The wave of bombings that hit Camp Integrity, a little known facility near the Kabul Airport, also killed eight Afghan security guards and left many others wounded.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said his group claimed responsibility for the attack on the police academy. The terrorist group chose Mullah Akhtar Mansour as his successor and Friday’s attacks were the first claimed by the Taliban under his leadership.
That prompted the US to declare war on the Taliban and overthrow its regime with the help of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.
One Western security source said on Friday that insurgents attacked Camp Integrity with a auto bomb and then fighters followed up with gunfire.
Earlier Friday, a truck packed with explosives detonated near an army base in the neighbourhood of Shah Shaheed, rattling homes across the city, ripping off the facades of buildings and leaving scattered piles of rubble.
President Ashraf Ghani threatened a rapid and forceful response, saying the attack was aimed at diverting public attention from the Taliban’s leadership struggle but that it would not sway his determination to carry on with efforts to bring peace to the country.
Ruttig said Mansour could be sending a message of resolve, with the latest Kabul attacks, to Taliban rank and file and to the Afghan government.
It is relatively unusual for U.S. troops to be killed or injured in Afghanistan, as Afghan police and soldiers are now doing most of the fighting.
People wounded in Friday’s attacks were pouring into city hospitals, officials said, with reports emerging of blood shortages and urgent appeals for donors circulating on social media. No group immediately claimed responsibility for either of the attacks, which come as the Taliban steps up their summer offensive despite a bitter power transition within the militant movement.
One of the many civilian victims injured in what was a devastating day of attacks in the Afghan capital. “A suicide bomber on foot blew himself up near the academy”, said deputy interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish.
What makes this very worrisome is that the Taliban may fight their internal battles by trying to outdo one another in civilian body counts.
Following the announcement, the Taliban postponed a second round of reconciliation talks with Afghan government representatives scheduled to take place in the Pakistani hill town Murree.
US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in December, but a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations. The United Nations’ human rights office said insurgents were responsible for 70 percent of civilian casualties, with more than half that number caused by suicide bombings. “Peace negotiators need someone to talk to”, he said.
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