Toll from Kabul attack rises to 64

Published April 21, 2016
Security forces members keep watch at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. ─ Reuters
Security forces members keep watch at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. ─ Reuters
Afghan security forces carry an injured security personnel after a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. ─ Reuters
Afghan security forces carry an injured security personnel after a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan April 19, 2016. ─ Reuters

KABUL: The death toll from a Taliban attack in Kabul has more than doubled to 64, officials said on Wednesday, in the deadliest assault on the Afghan capital since the militants were toppled from power in 2001.

The brazen attack on Tuesday on a security services office in the heart of Kabul is seen as the opening salvo in this year’s Taliban spring offensive, launched last week.

A powerful truck bomb tore through central Kabul and a fierce gunfight broke out, sending clouds of smoke billowing into the sky and rattling windows several kilometres away.

“It is with regret that I announce that 64 people were killed and 347 others wounded in yesterday’s Kabul attack,” interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told reporters. “Most of them are civilians.”

The ministry had earlier put the death toll at 30.

The Taliban claimed three “martyrdom seekers” carried out an attack on the National Directorate of Security, the country’s main spy agency. One of them, they said, managed to slip away alive.

Afghan authorities insisted the building, used by NDS in the past, housed an elite security agency charged with protecting top government officials.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2016

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