A car bomb targeting a convoy carrying civilians contracted by NATO killed 12 people outside a hospital on a busy Kabul street on Saturday (August 22) part of a wave of attacks in the capital since news broke last month of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Scores were injured in the suicide attack and the powerful blast destroyed several vehicles, including a school van and an armoured pick-up truck left twisted and blackened, with another car in flames. Paramedics carried away casualties on stretchers.
One of the wounded being treated in hospital for leg injuries, Gul Istan, said that he was near the Shinozada private hospital when the blast occurred.
“I become unconscious and didn’t know what happened to me,” said Gul Istan.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack and it appears no other group has yet made a claim.
Minutes after the explosion ripped through the residential street, British and U.S. soldiers arrived at the scene in armoured vehicles. Several armed security contractors also pulled up and ran to the blast site.
Security sources said the contractors worked for DynCorp International.
“As a result of today’s attack, five of our citizens were martyred and 38 others were wounded, some of them are in critical conditions. Also four foreign civilian workers who were in a vehicle were also killed or wounded in this attack,” Police Chief of Kabul, General Abdul Rahman Rahimi said, mentioning the death toll as it stood at the time.
DynCorp International, that offers a range of services to the NATO mission and the Afghan military including training and security, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bombings have increased in the capital since the government and the Taliban in July confirmed that Mullah Omar had died two years ago. Some analysts say the insurgents are trying to show they remain potent.
The Taliban is fighting to overthrow the foreign-backed government, expel foreign forces from Afghanistan and impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The violence has put paid to hopes that new leader Mullah Mansour would quickly return the insurgents to the negotiating table. Instead he seems set on consolidating his position in the group that ruled for six years until the 2001 U.S. invasion.
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