51 killed in deadliest day for Kabul in years

  • 09/08/2015

Fifteen more fatalities have been confirmed following a barrage of bombings in Kabul, taking the toll to 51 in the deadliest day for the city in years.

It comes as Afghanistan continues to battle an escalating Taliban insurgency.

The explosions on Friday (local time), which devastated buildings and overwhelmed hospitals with hundreds of casualties, were the first major militant assaults on Kabul since the announcement of Taliban leader Mullah Omar's death.

The attacks underscored the country's volatile security situation amid a faltering peace process and the potency of the Taliban insurgency.

In the first attack, a powerful truck bomb tore through the centre of Kabul just after midnight on Friday, killing 15 civilians and wounding 240 others.

Less than 24 hours later, 27 cadets and civilians were killed when a suicide bomber dressed in police uniform blew himself up at the entrance of Kabul Police Academy.

Explosions and gunfire also erupted when Camp Integrity, a US special forces base in Kabul, came under attack late on Friday, killing nine people, including a NATO service member.

The Taliban distanced themselves from the truck bombing which struck near a Kabul military base - as they usually do in attacks that result in mass civilian casualties.

But they claimed responsibility for both other attacks, which marked a serious breach of security at a premier training institute for Afghan forces and a foreign coalition facility.

The three assaults made Friday the deadliest 24 hours in Kabul since December 2011, when more than 50 people were killed in a suicide attack during the Shi'ite holy day of Ashura.

"The Afghan people are resilient, but the suffering caused by (these attacks) in terms of civilian deaths, injuries, and the loss of family members, is extreme, irreversible and unjustifiable," the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.

The carnage highlighted the risk of a bloodier insurgency under a new Taliban leadership as Afghan forces face their first summer fighting season without the full support of NATO, which ended its combat mission in December.