16 dead, 119 hurt in Taliban attack in Kabul: official – World

The death toll from a suicide Taliban attack late at night in the Afghan capital rose to 16 civilians on Tuesday, with 119 people injured, an official said. The angry residents of Kabul climbed the wall towards the international complex, which has been frequently attacked, and set fire to part of it.

The thick black smoke rose from the Green Village, home to several international organizations and guest houses and, often, the target of attacks, a danger also to nearby local residents.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack had destroyed rooms and offices of "invaders." "The enemy claims of civil losses are false since civilians were not allowed near the site of the attack," he said in a tweet.

The attack occurred only hours after Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, informed the Afghan government about an agreement "in principle" with the Taliban that he would see 5,000 US soldiers leave the country within five months. .

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said about 400 foreigners had been rescued after the suicide bomber attacked the complex Monday night. The explosion occurred in the street and destroyed several houses.

Smoke rises when angry residents of Kabul set fire to part of the Green Village complex that has been frequently attacked, one day after a Taliban suicide attack. ─ AP

Security forces shot and killed five attackers after the attacker, who apparently was driving a tractor full of explosives, detonated his vehicle, Rahimi said. The explosion hit the western wall of the complex.

The Green Village was also hit by a car bomb suicide in January, again when the US envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, was visiting the capital to inform the Afghan government about his negotiations with the Taliban to end almost 18 years of fighting.

Hours before Monday's attack, Khalilzad showed a draft agreement to the Afghan president after stating that they are "on the threshold of an agreement" after the end of the ninth round of talks between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar. The agreement still needs the approval of President Donald Trump.

There were no immediate comments from Jalilzad after the explosion that was heavily condemned by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The shocked residents of Kabul question whether an agreement can be trusted with the Taliban, especially when foreign troops withdraw.

It was not clear why the Taliban would continue to carry out such attacks when the militant group seems to be getting what it wants in an agreement with the United States: a withdrawal of troops. The group wants all 20,000 US and NATO troops to leave Afghanistan immediately, while the United States seeks a withdrawal in phases that would depend on the Taliban meeting certain conditions, such as a reduction in violence.

The attacks have increased in recent months, including Taliban attacks on two provincial capitals over the weekend, as the group seeks to strengthen its negotiating position not only with the United States but also with the Afghan government in intra-talks. Even more challenging Afghans who are destined to follow an agreement between the United States and the Taliban on the future of Afghanistan.

Some analysts have also warned that some Taliban factions may be expressing dissatisfaction with the agreement with the United States, although Taliban political leaders in talks in Qatar have insisted that their tens of thousands of fighters would respect any agreement reached.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1503289/16-dead-119-hurt-in-taliban-attack-in-kabul-official


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