Double Bombings Near Afghanistan’s Parliament in Kabul Kills Dozens of People


A double bombing by the Taliban near the Afghan Parliament office compound in Kabul on Tuesday killed dozens of people during the early evening rush hour, officials said.

The assault in the Afghan capital was the deadliest of several high-profile attacks on Tuesday, including an explosion at a government guesthouse in the southern province of Kandahar that wounded the provincial governor and the visiting ambassador of the United Arab Emirates.

Wahidullah Majrooh, a spokesman for the Afghan Health Ministry, said 80 injured people and 30 bodies were taken to Kabul hospitals. Many officials feared that the number of casualties would rise.

The Taliban issued a statement claiming responsibility for the Parliament bombings.

One witness who was inside the compound said the attack started when a suicide bomber detonated explosives nearby. Then, as security forces gathered in the area a few minutes later, a car bomb detonated on the busy road that passes in front of the compound, the witness said. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

An Afghan lawmaker, Kamal Safi, said meetings were underway in the compound when the attack took place, including one about the national budget.

“The explosions took place exactly at the time when government employees were going home, so it was a rush hour,” Mr. Safi said. “More than a thousand people are working there, so I know the number of casualties are very high.”

An officer named Mirwais who was among those providing security for the Parliament building said most of the casualties came from a public bus that was passing by the compound when the car bomb exploded.

“It was 4 p.m., and the workers were leaving — they either had private cars or were walking out to the main road for public transport,” Mr. Mirwais said. “The second attack happened on the main road by the gate, and that caused a lot of casualties.”

Violent attacks in Afghanistan have not subsided this year despite the harsh winter, with Taliban assaults reported on a daily basis across several provinces in the north and the south.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Mujib Mashal and Tiamoor Shah