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Taliban Claim Kabul Explosion That Killed Dozens

KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban bombing early Monday killed dozens of people in Kabul, the Afghan capital, the latest in a series of deadly attacks in the city.

Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said the bombing killed 24 and wounded 42. However, a senior security official put the number of dead at 38 and wounded at more than 50. A commuter bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum was in the area at the time of the attack.

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After the attack. The windows of most of the buildings in the area were blown out. Credit Hedayatullah Amid/European Pressphoto Agency

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that they were behind the explosion, which the police said was a suicide bombing, and that they had targeted buses belonging to the National Directorate of Security.

Afghan security officials, however, cast doubt on the Taliban’s claim of who was targeted. A senior official said that the intelligence service did not use buses to transport its staff and that most of the victims were civilian workers of the Ministry of Mines.

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Treating the wounded at a hospital in Kabul. Credit Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Local news reports said the blast occurred near the home of Hajji Mohammed Mohaqiq, the deputy chief executive of the Afghan government.

The police kept the area cordoned off hours after the attack as firefighters cleaned up blood and the remains of the victims. The windows of most of the buildings in the area were blown out.

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Mourning at a hospital. Credit Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Family members and friends searched for loved ones in the commotion that followed. One shopkeeper, who appeared to be in a state of shock and said he had forgotten his own name, was looking for a friend. His clothes were covered in blood as he answered calls from the missing friend’s family.

“I lost my friend, and I am searching the dead bodies,” he said. “I went to three hospitals, but he wasn’t there. What should I tell his family?”

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Shoes belonging to some of the victims of the attack. Credit Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Abdul Bari, a student from the western province of Herat who lives in a dormitory near the site of the blast, said the explosion was the most powerful he had ever heard.

“I was asleep when I heard the loud sound,” Mr. Bari said, describing how all the windows shattered. “My body is still shaking.”

Security forces have been on high alert in recent days ahead of what was supposed to be a major protest against the government in the west of the city, commemorating the anniversary of a bombing claimed by the Islamic State that targeted a peaceful demonstration last year and that killed at least 80 people.

But the protest was called off at the last minute on Sunday, reportedly for security reasons, and the protest leaders have said they will try to talk to the government first.

Source: NYT > World

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