May 2017 Kabul attack
|May 2017 Kabul attack|
|Part of War in Afghanistan (2001–present)|
|Location||Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul, Afghanistan|
|Date||31 May 2017 |
08:25 AM (UTC+04:30)
On 31 May 2017, a truck bomb exploded in a crowded intersection in Kabul, Afghanistan, near the German embassy at about 08:25 local time (03:55 GMT) during rush hour, killing over 150 and injuring 413, mostly civilians, and damaging several buildings in the embassy. The attack was the deadliest terror attack to take place in Kabul. The diplomatic quarter—in which the attack took place—is one of the most heavily fortified areas in the city, with 3-meter-tall (10 ft) blast walls, and access requires passing through several checkpoints. The explosion created a crater about 4.5 m (15 ft) wide and 3–4 m (10–13 ft) deep. Afghanistan's intelligence agency NDS claimed that the blast was planned by the Haqqani Network. Although no group has claimed responsibility, the Afghan Taliban are also a suspect but they have denied involvement and condemned the attack.
Referring to the wider conflict, in April the Taliban announced a new offensive, saying their main focus would be foreign forces. The United States has been considering sending additional troops to Afghanistan to help stabilize the country.
A vacuum truck was filled with about 1,500 kilograms (3,300 lb) of explosives and then detonated near the German embassy. The blast occurred at 08:25 local time, during rush hour, at one of the busiest areas of Kabul: near Zanbaq Square next to the German embassy. At least 90 people were killed and 400 injured. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani later updated this total, stating, "Over 150 entirely innocent Afghan sons and daughters were killed and more than three hundred were brought to hospital with burns, lacerations, and amputations." The blast was said to have done damage 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away. The blast created a crater over 9 m (30 ft) deep. The majority of the victims were civilians. Casualties included Mohammed Nazir a driver for BBC News, a staff member of Tolo News, a female German diplomat and an Afghan security guard for the German embassy.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Both the Taliban and Islamic State had claimed responsibility for earlier Kabul bombings in 2017, although the former issued a statement denying responsibility for the attack. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) claimed that the blast was planned by the Afghan insurgent group Haqqani Network, and reiterated allegations that those elements had support and presence across the border in Pakistan. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria rejected the Afghan allegations as "baseless".
- June anti-government protest
Anti-government protests broke out in response to the May 31 bombing, with protesters continuing their ongoing complaints about the lack of security provided by government forces in dealing with insurgents and terrorist attacks. They demanded removal of President Ashraf Ghani's shaky government and pushed for formation of an interim administration, at least partly for its failure to stop the attacks. The protesters chanted anti-American and anti-Pakistani slogans, demanded execution of militant inmates and accused the government of being too lenient in the fight against the insurgents. The June 2 protest became violent after some demonstrators continued moving forward after entreaties by police to stop several hundred meters away from the presidential palace, witnesses said. Security forces opened fire and used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. At least five demonstrators died and another 15 were wounded; the son of deputy head of Senate Salim Ezadyar, was one of those killed.
- Funeral bombing
On June 3, following the death of deputy head of Senate Salim Ezadyar's son at the Kabul anti-government protest the previous day, his funeral took place. This funeral proceeded as scheduled despite authorities warning that militants could target any gathering as they had done the year before. During the funeral, three consecutive explosions took place, killing at least 18 Afghans and wounding dozens more. No immediate claim of responsibility for the attack was made.
- Afghanistan: President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and called it "cowardly." The Afghanistan Cricket Board, in the wake of the attack, cancelled friendly matches it had scheduled with Pakistan to be played in Kabul and Lahore, in addition to other mutual commitments barring international fixtures.
- Canada: Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland stated that "the timing of this cowardly attack during the holy month of Ramadan was deliberate" and Canada "will never cease in our efforts to prevent violent extremism and to bring perpetrators of such violence to justice."
- Georgia: President Giorgi Margvelashvili issued a statement offering "condolences to the families of the killed ones" and saying he would "stand by the people and the government of Afghanistan."
- Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attack and stated that "terrorism has no borders." The German Federal Government stated they would temporarily suspend deportations of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan.
- India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated: "India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism. Forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated." Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said its embassy staff were safe.
- Indonesia: Speaking on behalf of the Indonesian Government, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi condemned the attack and stated that they wished for the quick recovery of the victims of the attack. The ministry later released an emergency hotline for relatives of Indonesians living in Kabul.
- Iran: Foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi condemned the attacks and stated that "Iran will always stand with its neighbor, Afghanistan, in hard times" and that "Terrorist attacks, anywhere and with any motive or in any shape, are shameful and must be condemned".
- Malaysia: The Government expressed its deep sorrow at the senseless act of violence and voiced its hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice quickly. The Malaysian government also extends its deepest condolences and sympathies to the Government of Afghanistan and to the bereaved families.
- Pakistan: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement extending "heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences" and condemning "terrorism in all its forms and manifestations" and stated that Pakistan firmly stands "with our Afghan brothers in this hour of grief and anguish."
|Wikinews has related news: Truck bomb kills at least 80 in Afghan capital city center|
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