Car blast at market in Kabul kills 38

RSTV Bureau

afghan_blastA suicide bomb attack has killed at least 38 people near a busy market of Kabul in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The attacker exploded a car packed with explosives this morning, destroying several shops, hitting a mosque and leaving victims buried in heaps of rubble.

Mohammad Reza Kharoti, an administration chief in the Urgun district of Paktika province, says the attack also wounded more than 40 others.

He says the bomber detonated his vehicle full of explosives near a mosque and a market. All the casualties are civilians.

The bombing was the first major attack since a weekend deal between the two Afghan presidential contenders brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry averted a dangerous rift in the country’s troubled democracy.

The casualty figure is likely to rise, Kharioti added, since many people were buried under the rubble. “It was a very brutal suicide attack against poor Civilians,” he said. “There was no military base nearby.”

The Paktika bombing took place hours after a roadside bomb ripped through a minivan carrying employees of the presidential palace in eastern Kabul, killing two passengers.

The explosion struck as the vehicle was taking the palace staffers, said Gul Agha Hashimi, the Chief of criminal investigations with the Kabul police.

There were seven government employees on board, all from the palace’s media office.

The explosion also wounded five other people inside the minivan, including the driver, said Hashimi, speaking to reporters at the site of the blast. “One passenger survived unharmed,” he added.

Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said it was a remotely detonated device planted along the midsection of a main road.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for that attack in a statement sent to reporters.

Roadside bombings are a major threat to both Afghan security forces and civilians across the country. Such attacks have escalated as the Taliban intensify their campaign ahead of the U.S.-led foreign forces’ withdrawal by the end of 2014.