The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2015
Taliban Claim Deadly Car Bomb Near Afghanistan Airport
Three killed in explosion that hit European Union vehicle close to airport’s military entrance
By Nathan Hodge & Habib Khan Totakhil
The Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bomb that detonated Sunday morning on a crowded road near Afghanistan’s main international airport, hitting a vehicle of the European Union’s police advisory mission and killing three people, Afghan and international officials said.
Sediq Sediqqi, the spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, said the explosion occurred on Hawa Shanasi road, a street close to a military entrance to the airport.
“Two [Afghan] women were killed and 18 civilians—including eight women and three children—were injured in today’s blast on Hawa Shanasi road,” he said.
The European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan, or EUPOL, confirmed one of its vehicles was hit in the attack and that an occupant was killed.
“Three mission members who were in the vehicle are in a safe location now and their injuries are not believed to be fatal,” EUPOL said in a statement. “However, EUPOL can confirm that one person inside the vehicle has been killed.”
In a statement condemning the attack, U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the death of a British security contractor in the blast.
EUPOL, founded in 2007, advises the Afghan government in building up its civilian police force. Its mission focuses on strengthening the rule of law and promoting respect for human rights by law-enforcement agencies.
Kabul airport is the country’s main civilian airport, and it is also used by U.S. and international forces. Military and diplomatic convoys frequently travel on the roads around the airport. Several heavily-guarded compounds used by international contractors are located on the road where the blast took place.
The blast occurred around 9 a.m. local time on a busy morning in downtown Kabul. Emergency responders were on the scene and blocked traffic near the scene of the blast, but the main airport road remained open.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack, saying a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of foreigners.
The Taliban recently launched a countrywide offensive, attacking government outposts around Afghanistan.
Last week, the insurgency made a violent return to the capital: A Taliban gunman attacked a guesthouse popular with foreigners and Afghans. Fourteen people, including an American woman, lost their lives in that attack.
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