Bomb Blasts Kill 24 in Afghanistan
by Ayaz Gul June 20, 2016
Separate bomb explosions in Afghanistan Monday morning killed at least 24 people and wounded around 40 others.
The deadliest attack occurred in Kabul when a suicide bomber approached a minibus on foot and set off explosives.
The Afghan Interior Ministry says the explosion left 14 people dead and eight wounded. The Taliban swiftly claimed responsibility.
Those killed were Nepalese security guards who were part of a company looking after the security of the Canadian Embassy in Kabul. Five Nepalese nationals on board the bus were also wounded along with four Afghans.
Hours later, a roadside bomb planted by insurgents went off in another part of the city in which a provincial council member was wounded along with his two bodyguards.
Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has condemned the violence as an "act of terror and intimidation."
NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Kabul, in similar comments, said, "Horrific attacks like these show that, despite the Taliban's promises, they have a complete disregard for the lives of innocent civilians."
Elsewhere, in northeastern Badakhshan province, officials said at least 10 people were killed and more than 30 others wounded when an improvised explosive device planted in a busy market was detonated.
The blast killed mostly vendors and shopkeepers in the Keshm district during the morning rush hours, district chief Abdul Salam Payman told VOA. He said children were among the victims.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, and a Taliban spokesman said in a statement it had nothing to do with the incident.
New defense minister
The deadly bombings came on a day when the Afghan parliament gave its approval to President Ashraf Ghani's nominees for the posts of defense minister and head of intelligence.
General Abdullah Khan Habibi was confirmed by lawmakers as the new defense minister while Masoom Stanekzai was confirmed as the head of the National Directorate of Security, or NDS.
The Afghan government until now had been under severe criticism for allowing caretakers to run the key security institutions despite deteriorating national security and a resilient Taliban insurgency.
In an assessment submitted to Congress this month, the U.S. Defense Department noted the security situation in Afghanistan continues to be dominated by a resilient insurgency.
"The Afghan government retains control of Kabul, major transit routes, provincial capitals, and a vast majority of district centers, while the Taliban continue to contest district centers in the southern province of Helmand and in various provinces in the east and southwest," it said.
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