Terror Attacks in Kabul, Lashkar Gah
Islamic State and Taliban Terrorists Spread Death and Destruction Across Afghanistan
Afghan officials say a suicide attack on a Shi’ite mosque in Kabul killed at least 20 people, including two police officers, and wounded more than 40 others during Friday prayers, according to VoA.
Suicide Bomber and Gunmen Attack Mosque
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish confirmed that at least one attacker blew himself up at the gate of the Imam Zaman mosque while several others stormed inside.
Islamic State (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Police cordoned off the area soon after the assault. Residents of the area reported hearing gunfire from inside the mosque
An eyewitness says he saw at least three women and several children wounded and lying on the floor during the incident. Family members of those still in the mosque gathered outside.
Imam Zaman is one of the main Shi’ite mosques in the area and more people attend mosques on a Friday, the Muslim holy day of the week.
The trouble happened days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his new policy for Afghanistan in which he gave battlefield decision-making powers to his ground commanders, demanded Pakistan “immediately” change its behavior and stop providing havens to the Afghan Taliban, and asked the Afghan government to hasten reform and not take American support for granted.
Taliban Suicide Bomber Kills Seven in Lashkar Gah
A suicide attack has claimed seven lives in Lashkar Gah. At least seven were killed and dozens injured in a suicide bomb attack near police headquarters in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province. The Taliban have claimed responsibility, according to Al Jazeera.
Taliban Targeting Police
A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least seven people and wounded 42 others in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, an official said, in an attack targeting police.
“A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-filled car in a car park near the main police headquarters in Lashkar Gah,” said Omar Zhwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand province.
In addition to four soldiers, a girl and two women were among those killed, Zwak said, expressing fears that the death toll could rise further.
Children were studying at a nearby mosque when the explosion took place, Zhwak said, adding they were injured in the violence.
Authorities said that a group of police officers who had lined up to collect their pay were the target. Because of threats to Afghan banks that make payments to Afghan security personnel, the police station had its own bank branch inside.
Shop-owner Ismail Jan said that the explosion happened when a white car crashed into a convoy of six armoured military vehicles as they passed through a checkpoint inside the car park.
“I was thrown [by the blast], and when I got up I saw women and children covered in blood,” Jan told the AFP news agency. “I also saw a number of wounded children taken out of a nearby mosque.”
Taliban authority extends over 10 of the 14 districts in Helmand.
Fighting Instensifies in Helmand
Intensified fighting last year forced thousands of people to flee to Lashkar Gah from neighbouring districts.
An American soldier was killed and two others wounded in an attack in Helmand province while conducting operations against the Taliban in July.
The Taliban has been mounting lethal assaults on the Afghan army and police outposts in Helmand since it launched an annual spring offensive in late April this year .
The attack comes a day after US President Donald Trump announced that the US would continue fighting in Afghanistan to avoid the “predictable and unacceptable” results of a rapid withdrawal from the country.
The Taliban rsponded by saying that Afghanistan would become a “graveyard” for American soldiers.
Image: Afghan Special Security Forces, Afghanistan, by Lt Cmdr Kathryn Gray, Resolute Support HQ, Kabul (DVIDS).