Afghanistan | Suicide bombing leaves at least three dead

(Kandahar) A suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group in the Afghan city of Kandahar left three dead on Thursday, according to Taliban authorities, while a hospital source cited a higher toll of twenty killed.

The attack took place in the morning in front of a bank in the large city in southern Afghanistan, stronghold of the Taliban.

“This morning, a suicide attack took place in front of the New Bank of Kabul, three people were killed and twelve injured,” announced Inamullah Samangani, director of the Department of Information and Culture of Kandahar province.

The Taliban authorities quickly accused IS of being behind the attack, which was then claimed by the jihadist group.

An IS fighter “detonated his explosive belt” near a “Taliban militia gathering” near a bank in Kandahar, IS news agency Amaq said on its account Telegram.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Abdul Mateen Qani said the investigation was ongoing and “the criminals will be identified (…) and punished for their misdeeds.”

A hospital source reported a much heavier toll in the evening.

“The Mirwais hospital received twenty deaths this morning after the explosion,” announced this source, requesting anonymity.

“The victims are civilians,” Mr. Samangani said in the morning, adding that the attack had targeted people who had come to collect their wages in this establishment.

Emir Hibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the Taliban, lives in seclusion in Kandahar, while the government is installed in Kabul.

The attack took place at 8 a.m. local time in the center of the city, as the Muslim country observes the fasting month of Ramadan.

One of the victims, Khalil Ahmad, a man in his forties who had eight children, had gone to the bank to get his salary, his nephew said at his funeral Thursday evening.

“He was an ordinary guy, he usually worked as a painter,” said Mohammad Shafiq Saraaj, as family gathered around the remains wrapped in a white shroud.

“These kinds of things were happening under the previous government… and now it’s happening too,” he added.

“We ask that security be ensured properly in the country, especially where there are crowds, and that our nation be preserved from these kinds of tragedies,” he said.

Always a threat

After the explosion, Taliban authorities quickly cordoned off the area and barred journalists from approaching, as they usually do in the event of an attack.

An AFP journalist saw the bodies of victims on site, who appeared unconscious or deceased, taken away in ambulances.

Taliban authorities generally announce lower human tolls than hospitals.

Mr. Samangani, who was in one of the hospitals that received victims, denied that there was an urgent need for blood, contrary to what messages on social networks claimed.

“This problem does not arise. The injured are not seriously injured,” he assured in a message to the press.

Hospitals in Kandahar said they had been ordered not to speak to the media.

Security personnel and firefighters quickly cleared the area of ​​the attack where traces of blood, clothing, shoes and debris were visible.

The number of bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has declined significantly since the Taliban regained power in August 2021 and relative security prevails.

However, a number of armed groups, such as ISIS, still pose a threat.

In Afghanistan, ISIS mainly targets members of the Hazara Shiite minority.

Numerous explosions have been reported in Afghanistan since the start of Ramadan two weeks ago. But very few have been confirmed by Taliban authorities.


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