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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Afghanistan. Ramadan sanglant à Kaboul

by Damien Roustel

Afghanistan. Bloody Ramadan at Kabul

Nearly 100 deaths in an attack on the Capital’s diplomatic quarter

Translated Friday 9 June 2017, by Emma Jackson

It was one of the most violent attacks ever committed in Afghanistan’s capital.

Photo : Shah Mara/AFP

Yesterday morning, nearly 100 people perished in a truck bomb explosion in the diplomatic quarter of Kabul. Hundreds of casualties have been identified: “There are more than 300 casualties, including women and children,” stated a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health. The German Embassy’s Afghan guard and a chauffeur, who is also Afghan, from the BBC, were amongst the dead, as well as a journalist of the Afghan Tolo channel. Four BBC journalists were injured also. This attack happened at the beginning of Ramadan in a zone that was supposedly ultra-protected. Many embassies are there. The embassies of France, Germany, Japan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, India and Bulgaria all suffered property damage.

Amnesty International has condemned “a terrible act of deliberate violence

“The explosion was caused by a water tank which contained more than a ton and a half of explosives”, a Western source told the AFP. According to the American Embassy at Kabul, the explosion occurred “near the German embassy… in a busy street”. At the time of writing, no one had claimed responsibility for the attack. But all eyes are converging towards the Taliban and ISIS. The former announced the launch of their “spring offensive” at the end of April, but confirmed on Twitter to “not be implicated in the Kabul attack and to strongly condemn it.” The latter, responsible for several bloody attacks these past few months in the capital, had not yet spoken yesterday.

The NGO Amnesty International condemned a “horrible act of deliberate violence” which demonstrates that “the conflict in Afghanistan is not slowing down but is growing dangerously in a way that must alarm the international community”. This attack took place at the same time when the American president, Donald Trump, was thinking about sending additional troops to break the deadlock of a war against the Taliban, initiated in 2011. Despite this chaos, Afghanistan is considered a “safe” country by many states. The attack against the German Embassy forced Berlin to cancel the return of Afghan migrants by charters for “the next few days”. The motive given: “logistical problems”.

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