Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called on Pakistan to crack down on Taliban insurgents after a suicide auto bomb attack near the worldwide airport in Kabul killed five people.
Pakistan-brokered attempts to facilitate talks between warring parties were shelved two weeks ago after the revelation that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years.
Since coming to power last year Ghani has courted the Pakistanis, expending substantial domestic political capital in the process, in hopes Islamabad will persuade the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.
The president, however, noted that “there is no peace with those who declared war against us from Pakistan“. “Having been the biggest victim of terrorism itself…”
“These attacks demonstrate an extreme level of atrocity by terrorists against innocent and defenseless civilians”, said the Ministry of the Interior of Afghanistan.
An Afghan policeman inspects a damaged vehicle at the site of a auto bomb blast at the entrance gate to Kabul airport.
An AFP photographer saw pieces of charred flesh littered around the checkpoint, where passengers undergo the first round of body checks before entering the airport.
According to Tolo News, Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack and confirmed their target was a convoy of armoured vehicles apparently transporting government officials. The eight Afghans were working for NATO’s Resolute Support mission. That evening, suicide attacks on a police academy and a base used by US special forces killed more than 30 police and security contractors, besides an American soldier. The disclosure of his death, later confirmed by the Taliban, triggered an internal succession dispute and raised questions about the future direction of the insurgency.
He said all flights were delayed for at least four to five hours, he said.
He said the wounded had been taken to hospital but there was no word on fatalities.
On Monday, Ghani appeared to take a step back on the peace talks. They suggest new Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour intends to send a message that there will be no letup in the insurgency.
“The insurgents carry out such attacks targeting civilians in order to attract the attention of the world, and to hide their failures on the battleground”, said Brigadier General Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.
The United Nations published a study last week that showed civilian casualties in the war-torn country have hit a record-high in the first six months of 2015.
Such infighting threatens not only further violence, but also the possibility that the fragile peace process, that was suspended last week by the Taliban after the announcement of Omar’s death, could derail completely. Omar’s death dealt a severe blow to the Taliban, removing a unified figure at a time that the group is riddled with factions – especially over the prospect of talks with the Afghan government.