Massive suicide blast kills 80, wounds hundreds in Afghanistan

Massive suicide blast kills 80, wounds hundreds in Afghanistan

Taliban denies involvement; ISIS remains chief suspect.

Posted May 31, 2017 10:36 AM by Jordan Schachtel
Rahmat Gul | AP Images
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A suicide bomb with a giant payload detonated inside a diplomatic area in Afghanistan, Wednesday morning, resulting in the deaths of at least 80 people and wounding hundreds more.

The vehicle born improvised explosive device detonated near the German and other embassies in Kabul, as streets were filled with commuters. The bomb was so powerful that it instantly set dozens of cars ablaze and smashed windows hundreds of yards away.

 

CNN reports that the bomb was “concealed in a water delivery truck” and detonated outside of the offices of a mobile phone and television company.

The Taliban, which has recently begun its annual spring offensive — and is the strongest terrorist organization in the country — has denied responsibility for the attack. Zabihullah Mujahdid, a spokesman for the terror group, said the Taliban was not involved. Currently, the Taliban controls or contest around 40 percent of the country.

Other terror groups that remain active in the country are Al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s Khorasan branch. Neither has come forward through official channels to claim the suicide attack.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said that the American compound did “not appear to have been the target of the blast.”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel tweeted that the blast “hit civilians and those who are in Afghanistan to work for a better future for the country with the people there.”

The bombing comes just three days into the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The Islamic State has already committed deadly attacks to commence Ramadan. On the first day of the holy month, ISIS took responsibility for the ambush slaughter of dozens of Egyptian Coptic Christians. On Tuesday, in Baghdad, ISIS took credit for a suicide blast outside of an ice cream shop populated by Shiite Muslims.

This latest attack comes as the U.S. has been weighing whether to dedicate more resources toward the war in Afghanistan. The United States has had thousands of troops in Afghanistan for 16 years. A new plan for Afghanistan, which is reportedly being pushed by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, calls for thousands of additional troops and at least $23 billion toward an effort to stabilize the country.

U.S. and coalition efforts have largely failed to empower a central government in a tribal society that has never had the capacity to enforce law and order nationwide. Afghanistan is divided along ethnic, regional, religious, and language barriers. Most Afghans identify first and foremost with their tribe or ethnic group, rather than their Afghan nationality.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.