Terrorism

Car bomb targeting Afghan lawmaker kills and wounds scores of civilians

Salaam Times and AFP

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Damaged cars are seen at the site of an attack in Kabul on December 20. A car bomb targeting an Afghan lawmaker killed nine people and wounded 20, all civilians, officials said. [Zakeria HASHIMI / AFP]

KABUL -- A car bomb targeting an Afghan lawmaker killed nine people and wounded 20 in Kabul on Sunday (December 20), the latest attack to rock Afghanistan despite the Taliban and government engaging in peace talks.

The bombing targeted parliamentarian Khan Mohammad Wardak, who was injured, officials said.

"Nine people were killed and 20 others were wounded by the car bomb," Interior Affairs Minister Masood Andarabi told reporters, adding that all the casualties were civilians.

Women and children were among those wounded by the "terrorist attack", said the ministry in a separate statement.

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Afghans December 18 at a hospital in Ghazni Province carry the body of a bombing victim. At least 15 children were killed when a motorbike laden with explosives blew up near a religious gathering in the province, officials said. [STR / AFP]

The car bomb detonated in western Kabul, often a target of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), said a security source.

Western Kabul has a high concentration of predominantly Shia Hazaras, a frequent target of ISIS.

"It was a powerful explosion that has caused a lot of damage to houses in the vicinity," the source said.

Television footage showed at least two cars on fire, with plumes of thick black smoke billowing into the sky.

The explosion occurred when Wardak was travelling in his convoy, and five of his bodyguards were among the wounded, said a Wardak aide.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the bombing, blaming "the enemies of Afghanistan".

"Terrorist attacks on civilian targets and facilities will endanger the opportunity for peace," he said.

No group has so far claimed responsibility, and the Taliban denied involvement.

String of attacks

Later on December 20, a roadside bomb in western Kabul killed one civilian, police said, adding that authorities dismantled two other bombs in the area.

Kabul has seen a spate of targeted assassinations of prominent figures in recent months, including top officials, journalists, clerics, politicians and rights activists.

Last week Kabul Province Deputy Governor Mahbobullah Mohebi was killed when a bomb attached to his vehicle detonated while he was on his way to work. His secretary, who was travelling with him, was killed too, and two bodyguards were wounded.

On December 10, female news anchor and activist Malalai Maiwand was fatally shot in Jalalabad, the second Afghan journalist to be murdered in less than a month.

Azadi Radio reporter Aliyas Dayee was killed November 12 in a car bombing in Lashkargah, Helmand Province. Dayee had previously been threatened by the Taliban, said Human Rights Watch.

Yama Siawash, a former television presenter in Kabul, was killed in a similar car bombing near his home earlier in November.

No group so far has claimed those murders.

Attacks against civilians

Ghani chose Vice President Amrullah Saleh, a strong opponent of the Taliban, in October to lead a task force to curb the violence in Kabul.

Saleh's programme was popular with residents of the capital, which prompted the Taliban to launch new attacks in an attempt to discredit him, said Sayed Naser Musawi, an independent Kabul-based political analyst.

The December 20 car bomb comes just two days after 15 children were killed and many more wounded when a motorbike laden with explosives blew up near a religious gathering in a remote part of Ghazni Province, officials said, blaming the Taliban.

The Taliban denied involvement.

Despite ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, violence has surged across several provinces this year.

Attacks by the Taliban have killed almost 500 civilians and wounded more than 1,000 others over just the past three months, the Interior Affairs Ministry said Saturday (December 19).

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad condemned the "high level of violence" in a series of tweets after the Ghazni blast.

"We condemn all those who authorise and carry out such attacks across Afghanistan, creating terror and bloodshed," he said.

"We call for all sides to reduce violence and move quickly to a ceasefire."

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The main cause for the situation is the leaders of the government. They do not care about the people's lives. If a thousand people are killed in the country every day, still they will not worry. Two days ago, there was the wedding of the son of Amrullah Saleh, the First Vice President. They have blocked all the roads in Kabul and created disturbance for the people. People had their patients on their backs and were carrying them to hospitals. Dozens of patients may have died as a result of traffic jams. Why should a government official hold their wedding party so glorious as to create disturbance for the citizens of the capital? They could organize a very small wedding party. When they have threat and the enemy is lurking for them every day, they had to invite their very close relatives and hold a very small wedding party. By God, it is a pity that such stupid people have become leaders of our government. All the Afghan government leaders are stupid. Hundreds of people are killed in the country every day, but they appear in the media and laugh; they don’t seem concerned.

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In the past few months, Kabul and some major provinces of the country have frequently witnessed terrorist explosions, roadside and magnetic bomb explosions, which have left hundreds of people dead and injured. The Afghan government and especially the security institutions must make a regular security plan in the cities of Afghanistan, especially Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has turned into a big hell for the people of this country and people don’t know what to do to stay safe. For a year now, people also have not been able to flee the country due to the outbreak of the corona virus and the closure of flights. If corona did not spread, I am sure that half of the population of Afghanistan would have left the country and taken refuge in European countries. Every day, the citizens of Kabul wake up and expect rockets, explosions and bombings. People are not safe even at their homes. Every moment they expect rocket to hit.

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Taliban and other anti-government groups must stop their bombings and explosions in the cities of the country, as poor and destitute civilians are killed in most of these explosions. Explosions in the cities and killing of the civilians will spark people’s hatred and all of the people will mobilize against the Taliban. Therefore, people want Taliban to stop killing of the civilians. During their twenty years of war, most of the civilians have been killed. They must end their enmity with the civilian population. It has been four months since the group began peace talks with the Afghan government, but still defenseless civilians are killed every day in Afghanistan. As a result of the war between the Taliban and the Afghan government, all the people have been ruined. How long should the war and killing continue?

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Speaking with BBC, Iran's foreign affairs minister Jawad Zarif said that Taliban is a terrorist group. If these words of Zarif and then the support of its Revolutionary Guards and Iran's intelligence support with Taliban are compared, it means that Iran has been supporting a terrorist group. Similarly, a large number of Pakistani military and intelligence authorities including General Musharraf have repeatedly said that they are supporting Taliban in Afghanistan, while their religious scholars shout for supporting the Afghan Taliban in their mosques every day. It is at a time when Taliban have been killing the people, destroying roads, and demolishing national facilities in Afghanistan. If the International Community cordially want, they can drag the two evil countries (Pakistan and Iran) to the international court and bring them to justice for being war criminals.

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