30 killed, 80 wounded in twin blasts in Kabul

A victim being moved to a hospital after twin bombings near the Afghan Parliament building in Kabul on Jan 10, 2017.
A victim being moved to a hospital after twin bombings near the Afghan Parliament building in Kabul on Jan 10, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

KABUL • Twin blasts claimed by the Taleban struck near the Afghan Parliament in Kabul yesterday, killing at least 30 people and wounding 80 in a rush-hour attack that shattered a relative lull in violence in the capital.

The blasts tore through employees exiting a Parliament annexe, which houses the offices of lawmakers, leaving the area littered with bloodied bodies.

"A suicide bomber on foot caused the first explosion, killing and wounding a number of innocent workers," Mr Zabi, a security guard who got injured, said.

"The second one was a car bomb. The vehicle was parked on the other side of the road and flung me back when it detonated," he added.

The blasts left some of the wounded in serious condition, Health Ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said, warning that the toll was expected to rise.

Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group was behind the Kabul explosions. The group said its target was a minibus carrying staff from the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanis- tan's main intelligence agency.

The bombings came just hours after a Taleban suicide bomber killed seven people and wounded nine in Lashkargah, the capital of the volatile southern province of Helmand, as the militants ramped up attacks. The house where the attack was carried out was reportedly being used by an NDS unit.

The carnage underscores growing insecurity in Afghanistan, where around 10,000 American troops are helping struggling Afghan forces to combat a resilient Taleban insurgency as well as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants.

The Taleban are pressing ahead with nationwide attacks despite the onset of winter, when fighting usually ebbs, as international efforts to jump-start peace talks falter.

Repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taleban have failed and a fierce new fighting season is expected to kick off in the spring.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline '30 killed, 80 wounded in twin blasts in Kabul'. Print Edition | Subscribe