At least 95 people have been killed in an attack in an area that hosts the EU’s headquarters in Afghanistan. An Afghan security expert told DW that the Taliban-claimed assault was in response to the US’s new strategy.
At least 95 people have been killed and 158 others wounded by a bomb attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul, according to the Health Ministry.
The attack happened near the old Interior Ministry building in an area known for housing the European Union’s headquarters in Afghanistan and other diplomatic missions, demonstrating how militant groups can reach even secure areas of the capital.
- A suicide bomber filled an ambulance with explosives and detonated them upon arriving at a police checkpoint.
- Aid workers described the attack as a “massacre.”
- The Taliban issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, saying it had targeted a police convoy in the area.
- Last week, the militant group laid siege to the Intercontinental Hotel, killing 20 people, including 14 foreign nationals.
Interior Ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi told the AFP news agency: “The suicide bomber used an ambulance to pass through the checkpoints. He passed through the first checkpoint saying he was taking a patient to Jamuriate hospital, and at the second checkpoint he was recognized and blew his explosive-laden car.”
Afghan security expert Brigadier General AD Mohammed Arif told DW: “Normally, the Taliban start their offensive after winter, but they have now brought this offensive forward in response to the US’s new Afghanistan strategy. They want to show they are far from being defeated.”
Read more: The Afghan security problem
An EU official said the bloc’s delegation to Afghanistan was in a designated “safe room,” adding that the officials did not suffer any casualties.
Why does the Taliban target security forces: The Taliban launched an insurgency in the wake of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, seeking to push out international forces and topple the Western-backed government.
What happens next: Authorities are likely to open a probe into the attack and bolster security in the area, which hosts several embassies and the EU’s headquarters in Kabul.
ls/rc (AP, dpa, Reuters)