Separate bomb attacks kill at least 23 in Afghanistan

Suicide blast targeting minibus in Kabul leaves 14 Nepalese security guards dead; another attack in Badakhshan province claims at least eight lives.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Afghan children look at the damaged minibus hit by a suicide attacker near the bomb site in Kabul, Afghanistan. June 20, 2016.

At least 23 people died in two separate attacks in Afghanistan Monday morning, including 14 Nepalese security contractors who were in a minibus targeted by a suicide bomber in Kabul, the capital.

Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi confirmed the attack as well as the casualties on Twitter.

Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the suicide bomber had waited near the compound housing the security contractors and struck as the vehicle moved through early morning traffic.

Bus passengers and several people who were close to a market were also wounded in the attack.

Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault on social media through a spokesperson.

The blast was the first attack during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. 

An almost simultaneous attack in Chel Siton, Kabul targeted an MP, killing one person and injuring five others, including the politician.

A local news agency quoting a security official said a magnetic bomb was planted in the vehicle of MP Ataullah Faizani. 

No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

Another lawmaker, Sher Wali Wardak, was killed in a bomb blast near his house in Kabul on June 5. He was the brother of former education minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak. Three others also died in the explosion.

Afghan security forces inspect bloodstains on a minibus that was hit by suicide attacker at the site of an incident in Kabul, Afghanistan June 20, 2016. [Reuters]

Targeting a crowded market

Hours later, an attack on a market in the northeastern province of Badakhshan killed at least eight people and wounded 18, with the death toll set to rise. The bomb had been planted in a motorbike. Some social media users said the number of wounded was higher.

The provincial government spokesman Naveed Frotan said the casualties could rise.

The string of attacks is the latest in a recent surge of violence which highlights the challenges faced by the Afghan government. The escalation comes ten days after Washington announced an expansion of the US military's authority to conduct air stries against the Taliban.

Militants intensified attacks for the annual spring offensive. After former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a drone strike in May, the militants named Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader.


TRTWorld and agencies