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Suicide car bomb hits Kabul Afghanistan

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    Posted: 24-Jul-2017 at 12:04am
Taliban claim responsibility for attack that killed at least 24 people in a western Kabul neighbourhood.
Suicide car bomb hits Kabul Afghanistan
At least 24 people have been killed and more than 40 wounded after a suicide car bomb targeted Afghanistan's capital Kabul, officials have said.

The target of Monday's attack was a bus carrying staff of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, intelligence officials told Al Jazeera.

Najib Danish, an acting Interior Ministry spokesman added that the casualty toll could rise.

Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to Al Jazeera.

The attack came just before 7am local time (02:30 GMT) and took place close to the house of the deputy government Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqi.

The bus was completely destroyed, along with three other cars and several shops in the area, said Kabul's police chief spokesman, Basir Mujahed, adding children were among the wounded.

The bomber attacked at one of the busiest times of the day," he said.

"There were traffic jams with people going to work and to the university and schools. Many of the shops had just opened."

The Hazaras are one of Afghanistan's largest ethnic minorities, accounting for up to 20 percent of Afghanistan's 30 million inhabitants.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said the Hazara community had called a demonstration for Monday to commemorate a suicide bombing that killed 84 in the same area on July 23 last year.

The demonstration was postponed because of security risks.

"Security has been very tight in Kabul," she said.

"This morning, new barrier gates went up that limit the height of trucks coming in to the city."

Hazara Shia Muslims are often the target of sectarian violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

One-year anniversary

Kabul's Hazara community were due on Monday to mark the one-year anniversary of an attack in Kabul that killed 84 and wounded more than 300 people, mostly members of the ethnic minority.

That attack was the first in Afghanistan claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, which has since carried out multiple attacks targeting the country's Shia minority.

Kabul is regularly rocked by suicide bombs and attacks. A recent UN report showed that attacks on the capital accounted for nearly one-fifth of all civilian Afghan casualties in the first half of 2017.

READ MORE: Desperate journeys - Persecuted Hazara flee Afghanistan

Many died in a single devastating attack in Kabul in late May when a truck bomb exploded, also during the morning rush hour, killing more than 150 people and injuring hundreds.

UNAMA put the civilian death toll at 92, saying it was the deadliest incident to hit the country since 2001.

Protests and deadly street clashes hit the Afghan capital in the wake of the May attack as people incensed by security failures called for his government's resignation.

NATO's combat mission in Afghanistan ended three years ago, handing sole responsibility to the country's security forces, which have also suffered casualties as they try to beat back the Taliban and contain the growing threat from the ISIL group.

The latest suicide bombing adds to the unrelenting violence in Afghanistan, where at least 1,662 civilians were killed in the first half of the year.

Kabul has accounted for at least 20 percent of all civilian casualties this year, including at least 150 people killed in a massive truck bomb attack at the end of May, according to UN figures.
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