15 Afghan army trainees killed in Kabul suicide attack

At least 39 people died in a blast at a Shi'ite mosque in Kabul on Friday night.
At least 39 people died in a blast at a Shi'ite mosque in Kabul on Friday night.PHOTO: REUTERS

Over 200 dead after 7th major hit in Afghanistan in less than a week

KABUL • A suicide attacker detonated a car full of explosives outside an Afghan military training centre in Kabul yesterday, killing at least 15 soldiers, a military spokesman said, the latest attack in a particularly deadly week for Afghanistan's security forces.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the ambush but Taleban forces have been involved in the previous four attacks on police and military bases this week.

Yesterday's attack was the second suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in 24 hours and the seventh major assault in Afghanistan since last Tuesday, taking the total death toll to more than 200, with hundreds more wounded.

The attack comes after suicide bombers targeted two mosques on Friday, killing at least 72 people including children, officials and witnesses said.

"Army personnel were coming out of Marshal Fahim University when a suicide bomber in a car targeted them. Fifteen soldiers who were there for training were killed and four others were wounded," Ministry of Defence spokesman Dawlat Wazari told Reuters.

Kabul Crime Branch chief General Mohammad Salim Almas said police have launched an investigation into the attack which happened in the west of the city.

The spate of deadly attacks underscores the deteriorating security across the war-torn country as the resurgent Taleban steps up its attacks on police and military bases and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to target Shi'ite mosques.

In the deadliest of the recent security attacks, around 50 Afghan soldiers were killed in a Taleban-claimed assault on a military base in the southern province of Kandahar on Thursday.

Nato's Resolute Support mission tweeted that the latest incident was an "attack on the future" of Afghanistan and its security forces. "This attack in #Kabul shows the insurgents are desperate and cannot win" against Afghanistan's security and defence forces, it said.

Meanwhile, on Friday, at least 39 people died in a blast at a Shi'ite mosque in the city's western Dasht-e-Barchi district, Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.

One bomber walked into the Imam Zaman mosque in the capital Kabul as people were praying on Friday night and detonated an explosive, one of the worshippers there, Mr Mahmood Shah Husaini, said.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a statement from the group did not provide evidence to support its claim.

Shi'ite Muslims have suffered a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, many of them claimed by the Sunni Muslim militants of ISIS.

Separately, a suicide bombing killed at least 33 people at a mosque in the central Ghor province, a police spokesman said.

The attack appeared to target a local leader from the Jamiat political party, according to a statement from Balkh provincial governor Atta Mohammad Noor, a leading figure in Jamiat.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for that attack.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 22, 2017, with the headline '15 Afghan army trainees killed in Kabul suicide attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe