KABUL -- As the dust clears from a pair of Taliban bombings near the Afghan Ministry of Defence and the Abul Fazl Abbas Mosque in Kabul, officials and security analysts say that militants are running from the battlefield.
The Ministry of Defence is located in a busy neighbourhood of the capital, close to a market and a transportation hub. The September 5 attacks occurred in the afternoon as officials were leaving their duties for the day; they killed at least 35 people, including high ranking security officials, and injured more than 100 innocent civilians.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Muhajid claimed the twin bombings on his official Twitter feed.
Afghan officials condemned the bloodshed, saying the Taliban's attacks in the heart of the capital show their weakness against Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) on the battlefield.
"The enemies of Afghanistan have lost their ability to fight the security and defence forces of the country and thus attack highways, cities, mosques, schools and common people," President Ashraf Ghani said.
"The Afghan National Army is an icon for Afghans; they are our heroes, we are proud of them and our enemies are attacking them," Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told Salaam Times. "It is an attack on our nation and Afghan people will never forgive them.”
Hours later, near midnight, a car bomb detonated outside an international charity guesthouse near Kabul Bank, in the downtown Shahr-e-Naw neighbourhood, according to witnesses and media reports.
Afghan security forces rushed to the scene and battled with insurgents for hours, before killing all three gunmen.
Six people were wounded in the crossfire and 42 people were rescued unhurt from a residential compound.
"It is clear to everyone that the insurgents don’t have any ethnic or religious affiliation," Sediqqi said. "They are killing innocents, children and women, and they prove that with the attack on the hotel near the Abul Fazl Abbas Mosque in front of the Defence Ministry."
"The attack shows that the terrorists can't face Afghanistan defence and security forces face-to-face in the battlefields," the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement shortly after the first two blasts.
The MoD reaffirmed its determination to continue its struggle against the terrorists until they are eliminated.
Taliban contempt for human life
The attack shows the contempt the Taliban have for human life in Afghanistan and for those who commit themselves daily to defending the country, NATO officials said.
"The Taliban have no plan for the development of Afghanistan -- they are targeting civilians as well as those who defend their fellow Afghan citizens, [which] directly contradicts the Taliban's earlier promise to protect the civilian population and does nothing to advance the cause of peace," the NATO official said.
Pakistan also strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Kabul, offering condolences and prayers for the victims and their families.
"We extend our profound condolences to the government and the people of Afghanistan and the families of those who lost their loved ones in this brutal terrorist attack," a statement from the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul said.
The statement also reiterated Pakistan's condemnation of terrorism in all forms.
Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi called the incident an attack on the whole Afghan nation.
"Now it is clear to all that Taliban don't have the ability to face Afghan soldiers and they are attacking among the innocent people," she told Salaam Times.
Afghan Ulema Council chairman Maulvi Qayamuddin Kashaf also condemned the attack, saying the Afghan National Army are brave soldiers and the only hope for their families.