An explosion on Monday at a busy roundabout near the entrance to Kabul’s global airport that wounded at least seven people appears to have been caused by a suicide vehicle bomb, officials said.
Witnesses told local media that the likely target of the blast was a passing convoy belonging to global forces in Afghanistan. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Afghan brethren in their hour of grief”, it said.
A series of bombings in the city began on Friday with three blasts – one close to an army complex, another at a police academy and one at a US special forces base – killing a total of 51 people.
President Ashraf Ghani, who has made improving relations with Pakistan a priority on the grounds it may push the Taliban into peace talks, said that Islamabad had to act to cut off the bomb-making factories and suicide training camps being run from its side of the border.
“Afghanistan’s relationship with Pakistan is now in a state of fragility unless Pakistan helps facilitate the continued round of peace talks between Afghan and Taliban officials”.
The move also lays highlights the shortcomings of the multi-billion dollar US-led effort to develop self-reliant Afghan forces, suffering large daily casualties and struggling to rein in an ascendant insurgency on their own as the war expands on multiple fronts.
The attacker was trying to enter the airport compound Monday with an explosives-packed vehicle when he was stopped by police, said Najeeb Daneesh, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
“The “Amirul Momineen” (leader of the faithful) has been elected with a clear majority at a very sensitive time, and opposition to his election is aimed at sabotaging the system as there is no possible alternative”, Abdul Hayee Motmaen, a senior Taliban political adviser and former spokesman for Mullah Omar, told the Express Tribune.
The Afghan president urged Pakistan to imagine that the spate of attacks rocking Kabul over the weekend had occurred in Islamabad, carried out by groups with bases in Afghanistan: “Will you have looked at us as friends or enemies?”
Advisor to Prime Minster (PM) on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Friday that confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death has been verified via different sources including Afghan Taliban, reported Dunya News.
The violence was a stark reminder of the difficulty of reviving a stalled peace process, conveying a no-compromise message from the Taliban following last week’s revelation of Mullah Mohammad Omar’s death and a dispute over the leadership of the insurgency.
Experts say the growing number of attacks is an attempt by Mullah Mansour to boost his image among Taliban cadres and drive attention away from internal rifts over his leadership.
The Taleban distanced themselves from a second round of talks scheduled for the end of July, after the announcement of Omar’s death. He called out Pakistan’s relative silence with regard to the skyrocketing civilian toll of Taliban attacks. The UN research found that 1,592 civilians have been killed and 3,329 were injured in the first 6 months of 2015 in Afghanistan.
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