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Pakistan condemns twin terrorist attacks in Kabul

01 May 2018
Pakistan condemns twin terrorist attacks in Kabul

A suicide bomber struck the Afghan capital outside the National Directorate of Security, killing at least 26 people.

General John Nicholson, the commander of USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan said: "We condemn in the strongest terms possible the cowardly attacks in Kabul today by two suicide bombers that killed and injured Afghan forces and innocent Afghan citizens, including Afghan journalists".

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the Kabul bombings where French news agency AFP's chief photographer Shah Marai was among the journalists killed.

The Islamic State affiliate that claimed Monday's twin bombings in Afghanistan has grown increasingly lethal in recent years even as the main group's self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria has been dismantled.

US Ambassador John Bass tweeted: "I condemn today's awful Kabul attack (and) reaffirm our commitment (to) stand with the Afghan people in their fight for peace (and) security across Afghanistan". "I am furthermore outraged by the attack which appears to have deliberately targeted journalists", he said in a statement.

Attaullah Khoghyani, spokesman for the regional government, revealed that the lieutenant governor and three other police officers were injured.

The second suicide bomber was on foot, a police official said, and mingled among the crowd of journalists who had gathered after the first blast. He was taken by locals to hospital, where he died of his injuries. The group named the first bomber as Qaqaa al-Kurdi and the second attacker as Khalil al-Qurshi.

"The attacks in Kabul and Kandahar caused numerous casualties among civilians, emergency responders, and school children", the United Nations chief said, according to the statement released by his spokesman.

The interior ministry confirmed the number of deaths and said 49 people had been wounded amid fears the toll could rise.

No group has yet said it carried out the attacks, but bombings in the Afghan capital are not uncommon.

Health Ministry officials said a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up in the Shash Darak area, home to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters and several embassies and foreign offices as well as the Afghan intelligence service. Altogether 25 people were killed, including Mr. Marai and eight other journalists.

The attacks, claimed by the Daesh, are the deadliest to have targeted the media in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The April 22 explosion occurred at the doorway of an identity card distribution and voter registration center in Kabul's Dasht-e-Barchi area and left at least 57 people dead and 119 others wounded. Afghan President Asharf Ghani condemned the twin blasts.

Kabul chief of police Dawood Amin said the area hit was quickly sealed off and authorities were investigating. "He showed his press card and stood among journalists before blowing himself up", Danish told Reuters. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan first emerged in Nangarhar a few years ago, then expanded its footprint across the country.

During the announcement the group vowed to target United States forces and "their intelligence agents" as well as their "internal supporters".