Kabul: Around 30 others were wounded in the assault, which comes as the Taliban intensify their nationwide offensive against the US-backed government. The two bombers blew themselves up in rapid succession, in an attack apparently aimed at inflicting mass casualties as government workers left the ministry after work. “The first explosion occurred on a bridge near the defence ministry. When soldiers, policemen and civilians rushed to the scene, there was the second explosion,” defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish told AFP. Health ministry said 24 people were killed in the blasts. The Italian-run Emergency Hospital in Kabul tweeted that it had so far received 10 injured people, with more expected to arrive. President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack. “The enemies of Afghanistan are losing the fight in the ground battle with security forces,” Ghani said in a statement.
“That is why they are attacking, highways, cities, mosques, schools and ordinary people.” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the defence ministry was the object of the first attack, while police were targeted in the second. The attack took place more than a week after 16 people were killed when militants stormed the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, in a nearly 10-hour raid that prompted anguished pleas for help from trapped students.
Explosions and gunfire rocked the campus in that attack, which came just weeks after two university professors — an American and an Australian — were kidnapped at gunpoint near the school. Their whereabouts are still unknown and no group so far has publicly claimed responsibility for the abductions, the latest in a series of kidnappings in the conflict-torn country. The uptick in violence in the capital comes as the Taliban escalate nationwide attacks, underscoring the worsening security situation since NATO forces ended their combat mission at the end of 2014. Afghan forces backed by US troops are seeking to head off a potential Taliban takeover of Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern opium-rich province of Helmand.
The Taliban have also closed in on Kunduz — the northern city they briefly seized last year in their biggest military victory since the 2001 US invasion — leaving Afghan forces stretched on multiple fronts. But NATO coalition forces have insisted that neither Kunduz nor Lashkar Gah are at risk of falling to the insurgents. nd suicide bomber after people reacted to the first explosion.
Three senior police officers reported to be killed in the Kabul twin blasts that claimed 20 lives while left over 40 others wounded. The toll is likely to go up.
The three senior police officials, who were killed in the blasts that took place near the Defence Ministry premises, included Sayed Zaman, the police chief for PD2, Razaq, the deputy chief of support for the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) Regiment Unit and Zaman’s deputy, and the head of the intelligence unit for PD2, reports Tolo News.
The first explosion took place shortly after 2.30 p.m. and was followed by a second explosion which appeared to have targeted the first responders to the scene.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi confirmed that at least 20 people were killed and over 40 injured.
A number of other senior police officials are also among the dead.
According to security officials the first bomb was detonated remotely while the second had been a suicide bomber.
Officials also said the suicide bomber had been wearing an ANA uniform.
Security officials have cordoned off the area.
Meanwhile President Ashraf condemned the incident and said that Afghanistan’s enemies have once again shown that they are against progress in the country.
‘Terrorist groups are trying to reach their nefarious aims by conducting terror attacks in the country,’ he said, adding, ‘Afghanistan’s enemies have lost the capability of facing security forces on the battlefield and therefore attack highways, cities, mosques, schools and other public places.’
Ghani also extended his condolences to the families of the victims and wished all those wounded a speedy recovery.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack
The death toll in Monday’s suicide attack in a crowded area near the defence ministry in the Afghan capital, Kabul, reached at least 24, with 91 people wounded, including civilians, a spokesman for the public health ministry said. The toll might rise further, the spokesman, Mohammad Ismail Kawousi, added.
TWENTY FOUR DEAD, 91 WOUNDED IN KABUL ATTACK – PUBLIC HEALTH MINISTRY SPOKESMAN
According to official statements, 9 people died and 30 were injured in the twin bombings.