14 dead in Taliban attack on aid group in Kabul
Kabul: The death toll of a Taliban attack targeting an international aid group in the Afghan capital jumped to 14 on Thursday, with the militant group warning it would conduct more such strikes to avenge the civilian casualties of counter-insurgency military operations by Afghan and foreign forces.
A group of Taliban attackers on Wednesday triggered a car bomb and then stormed the compound of the building housing the office of the charity, Counterpart International, in the Shahr-e-Naw area of Kabul.
Afghan forces engaged the assailants in a nearly six-hour-long battle before all the attackers were gunned down. The government had initially said 10 people, including the five bombers, were killed in the clash.
However, the Interior Ministry on Thursday said a total of 14 people had died in the gun battle, Efe news reported.
“In addition to the five attackers, the death toll from the attack on Counterpart International increased to nine,” Ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said.
The dead included five security personnel, a security guard employed by Counterpart and three civilians who worked with Care International, another humanitarian aid group that has its office near the building that was attacked.
“The offices are too close to each other. It was initially unclear whether the target was Care or Counterpart,” the spokesperson said.
The police said the militants had chosen a soft target to attack Counterpart office located in a relatively high security zone in the centre of Kabul. The US government-funded non-profit has been operating in Afghanistan since 2005 and is headquartered in the US city of Arlington, Virginia.
The Taliban in a statement on their official webpage warned that there would be more strikes in future.
The insurgent group said foreign nests like Counterpart played “key role” in military operations of the Afghan and foreign troops in which they kill civilians and that Wednesday attack was aimed to “avenge the brutal killing of hundreds of civilians”.
“This will not be the last attack. In the near future, they will pay an even higher price than this,” the Taliban said in the statement.