One killed, 33 wounded in Kabul suicide attack

KABUL (Reuters) - A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least one person and wounded 33 on Monday in an attack on a road near a school close to Kabul airport, officials in the Afghan capital said, two weeks after a major insurgent assault in the city.

The ministry of public health said 18 children, many of whom had been studying in a nearby madrassa, or religious school, were among the injured. Many were apparently hurt by flying glass as the blast shattered windows.

Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the attack had taken place in an overwhelmingly civilian area with no military targets nearby.

“Enemies of humanity detonated a suicide car bomb in front of a madrassa where children were learning the Koran and Islamic studies,” he said. “It shows that they are enemies of mosques, God and the Koran.”

The windows of nearby shops were smashed and debris was strewn across the street.

The attack, the latest in a series of suicide bombings, came a day after the powerful head of Pakistan’s army, General Raheel Sharif, visited Kabul for talks intended to lay the groundwork for a resumption of peace talks with the Taliban.

The Taliban said in a statement the suicide attack had targeted a minibus it said was used to transport Americans and Europeans from a military base to the airport, killing 10 foreigners and three of their Afghan associates.

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The Taliban often exaggerate casualty tolls in attacks on Afghan and foreign forces.

A spokesman for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Kabul said no member of the mission had been involved in the incident.

Taliban insurgents have claimed a number of attacks this month, including an assault on a Spanish embassy guesthouse in the capital that began on Dec. 11 and a suicide bombing near Bagram air base that killed six American troops last week.

They have also been involved in heavy fighting in their historic heartland in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, where they have been battling government forces for weeks for control of Sangin district.

Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie