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At least 41 dead in multiple bomb attacks in Kabul

26 May 2018 The Independent

A suicide attack on a Shia cultural centre in Kabul has killed at least 41 people. 

Another 30 were reportedly wounded in the blast on Thursday, the Interior Ministry said. 

The attack occurred during a morning panel discussion on the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the Tibian Social and Cultural Centre. Many of the victims were students, according to witnesses.

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Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said an unknown number of suicide attackers set off an explosion outside the centre before storming it.

They then set off explosive devices in the basement of the building where scores of people had gathered to mark the 1979 invasion.

The blast also reportedly ripped apart the offices of the neighbouring Afghan Voice news agency. 

Sayed Abbas Hussaini, a journalist at the agency, said there appeared to have been more than one explosion during the attack, following an initial blast at the entrance to the compound. He said one reporter at the agency had been killed and one injured.

Photographs sent by witnesses showed what appeared to be serious damage at the site, in a heavily Shia Muslim area in the west of the capital, and a number of dead and wounded on the ground.

Afghan Voice has Shi'ite links but there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement on Twitter denying involvement.

US and UK could face Afghanistan war crimes investigation

The attack, the latest in a series to hit Afghan media groups in recent years, follows an attack on a private television station in Kabul last month.

Backed by the heaviest US air strikes since the height of the international combat mission in Afghanistan, Afghan forces have forced the Taliban back in many areas and prevented any major urban centre from falling into the hands of insurgents.

But high-profile attacks in the big cities have continued as militants have looked for other ways to make an impact and undermine confidence in security.

According to a report this month by media freedom group Reporters without Borders, Afghanistan is among the world's most dangerous countries for media workers with two journalists and five media assistants killed doing their jobs in 2017, before Thursday's attack.

Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear

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Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear

1/16

2001

Afghans at the Killi Faizo refugee camp desperately reach for bags of rice being handed out to the thousands who escaped the bombardment in southern Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. (Chaman, Pakistan, December 4, 2001)

Paula Bronstein

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2002

Mahbooba stands against a bullet-ridden wall, waiting to be seen at a medical clinic. The seven-year-old girl suffers from leishmaniasis, a parasitical infection. (Kabul, March 1, 2002)

All photos Paula Bronstein

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2003

A mother and her two children look out from their cave dwelling. Many families who, fleeing the Taliban, took refuge inside caves adjacent to Bamiyan’s destroyed ancient Buddha statues now have nowhere else to live. (Bamiyan, November 19, 2003)

Paula Bronstein

4/16

2007

Students recite prayers in a makeshift outdoor classroom in the Wakhan Corridor, a mountainous region in northeastern Afghanistan that extends to China and separates Tajikistan from India and Pakistan. (Northeastern Afghanistan, September 2, 2007)

Paula Bronstein

5/16

2007

Bodybuilders in the 55-60 kg category square off during a regional bodybuilding competition. Many Afghan men, like others around the world, feel that a macho image of physical strength is important. (Kabul, August 6, 2007)

Paula Bronstein

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2008

A woman in a white burqa enjoys an afternoon with her family feeding the white pigeons at the Blue Mosque. (Mazar-e-Sharif, March 8, 2008)

Paula Bronstein

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2009

Addicts inject heroin while trying to keep warm inside the abandoned Russian Cultural Center, which the capital city’s addicts use as a common gathering point. Heroin is readily available, costing about one dollar a hit. (Kabul, February 9, 2009)

Paula Bronstein

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2009

An elderly man holds his granddaughter in their tent at a refugee camp after they were forced to flee their village, which US and NATO forces had bombed because, they claimed, it was a Taliban hideout. (Surobi, Nangarhar Province, February 7, 2009)

Paula Bronstein

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2009

Seven-year-old Attiullah, a patient at Mirwais Hospital, stands alongside an X ray showing the bullet that entered his back, nearly killing him. Attiullah was shot by US forces when he was caught in a crossfire as he was herding sheep. (Kandahar, October 13, 2009).

Paula Bronstein

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2010

US Army Sargeant Jay Kenney (right), with Task Force Destiny, helps wounded Afghan National Army soldiers exit a Blackhawk helicopter after they have been rescued in an air mission. (Kandahar, December 12, 2010)

Paula Bronstein

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2010

An Afghan National Army battalion marches back to barracks at the Kabul Military Training Center. (Kabul, October 4, 2010)

Paula Bronstein

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2014

Eid Muhammad, seventy, lives in a house with a view overlooking the hills of Kabul. He and millions of other Afghans occupy land and housing without possessing formal deeds to them. (Kabul, November 21, 2014)

Paula Bronstein

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2014

Razima holds her two-year-old son, Malik, while waiting for medical attention at the Boost Hospital emergency room. (Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, June 23, 2014)

Paula Bronstein

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2014

Young women cheer as they attend a rally for the Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani. (Kabul, April 1, 2014)

Paula Bronstein

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2014

Burqa-clad women wait to vote after a polling station runs out of ballots. (Kabul, April 5, 2014)

Paula Bronstein

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2015

Relatives, friends, and women’s rights activists grieve at the home of Farkhunda Malikzada, who was killed by a mob in the center of Kabul. Farkhunda was violently beaten and set on fire after a local cleric accused her of burning a Qur’an. (Kabul, March 22, 2015)

Paula Bronstein

Separately, Dawlat Abad District Gov. Mohammad Karim said a powerful mine killed six shepherd children ranging in age from eight to 10 on Wednesday. 

No one immediately took responsibility for the attack, but Karim blamed the Taliban, saying the insurgents planted the mine to target Afghan officials and security forces. 

Afghanistan has the highest number of mine victims in the world, which along with other roadside bombs, kill or wound an estimated 140 people every month. 

Elsewhere, a Taliban attack on a security police post in central Ghazni province Wednesday night left three police dead and one other wounded, said Mohammad Zaman, provincial chief of police.

Additional reporting by agencies

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Original Link: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/afghan-voice-kabul-explosion-suicide-bomb-taliban-afghanistan-mosque-a8130881.html

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