A suicide car bomber has launched a major attack in the Afghan capital city of Kabul today, killing at least 16 people and wounding 40 others. Among the slain are two US soldiers and four American contractors. Nine Afghan civilians and an interpreter were also killed.
Hezb-e Islami spokesman Haroon Zarghon claimed credit for the attack, saying it was carried out by a 24-year-old operative for their faction. The attack occurred during rush hour on a crowded highway, causing the large number of civilian dead and wounded.
Indeed, the blast was so large that some of the wounded weren’t in the streets at all but were injured by the concussion shattering windows in nearby homes. The Health Ministry said some of the slain civilians closer to the blast were so badly burnt they haven’t been identified.
The Hezb-e Islami group, whose origins go back to the resistance to the Soviet occupation, has become more aggressive again in recent months. The group’s founder, former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, remains its active leader. In addition to the paramilitary Hezb-e Islami that carried out today’s attack, Hekmatyar runs a parallel political faction of the same name, which remains active in Afghan politics.
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