for the upper house of the Afghanistan Parliament. WATCH MORE: Several protesters killed in clashes with police during Kabul rally Up to five people were killed during the protests according to Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, as cited by Reuters. Protesters planned a second day of demonstration on Saturday to call for increased security in the capital which has been wracked by violence. Kabul has suffered a number of deadly attacks in recent weeks and the city was still reeling from a bomb blast earlier this week which killed more than 80 people and injured 460 in one of the deadliest attacks in the country in recent history. Kabul’s Garrison Commander, Lt. Gen. Gul Nabi Ahmadzai warned the public to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations at a press conference Friday night, warning of an imminent terrorist threat, citing the ongoing and highly “sensitive security situation.” Afghan Foreign Minister Rabbani warned of “terrorists in the establishment” on Twitter having survived the attack. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani chaired a meeting of high-ranking security officials earlier on Saturday to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the country. He later condemned the attack via the official Afghan government Twitter account. 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Facebook Google Twitter Email ================ Huge bomb blast kills at least 80, wounds hundreds in Afghan capital 49m ago | 01:33 At least 80 dead, 350 wounded in Kabul blast Huge bomb blast kills at least 80, wounds hundreds... X By Mirwais Harooni and Josh Smith | KABUL A powerful bomb exploded in the morning rush hour in the center of Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds and sending clouds of black smoke into the sky above the presidential palace and foreign embassies. The bomb, one of the deadliest in Kabul and coming at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, exploded close to the fortified entrance to the German embassy, killing a security guard and wounding some staff, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Twitter. Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police, said it was a car bomb near the German embassy. "But there are several other important compounds and offices near there too," he told Reuters. The blast, which shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of meters (yards) away, was unusually strong, with some reports saying it was caused by explosives concealed in a water tanker. A statement from the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Kabul said Afghan security forces had prevented the vehicle from entering the heavily protected Green Zone that houses many foreign embassies as well as RS headquarters, suggesting it may not have reached its intended target. A public health official said at least 80 people had been killed and more than 350 wounded. The victims appear mainly to have been Afghan civilians. As well as the German embassy, the French and Chinese embassies were among those damaged, the two countries said, adding there were no immediate signs of injuries among their diplomats. Video shot at the scene showed burning debris, crumbled walls and buildings and destroyed cars, many with dead or injured people inside. At the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital a few blocks away, there were scenes of chaos as ambulances brought in wounded and frantic relatives scanned casualty lists and questioned hospital staff for news. "It felt like an earthquake," said 21-year-old Mohammad Hassan, describing the moment the blast struck the bank where he was working. His head wound had been bandaged but blood still soaked his white dress shirt. TALIBAN DENY RESPONSIBILITY Another lightly wounded victim, Nabib Ahmad, 27, said there was widespread destruction and confusion. ‹ 20/20 Afghan policemen inspect at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 1/20 Afghan officials inspect outside the German embassy after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 2/20 Relatives of Afghan victims mourn outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani 3/20 Relatives of victims listen to hospital officials after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 4/20 Afghan officials inspect outside the German embassy after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 5/20 Afghan officials inspect outside the German embassy after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 6/20 An Afghan policeman past walked next to a damaged vehicle after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 7/20 Afghan men carry an injured man after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani 8/20 Damaged cars are seen after a blast at the site of the incident in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY 9/20 Damaged cars are seen after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani 10/20 Burned vehicles are seen after a blast at the site of the incident in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani 11/20 Damaged cars are seen at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani 12/20 Damaged cars are seen after a blast at the site of the incident in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani 13/20 An Afghan man reacts at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Omar Sobhani 14/20 Smoke rises from the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Hamid Sayedi 15/20 A man holds an injured outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 16/20 Men move an injured man to a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 17/20 ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A woman sits outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 18/20 Afghan women mourn outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 19/20 Afghan women mourn outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 20/20 Afghan policemen inspect at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 1/20 Afghan officials inspect outside the German embassy after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail › "I couldn't think clearly, there was a mess everywhere," he said. Later, frenzy broke out outside the hospital as ambulances and police trucks began bringing in the bodies of those killed. Some bodies were burned or destroyed beyond recognition. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the blast. "India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism. Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated," he said in a tweet. Related Coverage VIDEOLarge explosion rocks Afghanistan's capital Taliban deny responsibility for Kabul blast Kabul blast hurts German embassy staff, kills guard: minister French embassy in Kabul damaged in car bomb attack: minister The Taliban denied responsibility and said they condemned attacks that have no legitimate target and killed civilians. Islamic State, the other main militant group active in Afghanistan, has carried out high profile attacks in Kabul, including an attack on a military hospital in March that killed more than 50 people. However the attack provided another clear demonstration that Ramadan, which began at the weekend, would provide little respite from the violence across Afghanistan. The Taliban have been stepping up their push to defeat the U.S.-backed government and reimpose Islamic law after their 2001 ouster in a Washington-backed invasion. Since most international troops withdrew at the end of 2014, the Taliban have gained ground and now control or contest about 40 percent of the country, according to U.S. estimates, though President Ashraf Ghani's government holds all provincial centers. U.S. President Donald Trump is due to decide soon on a recommendation to send 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to bolster the small NATO training force and U.S. counter-terrorism mission now totaling just over 10,000. The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, told a congressional hearing earlier this year that he needed several thousand more troops to help Afghan forces break a "stalemate" with the Taliban. (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Emmanuel Jarry in Paris, Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Madeline Chambers and Michelle Martin in Berlin; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie) ======================================= Wed May 31, 2017 | 1:37 AM EDT Huge car bomb near embassies in Afghan capital kills or wounds dozens ‹ 3/3 ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A woman sits outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 1/3 A man holds an injured outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 2/3 Men move an injured man to a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 3/3 ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A woman sits outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail 1/3 A man holds an injured outside a hospital after a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan May 31, 2017. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail › Huge car bomb near embassies in Afghan capital... X By Mirwais Harooni | KABUL A powerful car bomb exploded in the center of Afghanistan's capital on Wednesday, killing or wounding dozens of people and sending clouds of black smoke into the sky above the presidential palace and foreign embassies, officials said Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul police, said several people were killed and wounded in the blast near the fortified entrance to the German embassy. "It was a car bomb near the German embassy, but there are several other important compounds and offices near there too. It is hard to say what the exact target is," Mujahid said. The explosion shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of meters (yards) away. A public health spokesman said at least 67 wounded people had been taken to hospitals around Kabul. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. A spokesman for Taliban insurgents said he was gathering information. Violence around Afghanistan has been rising throughout the year, as the Taliban push to defeat the U.S.-backed government and reimpose Islamic law after their 2001 ouster in a Washington-backed invasion. Since most international troops withdrew at the end of 2014, the Taliban have gained ground and now control or contest about 40 percent of the country, according to U.S. estimates, though President Ashraf Ghani's government holds all provincial centers. Related Coverage At least 67 wounded in Kabul car bomb blast: official U.S. President Donald Trump is due to decide soon on a recommendation to send 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to bolster the small NATO training force and U.S. counter-terrorism mission now totaling just over 10,000. The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, told a congressional hearing earlier this year that he needed several thousand more troops to help Afghan forces break a "stalemate" with the Taliban. (Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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