Death toll rises to 103 after ambulance bomb hits Afghan capital Kabul

At least 103 people were killed and 235 people injured after explosives hidden in an ambulance were detonated at a police checkpoint in the Afghan capital, Kabul, a day earlier, officials said Sunday.

“The attacker used an ambulance to get through one security checkpoint by telling police he was taking a patient to a nearby hospital. He then detonated his explosives at a second check point,” said Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

Rahimi said police had detained four suspects in connection with the attack.

The Taliban have been waging an insurgency since they were driven from power by US and Afghan forces after the 11 September attacks. In recent years they have seized districts across the country and carried out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting security forces and the US-backed government.

The Isis affiliate emerged in 2014, as the US and Nato were winding down their combat mission and has clashed with both Afghan forces and the Taliban. The group consists largely of Uzbek militants driven out of Pakistan and disillusioned former Taliban fighters. They bear particular animosity toward Afghanistan’s Shiite minority, which they view as apostates deserving of death.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the latest attack in the Afghan capital. The attack was just one of numerous around Afghanistan on Monday.

The bombings come in the wake of the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s ceasefireinitiative with the Taliban, starting from the 27th day of Ramadan (June 12) to the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr (June 19).
In response to Ghani’s announcement, the Taliban had on Saturday declared a three-day ceasefire over the Eid holiday.

The spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General said António Guterres “strongly condemns” the attack and said those responsible must be brought to justice.

“Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and can never be justified,” he added.

Ahmed Mengli reported from Kabul. Saphora Smith reported from London.