Car bomb in Afghan capital kills at least 35: Kabul officials

An Afghan policeman stands guard outside a mosque where a suicide bomber detonated a bomb, in Kabul, Afghanistan on June 16, 2017.
An Afghan policeman stands guard outside a mosque where a suicide bomber detonated a bomb, in Kabul, Afghanistan on June 16, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL (REUTERS) – A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in the western part of Kabul on Monday, killing at least 35 people and wounding 40, and the death toll could rise, an Interior Ministry spokesman in the Afghan capital said.

Police cordoned off the area, located near the house of the deputy government Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq in a part of the city where many of the mainly Shi’ite Hazara community live, but they said the target of the attack was so far unclear.

 A small bus owned by the Ministry of Mines had been destroyed, government security sources said.  Acting Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at least 35 people had been killed and 40 wounded but the casualty toll could rise further.

Salim Rasouli, director of the city’s hospitals, said at least 13 dead and 17 wounded had been taken to hospitals.  The latest suicide bombing adds to the unrelenting violence in Afghanistan, where at least 1,662 civilians were killed in the first half of the year. It came two weeks after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed an attack on a mosque in the capital that killed at least four people.  

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Kabul has accounted for at least 20 per cent of all civilian casualties this year, including at least 150 people killed in a massive truck bomb attack at the end of May, according to United Nations figures.

The Taliban, which is battling the Western-backed government for control of Afghanistan, has launched a wave of attacks around the country in recent days, sparking fighting in more than half a dozen provinces.

On Sunday, dozens of Afghan troops were under siege after Taliban fighters overran a district in northern Faryab province, a spokesman for the provincial police said.  There was also fighting in Baghlan, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan provinces, according to officials.

The resurgence of violence coincides with the US administration weighing up its strategic options for Afghanistan, including the possibility of sending more troops to bolster the training and advisory mission already helping Afghan forces.