February 1, 2016
ISLAMABAD – A powerful suicide blast targeting a major police facility in the Afghan capital has killed at least 20 police officers and wounded 29 other people.
The head of Kabul’s crime investigation department said security guards identified the suspected bomber as he moved toward the Afghan National Civil Order Police Headquarters and tried to stop him when he blew himself up. He condemned the perpetrators as “enemies of Afghanistan.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility. In a statement sent to reporters, the insurgent group’s spokesman said its suicide bomber attacked a group of officers gathered at the gate of the police center.
The bombing is the latest in a series of Taliban attacks that have hit Kabul in recent days.
A spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said, “This attack on the Afghan police shows the contempt the Taliban have for the rule of law in Afghanistan and for those who commit themselves daily to defending the Afghan people.”
He added that targeting those who defend their fellow Afghans does not advance the cause of peace.
Meanwhile, four-way talks are due to reconvene in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, later this week to determine a road map to direct peace talks between Afghan government officials and the Taliban. The talks will involve officials from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States.
Separately, Afghan authorities have not been able to undertake repairs of power lines that were destroyed last week during clashes between security forces and Taliban insurgents.
The damage to electricity pylons in the conflict zone in northern Baghlan Province disrupted nearly half of Kabul’s 650-megawatt daily requirement.
The fighting and bad weather, according Afghanistan’s national power company, has prevented workers from performing repair work. The insurgents are also said to have heavily mined the area.
The Taliban denied it is responsible for destroying the power lines, saying government forces’ heavy bombing caused the damage. It said insurgency tactics that hit ordinary Afghans do not fit with its fight against the foreign-backed government in Kabul.
The resulting power outages, say residents, have undermined business and industrial activities, adding further misery for Kabul’s long-suffering population.