Conflicts & War

Bombings in Afghan capital leave 12 dead

Kabul, Jun 1 (EFE).- At least 12 people were killed and 13 others wounded Tuesday when explosive devices known as sticky bombs destroyed two passenger vans in an area of Kabul populated largely by members of the Hazara ethnic minority, Afghan authorities said.

The first blast took place at around 7:15 pm, the interior ministry said in a statement.

“Seven people were martyred and nine others were injured,” deputy interior ministry spokesman Ahmad Zia told Efe.

Exactly an hour later, a second van was blown up in another part of the same neighborhood, killing five people and wounding four others.

The casualty figures could rise in the coming hours, Zia said, who stressed that all of the victims were civilians on their way home from work.

A sticky bomb, which can be assembled for the equivalent of $25, usually consists of a small box of explosives with a magnet and a mobile phone that is used to detonate the device remotely.

The mainly Shiite Hazara are frequently targeted by Islamic State, who regard all non-Sunni Muslims as apostates. Shias of all ethnic backgrounds represent around a fifth of Afghanistan’s 36 million inhabitants.

Three weeks ago, 85 people, most of them adolescents, were killed and 147 others hurt in a triple-bombing outside a secondary school for girls in the same part of Kabul.

While the Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the May 8 massacre, the insurgents denied any responsibility and pointed the finger at Islamic State.

Twenty-four people perished last October in a bombing at another school in the Hazara district, where mosques and banquet halls have also been targeted.

Violence has surged in recent weeks in Afghanistan, especially since May 1, the date when all US and NATO forces were supposed to have been out of Afghanistan under the agreement the Taliban signed last year with the then-president of the United States, Donald Trump.

The current president, Joe Biden, announced in April that he was postponing the target date for full withdrawal of US forces until Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington by al-Qaeda militants under the command of Osama bin Laden, then living in Afghanistan. EFE bks-mt/dr

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