Blast in Kandahar During UAE Envoy's Visit
Bombings across three Afghan cities including Kabul killed around 50 people on Tuesday, in a day of carnage that shattered a relative lull in violence as Taliban insurgents escalate a deadly winter campaign.
At least nine people died when explosives hidden in a sofa detonated inside the governor's compound in southern Kandahar during a visit by the UAE ambassador to Afghanistan, who escaped the attack with injuries.
Just hours earlier, twin Taliban blasts in Kabul tore through employees exiting a parliament annexe, which houses the offices of lawmakers, killing at least 30 people and wounding 80 others.
UAE Envoy Escapes With Injuries
The carnage underscores growing insecurity in Afghanistan, where US-backed forces are struggling to combat a resilient Taliban insurgency as well as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants.
Kandahar's governor and UAE envoy Juma Mohammed Abdullah Al Kaabi were wounded by flames from the explosion, but many others were burned beyond recognition, provincial police chief Abdul Raziq told AFP.
He said around a dozen people were killed in the bombing, but local Tolo News gave a death toll of nine. No militant group has so far claimed responsibility.
But the Taliban said they were behind the Kabul blasts.
Suicide Bomber Blows Himself Up Near Parliamentary Building
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for twin blasts near parliament offices in Kabul on Tuesday, which they said had killed or wounded scores of people.
The attack targeted a minibus carrying staff from the NDS, Afghanistan's main intelligence agency, and as many as 30 people were killed or wounded, the insurgents said.
According to Tolo News, Kabul Ministry confirmed that at least 40 people have been wounded in the attack.
The attack occurred in a crowded area during the afternoon rush hour as workers were returning home.
Officials said a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Darul Aman area of the city near the new Indian-financed parliament building and was followed immediately by a car bomber in an apparently coordinated operation.
Four Policemen Among the 30 Dead in Twin Blasts
Among the 30 dead were four policemen who were killed in the second explosion when they rushed to help the victims of the first blast.
Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh warned that the toll was expected to rise as many of the wounded were battling for their lives in hospital.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they were behind the twin blasts, adding the victims were mostly Afghan intelligence agents. The insurgents are known to exaggerate battlefield claims.
The deaths of scores of civilians in today’s Kabul bomb attacks indicates that the Taliban are pressing ahead with a gruesome campaign of violence that makes no effort to spare civilian lives. An immediate, impartial and independent investigation must be carried out to secure justice for the victims and their families.Amnesty International
Most of the dead were parliament staff who were leaving the parliament complex, BBC reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, another suicide bomber killed seven people and wounded nine when he detonated his explosives in a house in the southern province of Helmand used by an NDS unit.
PM Modi Sends His Condolences
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences for those who lost their lives in the twin blast that took place in Kabul.
Indian and Afghanistan have been on the same page in their fight against terrorist activities in the respective countries
Strongly condemn the terror attack in Kabul & condole loss of innocent lives. India stands with Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 10, 2017