Huge blast at Kabul airport

  • 10/08/2015
Heavy casualties are expected (Reuters)
Heavy casualties are expected (Reuters)

By Usman Sharifi

At least five people have been killed in a suicide car bomb attack near the entrance of Kabul's international airport.

The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the Monday blast (local time), have stepped up attacks in Afghanistan amid a bitter leadership transition following the announcement of the death of commander Mullah Omar.

Observers say the upsurge in violence represents a bid by new head Mullah Akhtar Mansour to distract attention from the crisis as planned peace talks falter.

"The explosion occurred at the first checkpoint of Kabul airport," said deputy Kabul police chief Sayed Gul Agha Rouhani.

Five civilians were killed and 16 wounded including children, said Kabul police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi.

The toll was confirmed by Kabul CID chief Fraidoon Obaidi, who said the explosion was caused by a suicide car bomb.

Smoke billowed from the scene of the explosion, which occurred during the busy lunchtime period.

Ambulances with wailing sirens rushed to the area and were seen removing bodies from the area, which was strewn with the twisted and mangled remains of vehicles.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said two vehicles belonging to foreign coalition forces were the target of the attack.

The attack follows a barrage of deadly bombings in the Afghan capital on Friday, which struck close to an army complex, a police academy and a US special forces base and killed at least 51 people.

They were the first major attacks since Mullah Akhtar Mansour was named as the new Taliban chief in an acrimonious power transition after the insurgents confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar.

Some top leaders of the Islamist insurgency, including Omar's son and brother, have refused to pledge allegiance to Mansour, saying the process to select him was rushed and even biased.