Toll in last week`s Kabul truck bomb now over 150: Ashraf Ghani

by Garry Watts June 9, 2017, 4:26
Toll in last week`s Kabul truck bomb now over 150: Ashraf Ghani

Just last Wednesday at least 150 people were killed when a truck loaded with explosives detonated in the city near several foreign embassies.

The bomb was planted in a rickshaw.

On the same day, a rocket struck the Indian diplomatic compound in Kabul.

One more lethal, multi-casualty bomb attack in the center of Kabul, the Afghanistan capital, marked the approaching 16th anniversary of America's war in that country.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued an ultimatum to the Taliban on Tuesday, warning them to embrace peace or "face consequences" after announcing that the death toll from last week's devastating truck bombing had crossed 150.

Ghani has come under mounting public criticism for spiralling insecurity, with a wave of protests and deadly street clashes roiling the Afghan capital as people incensed by the violence call for his government's resignation.

With security deteriorating under a resurgent Taliban and as the Islamic State steps up attacks, there has been talk of Afghanistan's government collapsing and the country becoming a training ground for groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, said Manoj Joshi, a fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.

"In the presence of invaders, peace negotiations will mean nothing", Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters. But without U.S. leadership, which has "owned" Afghanistan since 11 September 2001, there is little that other states can do or would even be willing to do.

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He said more than 300 other people were wounded in the bombing.

"Taliban sponsored terrorism is creating a platform that is bringing terrorists and criminals from all over the region to Afghanistan", Ghani said, according to his prepared remarks.

Meanwhile in Kabul, Afghan leaders met officials of two dozen foreign governments and institutions, launching a so-called Kabul Process aiming to set the stage for peace talks and clinch an global pact to end "cross-border terrorism".

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, and delegates stand for the national anthem during the so-called Kabul Process conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

"We're offering a chance for peace but we must also be clear that this is not an open-ended opportunity". Pakistan's military in turn has also blamed Afghanistan for harboring insurgents it said were responsible for a spate of bombings in February.

More than 460 people have been wounded in the incident.

The agency also accused Pakistan's spy agency ISI of helping the terror group plan the attack, a charge Islamabad has denied.

So we again call on the Government of Pakistan to propose its agenda and a mechanism for that dialogue which can lead us to peace and prosperity, the Afghan president suggested.


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