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Tuesday, June 6

Death toll now 150+ in 5/31 Kabul bombing. MoI accuses ISI of supplying explosives

Before I turn to today's news about the bombing, the following quote is from a CNN report on May 31, updated at 9:19pm U.S. Eastern time:
Capt. Bill Salvin, a US military spokesman in Kabul, told CNN that a checkpoint had prevented the truck getting closer into the diplomatic quarter.
I think the checkpoint is what Afghan President Ghani is referring to today when he said that 13 Afghan policemen had given their lives to stop the truck. From that, it seems the bomber got as near to the diplomatic zone as he could before detonating. But that would mean the German embassy, although it was hit hard by the explosion, wasn't necessarily the target of the attack. 

Ghani Revises Death Toll To Over 150 In Truck Bombing
May 6, 2017 - 12:21 local time
TOLONews [Afghanistan]
President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday revised the death toll from Wednesday’s deadly truck bombing, and put the total killed at over 150.
Speaking at the start of the Kabul Process peace meeting in the capital, Ghani said: “Six days ago, thirteen brave Afghan policemen gave their lives to stop a sewerage truck packed with military grade explosives from entering the diplomatic compound, a direct violation of Geneva accords.
“The massive blast tore through the heart of Kabul. But thanks to their unflinching sacrifice, nobody from the diplomatic community was killed.
“But over 150 entirely innocent Afghan sons and daughters were killed and more than 300 were brought to hospital with burns, lacerations, and amputations,” he said.
[...]
ISI Provided Haqqani With Explosives for Kabul Bombing: MoI
By Gulabuddin Ghubar
May 5, 2017 - 7:14 pm  - Edited: 8:28 pm
TOLONews
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Monday said the explosives used in Wednesday’s deadly truck bombing near Kabul’s Zanbaq Square were from Pakistan, and the material used was highly flammable.
However, the MoI did not comment on how the truck managed to reach the most highly-fortified area of the capital city.
“Pakistan is the key planner of this incident like in the past, but our security team is investigating the incident and these investigations have not been completed,” said MoI spokesman Najib Danish.
According to the MoI, Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) supplied the Haqqani network with explosives to conduct the bombing in Kabul.
Meanwhile a source within government said on condition of anonymity that the truck had been seen in parts of city from 5:30 am on the morning of the explosion. At no point did security personnel appear to have stopped the vehicle, he said. [The explosion occurred at about 8:25 am.]

It is believed that 1,500 kg of explosives was used in the bombing.
“One of the problems is about the involvement of some elements within the security forces, there is the possibility that they (some elements in the security forces) were involved in it, secondly the weakness of these forces,” said MP Abdul Hai Akhundzada.
“The entry of the truck in this important area is surprising,” said one Kabul resident Navid Ahmad.
The ministry of interior said its investigations into the bombing were ongoing, however it said initial investigations show that Pakistan’s ISI supplied Haqqani with the explosives.

According to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), there are thirty sewage companies working in Kabul, but some of the sewage tankers operate without licenses. However government’s investigations will need to uncover who the truck belonged to.

[END REPORT]
As quoted in the May 31 CNN report, Capt. Salvin went on to say:
"Today's attack is a very dramatic example of what terrorists can do when they are determined to cause death and suffering among innocent civilians," he said. "But the security situation is being stabilized by the ever-growing capability of the Afghan police force and the Afghan National Army."
Operation Resolute Support, the NATO-led international mission to support Afghan forces, is focused this year on building Afghan forces' offensive capability on the battlefield, Salvin added.
U.S. commanders in Afghanistan: ever the cockeyed optimists. The NATO governments will need to be less optimistic and more forceful in dealing with Pakistan if they don't want to keep emptying the ocean with a sieve.

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