Asia Pacific

Series of explosions rock Afghan capital

A series of explosions were reported in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Wednesday, May 9 as police and counter-terrorism forces fought coordinated attacks in two areas of the city.

The first blast happened in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of district 13 in the western part of the city. Another attack was reported near the district police headquarters. As many as three explosions were heard in PD13 followed by gunfire, according to journalists’ posts on social media.

According to a Wall Street Journal reporter, one of the explosions was caused by a suicide bomber who blew himself up on a main footpath, but nobody was injured.

Police spokesperson Hashmatullah Estanakzai confirmed an explosion in front of the police headquarters, AFP reported.

Another explosion went off in the Shah-e-Naw area of PD10 a short while later, according to Tolo News, which said an attack was underway. The attackers holed up in a building across the street from the Asian Development Bank.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack, which ended after seven hours.

Fighting continued between security forces and the attackers, the Ministry of Interior said, and multiple explosions were reported throughout the day.

Voice of America and Tolo reported that at least five people were killed and 16 wounded. According to a police spokesperson, two police officers are among the dead.

Update, May 10: The Afghan health ministry said on Thursday that 10 people were killed in the attacks and 23 others wounded.

The Taliban said the attack on the police station in PD10 was in retaliation for an Afghan Air Force assault in Kunduz province that killed and wounded at least 107 people, mostly children, last month.

“It was revenge for the perpetrators and organizers of that attack who used this center to plan,” the Taliban said in a statement.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in PD13. ISIS last claimed a double suicide bombing in Kabul on April 30 that killed at least 25 people, including nine journalists, and wounded 45 others.

Islamic State – Khorasan Province (known as ISKP, IS-K and ISIS-K) first emerged in Afghanistan in 2014 as NATO combat troops withdrew from the country and handed over responsibility to Afghan security forces. After a series of deadly attacks last year, the group had been relatively quiet over the last month before setting its sights on election centers as Afghanistan prepares to vote this summer.

The National Directorate of Security said on Wednesday afternoon that it had proof the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba organization and Haqqani network were responsible for the attack.

This story was updated on May 10 to include the death toll and the Taliban statement.

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