Death toll rises in Kabul bombing, Taliban says didn’t kill civilians

The target was clearly the security and intelligence apparatus, an elite unit of the National Directorate of Security, which provides protection cover to the high ranking government officials as well as mighty and powerful, the VIPs of Afghanistan. Around 9.00 am in the morning, Jamaluddin– hailing from the Taliban stronghold of Maidan Wardak province of Chak district– drove his truck crossing the numerous check posts in the Pul-e-Mahmood Khan neighborhood and stopped at the parking lot outside the heavily guarded compound wall of the NDS office building. The boom of the blast, minutes later, billowed grey clouds in the air, blew off a big hole in the compound wall and shattered glasses of the buildings around.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) circulated its final report on Operation Omari on Wednesday, rejoicing the deaths of hundreds of intelligence agency workers and operatives.'' But as Kabul counted its dead, the casualties were more civilians than intelligence officials.
On Thursday, the revised death toll jumped to 64 with over 347 injured making it the deadliest assault this year, even as United Nations statistics revealed that 2015 recorded highest number of casualties in Afghanistan.
Sediq Sediqqi, spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior Affairs confirmed
with regret that most of them (casualties and injured) in Kabul blast are civilians.”
Taliban affiliated online social media channels released a statement by spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, who claimed the figures of civilian casualty to be `enemy propaganda’ while releasing the photos of suicide bombers and details of the attack in Kabul. Everyone is aware that no civilians are permitted to travel in close proximity to the 10th directorate building of the NDS and neither is this a civilian area. The attack only destroyed the targeted building, killing the workers of this department inside their rooms, the pictures of which were later published online. However due to the force of the explosion, windows of buildings at a far distance were also shattered – naturally injuring people albeit lightly, a situation which is unfortunate.''
The attack was launched by three Taliban militants, one of whom reportedly escaped alive. The detonation of the powerful truck bomb blasted the otherwise heavily guarded compound wall provided opening and allowed the two militants to enter the NDS premises. The gun battle that lasted over five hours killed several members of the 10th Directorate unit as well as the second Taliban militant named Sayed Abdul Wali Agha. The third militant who ran out of his ammunition, managed to escape to safety.
According to Taliban's statement,
92 workers, key operatives and security guards including the deputy intelligence chief Fakhri and Abbas Danish nephew of the new chief were killed and over a hundred other intelligence agency workers who had gathered at the building to share information were injured.”
The blast on the periphery of the compound wall however claimed the lives of scores of drivers waiting in the parking lot and civilians closer to the taxi stand. The vicinity of the blast area resembled a scene of carnage with mangled remains of the cars, shattered glasses of the houses and buildings around including the largest mosque and injured trying to make way for safety in clouds of dust and grime.
Hospitals in Kabul which rushed the limited ambulances and vehicles to ferry the victims were overburdened with the numbers. Most of the wounded, Ismail Kawasi, spokesperson for the ministry of Public Health said were women and children. Other civilians who escaped the attack lined up at the hospital to donate blood for the victims. Volunteers, elected representatives, tribal leaders and ulemas in other parts of the country too began a massive blood donation drive across 20 provinces in solidarity and support of those injured.
The attack which marked the beginning of Taliban’s self publicized Spring Offensive has brought an onslaught of rage and anger among the Afghan civil population against the militant group. Families of the victims in the blast have pleaded the government to not enter negotiation with Taliban but eliminate them.
Taliban on the other hand has vowed to show no mercy'' and continue to target the enemy in urban areaswith such precision strikes where key officials shall be eliminated.”