The number of dead rises after the terrorist attack in Kabul embassy district
At least 90 people were killed and 400 wounded in the bomb attack in the embassy district of Kabul on Wednesday morning. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the latest terrorist attack in Kabul.
Eyewitnesses have described the attack as one of the worst in the city ever. The vast majority of the victims should have been Afghan civilians, but also guards and embassy employees are among the victims.
The Norwegian embassy is also in the strictly guarded Wazir Akbar Khan area, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs NTB that no Norwegians were affected.
Taliban announced a few weeks since a spring offensive against foreign and Afghan forces. A spokesman for the group stressed, however, that it was not they who were behind Wednesday’s bombing.
Not likely Taliban
– When they say that, there is reason to take it seriously. They have proven to be quite reliable. When they say they take responsibility, then it normally turns out that they are indeed responsible. When they reject, the Taliban have good reasons to do so, says Kristian Berg Harpviken to NTB. Harpviken is director at the peace research institute PRIO.
He points out that the other candidate behind such attacks is ISIS.
– It is a relatively small grouping in Afghan context, but ISIS has carried out several major terror attacks in the country, especially over the past year. The curious fact is that they have not accepted responsibility. They tend to be quick about it, says Harpviken.
He does not rule out that others than Taliban and ISIS may bee behind the attack.
– It’s a very changing landscape of extremist groups in Afghanistan. For example, there may be fragments from the Taliban who are trying to make a mark, he says.
Wednesday’s attack in Kabul reaps strong condemnation internationally.
– The attack shows a total lack of respect for civilians and reveals how barbaric the enemy of the Afghan people is, says Secretary General in NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.
The bomb attack is not necessarily proof that the security situation is deteriorating, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives).
– Every spring, the bombing offensives and other activity in Kabul, says Solberg.
– We can not assess the security situation on the basis of every bomb, she says.
Not complex attack
Wednesday’s bomb was hidden in a septic tank truck. Harpviken describes the implementation as tactically undemanding.
“There has been a steady series of quite serious terrorist attacks in Kabul in the last year. It goes without saying that the security situation is significantly more difficult in Kabul than it has been. Both the ability to fend off attacks and the willingness to carry out attacks has changed, he says.
Civilian is hardest hit
When an attack takes place within the so-called safe zone in Kabul, it creates natural concern, adds Harpviken. He nevertheless stresses that the vast majority of lives lost in the country are civilians who are affected by other types of armed actions and not in terrorist attacks.
The United States now has 8,400 soldiers in Afghanistan, while 5,000 come from other countries. US NATO Commander John Nicholson has asked the Trump Administration for more soldiers to stabilize the situation.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today