Suicide bomber targets Kabul Bank branch

A suicide bomber has blown himself up at a bank in the Afghan capital, killing at least five people and wounding several others, officials say.

The bomber hit the entrance to a Kabul Bank branch close to the US embassy and the city’s main diplomatic quarter, Najib Danish, an interior ministry spokesman, said on Tuesday.

The front side of the Kabul Bank was completely shattered and there was much damage to the fronts of several adjacent businesses. A charred motorcycle with its parts mangled lay on the street.

It was not immediately clear how many casualties had been caused by the explosion.

Danish said at least five people were killed.

The attack also wounded nine, said Mohammad Salim Rasouli, chief of Kabul hospitals at the Health Ministry. He warned that those were only initial reports and that the casualty toll could rise further.

The blast occurred on a street lined with shops and banks at a time when many officials were collecting their salaries before the Muslim Eid holiday at the end of the week.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. 

READ MORE: Trump vows US will keep fighting in Afghanistan

In another development, at least 13 civilians, including women and children, were killed in an overnight airstrike by Afghan security forces that targeted the Taliban in western Herat province, according to Gelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Farhad told The Associated Press that the Monday night strike in Shindand district also wounded seven civilians. A Taliban base and a prison run by the insurgents were targeted, he said.

The prison was destroyed and 19 prisoners — both military and civilians escaped. The civilians who were killed died in their homes just next to the Taliban base, he added.

According to the spokesman, the airstrikes also killed 16 Taliban fighters. The Taliban have not commented on the Herat attack and Farhad’s information could not be independently verified.

Suicide attacks in Kabul

Tuesday’s blast was the latest in a long series of suicide attacks in Kabul, where 209 civilians were killed and 777 injured in the first half of the year alone, according to figures by the UN.

Earlier this month, the Taliban pledged to turn Afghanistan into a “graveyard” for foreign forces after US President Donald Trump committed American troops indefinitely to the war there.

President Ashraf Ghani’s government has started tightening security around the centre of the city, where many of the most deadly attacks have taken place.

On May 3, a powerful blast targeting a foreign forces convoy near the US embassy and NATO headquarters killed at least eight people and wounded 28 during morning rush hour.

Later in the month a massive truck bomb targeted Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, home to the presidential palace and a host of foreign embassies, killing about 150 and wounding around 400 people, mostly civilians.

On June 3, seven people were killed after suicide bombers attacked the funeral of a protester who was killed the day before during a demonstration against insecurity in Kabul.

Can Trump succeed in ending the war in Afghanistan?

Source: News agencies