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Suicide Bomber in Afghanistan Slams Into Packed Minibus

A suicide bomber rammed a sedan full of explosives into a packed commuter minibus in Kabul on Monday, according to Afghan officials and eyewitnesses.

It was the second serious attack in the capital in less than a week. Gunmen stormed the main military hospital on Wednesday, killing at least 31 people, many of them patients shot in their rooms.

Two eyewitnesses to the attack on Monday, one of them an off-duty policeman, said that a Toyota Corolla smashed into the minibus and exploded, engulfing the minibus in flames and burning everyone inside.

Other accounts said that a roadside bomb may have been involved.

It was not immediately known how many people were in the minibus. The vehicles are commonly used to take government employees and other workers home, and sometimes carry as many as 20 people.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Sediq Sediqqi, gave a preliminary toll of at least one person killed and at least 19 more wounded in the attack; both figures could rise.

The attack took place on a heavily congested road in the Taimani neighborhood, where many foreign aid workers live, during the evening rush.

It was the fourth serious attack so far in March in the capital, which typically has only about one a month. Two bombings at widely separated locations in Kabul on March 1 killed 23 people and wounded more than 100; the Taliban claimed responsibility for those bombings. A website affiliated with the Islamic State claimed that the group was responsible for the hospital attack, according to the SITE intelligence monitoring agency. Islamic State attacks have previously been rare in Afghanistan, outside of a small area in eastern Nangarhar Province where affiliated fighters have been most active.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility on Monday for the attack on the minivan, the 11th suicide attack of the year in Afghanistan.

[Source: By Rod Nordland and Zahra Nader, The New York Times, Kabul, 13Mar17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 15Mar17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.