Monday Apr 30 2018

Journalists among 26 killed in successive Kabul blasts


KABUL: Twin blasts in the Afghan capital Kabul killed 26 people on Monday, including nine journalists who had arrived to report on the first explosion and who were apparently targeted by a suicide bomber in a second attack, officials said.

The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee said seven journalists had been killed and French news agency Agence France-Presse confirmed that its chief photographer in Afghanistan, Shah Marai, was among the dead. A Reuters photographer was slightly wounded.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the interior ministry, said the suicide bomber appeared to have posed as a journalist and blew himself up where reporters and emergency health officials were standing.

The attack came a week after 60 people were killed as they waited at a voter registration center in the west of Kabul, underlining the continuing insecurity in the capital despite official pledges to tighten defenses.

Hashmat Stanakzai, a senior Kabul police official, said 26 people were killed and 49 were seriously wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, the official said.

Wahidullah Majroh, spokesman for the health ministry, said at least six journalists were among the wounded.

The first bomb exploded in the Shashdarak area close to buildings of the NDS intelligence service, followed by one outside the ministry of urban development and housing, just as people were entering the government office.

Taliban militants announced their usual spring offensive last week and there has been heavy fighting in several areas of the country since.

Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in a series of high-profile attacks in Kabul since the beginning of the year, despite President Ashraf Ghani’s offer in February for peace talks “without preconditions”.

At least 11 killed in Kandahar bombing

Shortly after the twin bombings, at least 11 students were killed and 16 others, including eight Romanian soldiers, were injured in a car bombing in the southern Kandahar province of the country. 

According to local officials, the explosion occurred at around 11am in Haji Abdullah Khan village of Daman district when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives.

The target had been a Romanian convoy that had been patrolling the area.

Kandahar media office deputy spokesman Matiullah said that at least 11 students at a seminar close to the scene of the explosion were killed in the bombing, according to ToloNews.