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Wave of deadly bombings in Kabul continues

By HEATH DRUZIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 4, 2016

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two suicide bombings struck the same road Monday, the latest in a series of attacks over the past week that have rattled the Afghan capital.

At least two bystanders were killed in the second attack and about 30 were wounded, including 10 children, security and health officials said.

Both attacks occurred near the entrance to a military base attached to Kabul’s international airport. The first bomb appeared to have detonated prematurely, killing only the bomber. The second went off at the gate of a heavily fortified compound that houses foreign contractors.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said that the attack breached the walls of Camp Sullivan, which houses civilian contractors, and that no coalition troops were hurt. He said U.S. forces were assisting in evacuating the wounded.

The U.S. embassy in Kabul released a statement saying it is investigating the incident. The embassy did not immediately comment on whether any Americans were among the casualties.

“Our thoughts are with those affected by today’s violence,” U.S. Ambassador Michael McKinley said in the embassy statement.

In a statement on their website, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the second attack Monday, claiming to have killed and wounded several foreigners. They often exaggerate casualty claims.

Kabul has seen four suicide bombings in little more than a week, a surge of violence that is unusual in the winter months, which traditionally have seen a lull in attacks. Civilians have taken the brunt of the attacks, with scores wounded and several killed.

A suicide car bomb on the same road a week ago targeted a foreign military convoy. One civilian was killed and 30 others were injured. On New Year’s Day, another car bomb hit an upscale French restaurant popular with Afghan elites and foreigners, killing a child and a security guard.

The attacks underscore the difficult road to peace after President Ashraf Ghani’s Dec. 31 announcement of four-country talks set for next week to work out a framework to negotiate a settlement to the 14-year-old war.

Violence has spiked in the year since the international military coalition withdrew the majority of its troops and pulled back to a largely advisory role. The Afghan security forces have largely taken over day-to-day fighting, and a resurgent Taliban inflicted record casualties on them in 2015.

Zubair Babakarkhail in Kabul and Stars and Stripes reporter Tara Copp in Washington contributed to this report.

druzin.heath@stripes.com
Twitter: @Druzin_Stripes

 

The Kabul restaurant Le Jardin was severely damaged after being hit by a suicide car bomb on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The attack came a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a new effort to restart peace talks with the Taliban.
Heath Druzin/Stars and Stripes

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