On 24 July 2017, at least 24 people were killed and more than 40 wounded after a suicide car bomb targeted a bus carrying ministry staff in Kabul. The bus was transporting the staff of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, when it was attacked. The vehicle was completely destroyed, along with three other cars and several shops in the area.
Kabul is regularly shaken by suicide bomb attacks. The latest suicide bombing adds to the unrelenting violence in Afghanistan, where at least 1,662 civilians were killed in the first half of the year.
The Hazara community had called a demonstration on Monday to commemorate a suicide bombing that killed 84 in the same area on July 23 last year. That attack was the first in Afghanistan claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group. The Hazaras are one of Afghanistan's largest ethnic minorities, accounting for up to 20% of Afghanistan's 30 million inhabitants.
Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, “The target of the bombing was the intelligence services and their employees.” He claimed “the Taliban insurgents spent the last two months shadowing the intelligence services employees before carrying out the attack.”
The uptick in violence comes as US President Donald Trump is considering to send more troops to Afghanistan, amid no signs that the Taliban is weakening.
There are about 8,400 US troops in the country at the moment. The US counter-terrorism mission there, who also fights ISIS, is separate from a NATO-led effort to train the police force to fight the Taliban.
Our assessment is that, the Taliban continues to pose an imminent threat not only to the survival of the democratic system in Afghanistan, but also to regional and international security. As ISIS loses its power, Taliban is once again trying to assert its dominance.