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Posted at: Jan 11, 2017, 12:40 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2017, 12:40 AM (IST)

Twin Taliban blasts near Afghan Parliament kill 38

9 dead, UAE envoy hurt in Kandahar blast

  • At least nine persons were killed in an explosion in the governor's compound in Kandahar province on Tuesday during a visit by the UAE ambassador, local media reported
  • The UAE foreign ministry said envoy Juma Mohammed Abdullah Al Kaabi and other UAE diplomats were wounded in the “terrorist attack”. Afghanistan's Tolo News said the blast left nine persons dead and 16 others wounded
Twin Taliban blasts near Afghan Parliament kill 38
An injured person being taken to a hospital in Kabul. REUTERS

Kabul, January 10

Twin Taliban blasts struck near the Afghan Parliament in Kabul today, killing at least 38 persons, including civilians and military personnel,  and wounding 72 others in the rush-hour attack that shattered a relative lull in violence in the capital.

Taliban insurgents immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, which struck as employees were exiting the parliament complex.

“The first explosion happened outside the parliament... a number of innocent workers were killed and wounded. It was caused by a suicide bomber on foot,” Zabi, an injured parliament security guard, told AFP.

“The second one was a car bomb. It was parked on the other side of the road and flung me back when it detonated,” he said. The blasts left 38 persons dead and 72 others wounded, most of them civilians including parliament employees, a security official said. Another security official said the explosions had left “dozens of people dead”.

Around 70 wounded people had been rushed to hospitals, a health ministry spokesman said. The blasts went off near a parliament annexe, which houses offices of some lawmakers.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the explosions targeted a vehicle belonging to Afghanistan's main intelligence agency.

The Taliban are pressing ahead with nationwide attacks despite the onset of winter, when fighting usually ebbs, as international efforts to jumpstart peace talks falter.

Repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taliban have failed, with a fierce new fighting season expected to kick off in the spring.

Earlier today, a suicide bomber blew himself up in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the volatile southern province of Helmand, killing seven people, the local police chief said. The attacks underline concerns over growing insecurity in Afghanistan, where around 10,000 US troops are assisting struggling Afghan forces to combat a resilient Taliban insurgency along with Al-Qaida and Islamic State militants.

Afghanistan last week welcomed the Pentagon's decision to deploy some 300 US Marines to Helmand, where American forces engaged in heated combat until their mission ended in 2014.

The Marines will head to the poppy-growing province this spring to assist a NATO-led mission to train Afghan forces, in the latest sign that foreign forces are increasingly being drawn back into the worsening conflict. — Agencies

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