Saturday, August 22

Blame it on the Terror Fairy: Taliban deny involvement in massive bomb attack on NATO convoy in Kabul that killed 3 Americans and 9 others and wounded more than 66 Afghan civilians

Darn tootin' the Taliban are trying to wash their hands of this one. No one else has taken responsibility for the blast, either.  

The bomb was allegedly meant for a NATO convoy but the wounded, at least 66, were virtually all Afghan civilians -- several standing outside a "private health clinic" as CNN terms it, but which The Washington Post report names as Shinozada Hospital. The bomb blast also struck a school bus. 

Here are both reports; as you can see the WaPo report is more detailed than the CNN one. 

But note the WaPo reporter making a disinction between the Taliban and Haqqani Network. The Haqqanis are a Taliban faction.   As to use of the term "insurgent" by a U.S. coalition spokesman quoted in WaPo to describe the attackers -- I think it's time for NATO to start calling a spade a spade, as the Afghan government has done. These are mercenaries, not insurgents. 

Also, Bloomberg adds this information:
The bomb damaged at least 10 vehicles, including a school minibus that was taking students home, and shattered windows in a crowded area of the Macroryan neighborhood, Ebadullah Karimi, a Kabul police spokesman said by phone.
So the school bus wasn't empty.

By Masoud Popalzai (reporting from Kabul) and Melissa Gray, CNN
Updated 2:27 PM ET, Sat August 22, 2015

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) At least 12 people were killed and 66 others wounded in a suicide attack in Afghanistan's capital Saturday, the spokesman for Kabul's police chief said.

Three American contractors with the NATO-led Resolute Support mission were killed, two of them as a result of their wounds, in what the mission described as an attack on their convoy from a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.

The police chief spokesman, Ebadullah Karimi, said the bomber blew up his explosives-laden Toyota Corolla in the Macrorayan area of Kabul on Saturday afternoon. The convoy of contractors and Afghan civilians was the target, he said.

The explosion jolted central Kabul and broke the windows of dozens of nearby apartments, Karimi said.

It happened during the afternoon rush hour in front of a private health clinic where dozens of people gather daily to see doctors.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, in an email to media, said the explosion was not the work of the Taliban.

At least one woman was among the dead. Five women and six children were wounded, said Wahidullah Mayar, a spokesman for the Afghan Health Ministry.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a statement strongly condemning the attack.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families who suffered as a result of this attack," the statement said. "The United States remains committed to assisting our Afghan partners in their efforts to ensure a peaceful future for Afghanistan."

Last week, a suicide bomber detonated his car at a checkpoint near the entrance to Kabul International Airport, killing four people and wounding 15 others, Afghan officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

On August 10, three separate attacks in Kabul killed more than 50 people, including 27 students at a police academy and one U.S. service member. The Taliban claimed responsibility for two of the attacks.

CNN's Masoud Popalzai reported from Kabul and Melissa Gray wrote from Atlanta. Kevin Bohn and Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.


August 22 at 3:41 PM
The Washington Post

KABUL — A massive car bomb targeting a U.S.-led NATO mission convoy killed at least 12 people, including three Virginia-based American civilian contractors, near a hospital during rush hour Saturday, the latest in a series of deadly attacks that have struck the capital in recent weeks.

The assault unfolded at 4:20 p.m. outside Shinozada Hospital in a middle-class enclave of the capital, a few miles from the heavily fortified American Embassy. The blast was so powerful that it could be heard in far-away neighborhoods and prompted the embassy to blare its emergency sirens. Nearby vehicles, including a school minivan, were severely mangled, some in flames.

In addition to those killed, as many as 66 people were wounded in the attack, said Wahidullah Mayar, a Health Ministry spokesman. In a statement, U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, a military spokesman for the NATO Resolute Support Mission, said that one of the civilian contractors was killed in the attack, and the other two later died of their wounds. Their identities were not released because their families had not yet been notified. 

The Americans worked for DynCorp International, a private military contractor based in McLean, Virginia. In a statement, the company said it extended “its thoughts and prayers to all involved and to their families and loved ones.” It declined to comment further.

“Instead of seizing an opportunity to embrace peace, insurgents have again chosen violence in an attempt to remain relevant,” Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, the U.S.-led coalition’s deputy chief of staff for communications, said in a statement. “Regardless of the target of their attacks, insurgents continue to inflict a heavy toll on innocent Afghan civilians.”

Saturday’s bombing was the latest in a wave of deadly attacks in the capital that have killed more than 50 people since the announcement by Afghan authorities of the death of the Taliban’s spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar. Since the U.S. and NATO forces officially ended their combat mission in December, the Taliban and other militant groups have intensified their attacks in many areas of the country.

On Saturday evening, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed in a statement that the group was not behind the bombing. But Mujahid had also previously denied Omar’s death. It’s possible, though, that other militant groups such as the Pakistani-based Haqqani network could have carried out the attack.

The U.S. Embassy condemned Saturday’s bombing in a statement, saying that “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families who suffered as a result of this attack.”
Mohammad Sharif contributed to this report.



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