Multiple attacks in Afghanistan leave 23 dead

Taleban militants have attacked an Afghan army post and killed 18 government soldiers, while a suicide bomber in the capital killed at least one person and wounded six.
Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a suicide bomb attack that targeted the office of National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan on Feb 24, 2018.
Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a suicide bomb attack that targeted the office of National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan on Feb 24, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KABUL • At least 23 people, mostly soldiers, were killed and more than a dozen wounded in a series of attacks and suicide bombings in Afghanistan yesterday, officials said, the latest assaults on the war-torn country's beleaguered security forces.

In the biggest one, a "big group" of militants stormed an army base in the western province of Farah overnight, killing at least 18 soldiers, Defence Ministry spokesman Daulat Wazir said.

The Taleban claimed responsibility.

In another attack, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near the diplomatic area of Kabul during the morning rush hour, killing at least three people and wounding five, deputy Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told Agence France-Presse.

A security source who requested not to be named said the blast took place near a compound belonging to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence agency. The compound is near the Nato headquarters and the US Embassy.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, which is trying to make inroads in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

In two other attacks yesterday in the volatile southern Helmand province, suicide car bombs left at least two soldiers dead and wounded more than a dozen others, officials said. The Taleban claimed responsibility in both cases.

Militants, including the Taleban and ISIS, have stepped up offensives on Afghan troops and police in recent months, sapping the morale of forces already hit by desertions and corruption.

Afghan soldiers have taken what the UN describes as "shocking" casualties since international forces ended their combat role at the end of 2014, although troop casualty figures are no longer released.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 25, 2018, with the headline 'Multiple attacks in Afghanistan leave 23 dead'. Print Edition | Subscribe