IS Terror Hits Kabul

IS Terror Hits KabulIS Terror Hits Kabul

More than 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in a suicide blast targeting Shias in Kabul on Thursday, officials said, with chaotic scenes at the city’s hospitals as anguished families sought loved ones.

The self-styled Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the gruesome assault on the Tebyan cultural centre, the third deadly attack it has claimed in the Afghan capital this month, AFP reported.

Up to 100 people had gathered at the centre to mark the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It is located in western Kabul, in the same building as affiliated Afghan Voice Agency (AVA), an anti-IS media outlet.

“The latest figures we have from this tragic incident shows 41 people have been killed and a further 84 people injured,” health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh told reporters.

Kabul has become one of the deadliest places in war-torn Afghanistan for civilians in recent months, as the Taliban step up their attacks and IS seeks to expand its presence in the country.

Thursday’s attack saw chaotic scenes at the Istiqlal hospital where ambulances and police pickups brought victims, including women and children. Many of them had suffered severe burns to their faces and bodies, as well as shrapnel wounds, AFP reporters said.

Visibly distressed relatives searching for their loved ones inside the medical facility slapped their heads in fury as they cried and cursed the government for seemingly being unable to end the regular carnage on their streets.

Some were so distraught they crawled on the ground pulling their hair.

Deputy interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told AFP the attack —the deadliest since a Shia mosque bombing in October that killed more than 50 worshippers— was followed by two smaller bomb blasts as victims and survivors were leaving the scene.

A journalist with AVA, which is located above the cultural centre, said that more than 100 people were at the event in the building’s basement, with a number of AVA staff among the victims.

The attack drew condemnation from both Brussels and Washington.

The European Union said: “With journalists amongst the casualties, this act of violence is clearly also an attack against freedom of expression and democracy in Afghanistan.”

The White House added “the enemies of Afghanistan will not succeed in their attempts to destroy the country and divide the Afghan people”.

Toby Lanzer, acting head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, labeled it a “truly despicable crime in a year already marked by unspeakable atrocities”.

Amnesty International said it was further evidence that Kabul was not safe.


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