14 Nepali guards among 25 killed in Afghanistan attacks

Published: June 20, 2016
Nine other people were wounded, including five Nepalese and four Afghans, ministry says. PHOTO: REUTERS

Nine other people were wounded, including five Nepalese and four Afghans, ministry says. PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL: A busload of Nepali security guards were among 25 people killed in a string of bombings across Afghanistan on Monday, days after Washington expanded the US military’s authority to strike the Taliban.

A Taliban spokesman on Twitter claimed the first attack, which killed 14 Nepali security guards working for the Canadian Embassy in Kabul in a massive blast that left their yellow minibus spattered with blood.

However Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan released a competing claim in which they named and pictured the alleged bomber, according to the SITE monitoring group, in what would be their most significant attack in the country.

An Afghan intelligence source said officials were investigating the IS claim, which was flatly denied by the Taliban.

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The Taliban also claimed a second, smaller blast in south Kabul Monday that the interior ministry said killed one person.

The bombings were followed hours later by an attack on a market in the remote northeastern province of Badakhshan that authorities said killed at least 10 people, with the death toll set to rise.

Afghan firefighter wash a road at the site of a suicide attack to have hit a minibus carrying foreign security guards in Kabul on June 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

The wave of violence comes 10 days after Washington announced an expansion of the US military’s authority to conduct air strikes against the Taliban, a significant boost for Afghan forces who have limited close air-support capacities.

Police said the attack on the Nepali guards was carried out by a suicide bomber on foot early Monday on a main road leading east out of the capital towards the city of Jalalabad.

Fourteen Nepali nationals were killed, the interior ministry said in a statement, with nine wounded — five Nepali citizens and four Afghans.

Afghanistan says Kabul attack was planned by Haqqani network in Pakistan

The Canadian embassy in Afghanistan confirmed the “cowardly” attack in a tweet, and said that it had employed the guards.

The explosion could be heard across Kabul and a plume of smoke seen above the site of the blast on the Jalalabad road, a main route housing many foreign compounds and military facilities.

Afghan residents walk after security forces blocked a road at the site of a suicide attack to have hit a minibus carrying foreign security guards in Kabul on June 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

More than two dozen ambulances rushed to the scene, an AFP journalist said, with police blocking off the road. The blast also shattered the windows of nearby shops.

Nepal’s prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli said his country “strongly condemns” the killings.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack on social media, saying it was “against the forces of aggression” in Afghanistan.

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The Islamic State claim, which SITE said was released on Twitter and Telegram, named the bomber as Irfanullah Ahmed and pictured him armed and dressed in combat fatigues in front of an IS flag.

The Taliban poured scorn on the IS claim.

“They neither have the capability to carry out attacks in Kabul, and nor are they supported by people. Today’s attack was carried out by one of our mujahideen, and Daesh claiming they did it, is baseless and hollow,” Mujahid told AFP by phone, using an alternate name for IS.

The Kabul blasts were followed hours later by a motorcycle bomb in a crowded market in the Keshim district of Badakhshan that local officials said killed at least ten people and wounded 40.

The UN mission in Afghanistan said five children were among the dead as it condemned the attack, for which no one has yet claimed responsibility.

Mountainous Badakhshan had been relatively peaceful until the Taliban briefly captured Kunduz city last year, with insecurity spreading into other northeastern provinces.

The resurgent Taliban have been fighting against the Western-backed Kabul government since they were ousted from power by a US-led invasion in late 2001.

They have been gaining ground all around the country but IS are also making inroads into Afghanistan, particularly in the east, where they are challenging the Taliban on their own turf.

The US and NATO combat mission in Afghanistan ended in December 2014. US forces have been in an advisory role since then, while carrying out counterterrorism missions against the IS group and remnants of Al-Qaeda.

US forces had only been authorised to hit Taliban targets for defensive reasons, or to protect Afghan soldiers.

But the recent changes mean US troops can now work more closely with local fighters in striking the Taliban, who have demanded the departure of all foreign forces.

Also on Monday, two crucial posts that have sat vacant for months were filled, with Afghan lawmakers naming senior defence ministry official Abdullah Habibi as the new defence minister and Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, a former top peace negotiator, as head of the intelligence agency.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Hakim Afghani
    Jun 20, 2016 - 8:33AM

    Again Good Taliban from Pakistan. What a shame and still Sartaj Aziz don’t want to take action against them in Quetta nor in Peshawar.Recommend

  • B
    Jun 20, 2016 - 11:12AM

    Thanks Pakistan for killing Muslim brothers even during Ramadan.Recommend

  • Sami Khan
    Jun 20, 2016 - 12:02PM

    No jobs for local Afghans but people from Nepalese got jobs there.Recommend

    Jun 20, 2016 - 12:41PM

    Afghans always blame Pakistan for any attack in their country, why not blame Pakistan for your very own existence. You pathetic.

    Sorry to say, but check your history if you have peace in past, and it will still go on in future.Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    Jun 20, 2016 - 12:46PM

    @Sami Khan:
    Do you have problem with that?
    Just stop sending your Good Taliban to Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Javaid
    Jun 20, 2016 - 1:48PM

    Hakim afghani, i do not want to use substandard words but you deserve it. Is your father in pakistan who tells you in advance?Recommend

  • Sami Khan
    Jun 20, 2016 - 2:32PM

    @Hakim Afghani:
    yes i have problem with that because all poor Afghans come to Pakistan for work. While Indians and Nepalese getting jobs in Afghanistan. Its not Pakistan’s responsibility to feed you.Recommend

  • Bilal
    Jun 20, 2016 - 2:35PM

    It is absolutely laughable to see some very zesty Afghan gents here pile driving their favorite statement “Pakistan did it”. So basically, every wondrous mess you create we are responsible for, and every tally of bodies we have, again we are responsible for that? If your logic holds sway then stop crying and kindly be accountable for the 400,000 Pakistanis who have lost lives owing to your doing. Stop blaming us and put your own house in order, FOR ONCE! Kindly take the hordes of refugees alongwith you that you have garlanded this “terrible Pakistani” nation with. Hypocrites!Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    Jun 20, 2016 - 3:56PM

    @Sami Khan:
    There are 1000s of Pakistanis working across Afghanistan also and we have no problem who works where. Why that would be a problem for Afghans? Who ever deserves a job will get it any way. Your thinking is very very wrong…

    Stop acting like an idiot and be positive in life for a while.Recommend

  • Romm
    Jun 20, 2016 - 9:14PM

    @Hakim Afghani:
    We wanted to install Gate at Torkham border but Afghans love being attacked by Talibans Moving unchecked to and from Pakistan. Recommend

  • hoshiar singh gill
    Jun 20, 2016 - 11:29PM

    When will Asian countries wake up and compete with the World in all spheres which are neglected while this kind of mindless carnage goes on that is taking our continent back into dark ages while the world is moving ahead in great strides! Eterna Lord give us wisdom!Recommend

  • Kushal
    Jun 20, 2016 - 11:45PM

    @Hakim Afghani:
    U are a true Afghan. However your expectation of Pakistanis to be rational is very very misplaced.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 21, 2016 - 12:51AM

    Afghanistan is one of the poorest country of the world. Over 50% of people are jobless but security guards are hired from outside. It means Afghans don’t trust each other or they have become very lazy and developed habit on living on others money. Shame on government and people of Afghanistan. Recommend

  • Javaid
    Jun 21, 2016 - 3:47AM

    @ Hoshiar sing, please convey your message to your own leaders who are root cause. Recommend

  • sid
    Jun 21, 2016 - 4:31AM

    Peace without terrorist containment at the borders? Hardly likely.Recommend

  • sid
    Jun 21, 2016 - 4:36AM

    @Hakim Afghani:
    Kabul embassies can’t find a dozen BRAVE, HONEST and LOYAL Afghans, so they had to hire the valiant Nepalis. Speaks volumes.Recommend

  • Marco
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:05AM

    @Bilal: Stop interfering in their affairs and stop your Intelligence agencies from sending Taliban to Afghanistan and this won’t happen. Pakistan is unfortunately the cause of all this mess and now running away from taking responsibility. If Afghanistan doesn’t find peace, neither will Pakistan.Recommend

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