Security forces run from the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Source: PTI) 

Toll Rises to 29 in Kabul Blasts Claimed by Islamic State

(Bloomberg) -- Back-to-back bombings in the Afghan capital Kabul have killed 29 people including nine journalists in the deadliest attack on Afghanistan’s media since 2001.

Terrormonitor, which tracks terrorist activities, tweeted that IS had claimed responsibility for the Kabul bombings, which also wounded at least 45 people.

Journalists and emergency workers who rushed to the scene of the first bombing near the Afghan Intelligence Agency and NATO compound were among those hit in the second blast, according to a statement from the Presidential Palace. Nine journalists were killed, the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee said in a statement, including chief photographer of Agence France-Presse, Shah Marai.

The attacks indicate the growing expansion of the Islamic State in Kabul, said Abdul Qader Zazai, a member of parliament. "It means they are trained, equipped, prepared and funded within the city of Kabul that is heavily guarded by Afghan forces, U.S. forces and many other foreign troops," Zazai said by phone. "That’s truly a tragedy for every human in Afghanistan."

Voters Targeted

The attack comes eight days after a suicide bomber claimed by the Islamic State targeted a voter registration office in the city, killing 60 and wounding more than 120 others.

“These attacks cause untold human suffering to Afghan families," said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. He noted Monday’s blasts appeared to have "deliberately targeted journalists."

Last week, Taliban militants fighting the U.S. and Afghan forces in the war-torn country announced its spring operation to kill and capture Americans. The operation will focus on "American invaders and their supporters," Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban, said in a statement. U.S. President Donald Trump’s war strategy in Afghanistan “sabotages” all chances of peace as the U.S. has no sincere intention of ending the war, he said.

In February, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani extended an unprecedented peace offer to the group, which controls or contests nearly half of Afghanistan.

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