Kabul attack: Nato member killed, Taliban claim responsibility

  • Agencies, Kabul
  • Updated: Aug 08, 2015 17:02 IST

A member of Afghanistan's Nato force and two insurgents were killed in an overnight battle at a base used by special forces in Kabul, a US official said on Saturday.

Authorities were still gathering information about the attack on the Camp Integrity facility, which followed suicide bomb attacks in other parts of Kabul, said Colonel Brian Tribus, director of public affairs for Nato's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

"One Resolute Support service member and two insurgent attackers were killed," he said in a statement, which gave no further details.

Multiple bombings rocked Kabul on Friday, killing at least 35 people and wounding hundreds more in the first major attacks in the Afghan capital since the announcement of Taliban leader Mullah Omar's death.

The explosions, which devastated buildings and overwhelmed hospitals with casualties, mark the deadliest day in Kabul since the end of the Nato combat mission in December.

In the first attack, a powerful truck bomb tore through the centre of Kabul just after midnight on Friday, killing 15 civilians and wounding 240 others.

Less than 24 hours later, at least 20 Afghan cadets were killed when a suicide attacker dressed in police uniform blew himself up at the entrance of Kabul Police Academy.

The Taliban distanced themselves from the first bombing that struck near a Kabul military base -- as they usually do in attacks that result in a large number of civilian casualties.

But the insurgents were quick to claim responsibility for the second attack, which marks a serious breach of security at a premier training institute for Afghan security forces.

Explosions and gunfire also erupted close to the airport on Friday evening, apparently targeting an area near foreign coalition bases, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Military jets were heard flying over the centre of Kabul shortly after the explosions.

The carnage underscores the volatile security situation in Afghanistan amid a faltering peace process with the Taliban as Afghan forces face their first summer fighting season without full Nato support.

Friday's bombings are the first major attacks after Mullah Akhtar Mansour was last week named as the new Taliban chief in an acrimonious power transition after the insurgents confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar.

Observers say the escalating violence demonstrates Mullah Mansour's attempt to boost his image among Taliban cadres and drive attention away from internal divisions over his leadership.

"The new wave of attacks is a tactic by the Taliban's new leadership to show they are capable, potent and operational," said security analyst Abdul Hadi Khaled. "The demise of Mullah Omar divided the movement and affected the moral of their ground fighters. Hitting Kabul with a wave of powerful attacks is a way of showcasing their strength."

(With inputs from AFP and Reuters)

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