Gunmen Attack Afghan Spy Agency Compound In Kabul

Frederick Owens
August 17, 2018

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the bombing but officials blame the Islamic State group, which considers Shiites to be heretics and frequently targets them, attacking their mosques, schools and cultural centers.

Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and low morale, have taken staggering losses since US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat forces pulled out at the end of 2014.

With parliamentary elections due on October 20, authorities had been bracing for more attacks in Kabul and other cities, but even so, the scale of the violence has come as a shock to a government facing bitter criticism over its handling of the war. UNICEF continues to call on all parties to the conflict to adhere to and respect humanitarian principles, and ensure the safety and protection of all children.

Facebook user Ramazan Ali Ramazan described the victims as an "asset" to the country.

Loved ones and families of the dead held a mass funeral Thursday where mourners wept and clutched the wooden coffins.

An industrial-sized digger helped soften the arid ground for the fresh graves as men removed rocks from the soil with pickaxes.

Afghan authorities have revised down the death toll from a suicide bomb attack on an educational centre in Kabul to 34 from 48. The assault on Ghazni was widely seen as a show of force ahead of possible peace talks with the US, which has been at war in Afghanistan for almost 17 years. "They are killing our educated people and every day they are killing us".

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Kandahar was the religious heartland of the Taliban during their five-year rule that ended with the 2001 invasion by USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The brief respite sparked hopes the truce could clear the way for talks to end the almost 17-year-old conflict.

A suicide bombing in Kabul on Wednesday killed dozens of teenagers studying for university entrance exams at an educational center in a Shiite neighborhood, according to wire reports.

"They were facing severe shortages of food and drinking water as the power supply was also suspended two days ago", a Taliban commander, who declined to be identified, said by telephone.

Life was gradually returning to normal Wednesday in parts of the eastern city of Ghazni after a massive, days-long Taliban attack, though sporadic gunbattles was still underway in some neighborhoods. After the Taliban essentially destroyed the province, the fighting had eased.

Numerous dead were security forces, he said, adding that many more had been injured, as fighting continued despite government and U.S. assurances that the assault had failed.

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