Kabul attack toll rises to 25 killed, 45 wounded

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The attack came on the same day that nine journalists were killed in a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, and a week after unknown gunmen killed an Afghan journalist in the southern city of Kandahar.

In Kabul, journalists covering a bomb blast during the morning rush hour were standing in a loose group near the site of the explosion when the suicide bomber struck, killing seven people outright and wounding several, two of whom later died. A spokesperson for Kabul police said that about 30 minutes after the first attack, a bomber disguised as a member of the media set off his explosives among a group of journalists who had arrived to cover the earlier blast, Agence France-Presse reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for that attack.

Kabul attack toll rises to 25 killed, 45 wounded
Kabul attack toll rises to 25 killed, 45 wounded

"These attacks caused untold human suffering to Afghan families", said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the top United Nations official in Afghanistan.

In other violence Monday, insurgents killed at least four Afghan policemen in an ambush in the northern Balkh province, said Sher Mohammad Abu-Tariq, the district chief in Nahri Shahi. That attack killed 31 people and wounded 65 others.

The second suicide bomber was on foot, a police official said, and mingled among the crowd of journalists who had gathered after the first blast. Sabawoon Kakar, an RFE cameraman, died in the hospital from his injuries.

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"Journalists were doing their job when a suicide bomber killed them, such attacks prove that the working environment is very unsafe now", said Rahimullah Samandar, a senior member of the AFJSC.

Growing up in a family genetically predisposed to blindness, Shah Marai developed a keen eye as a photographer. But while the Taliban mainly target government officials and security forces, the IS affiliate tends to favor massive attacks on civilians from Afghanistan's Shiite Hazara minority, who it views as apostates. In all, the twin bombings killed 29 people and injured at least 45, mostly civilians. The statement, which exaggerated the overall death toll as militant claims often do, did not say journalists were specifically targeted.

The children killed were six to 11 years old, the United Nations children's agency UNICEF said in a statement condemning the attack "in the strongest possible terms".

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The double suicide bombing took place in the central Kabul district of Shash Darak area, which is home to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters and a number of embassies in Afghanistan.

The attacks occured a week after 60 people were killed while waiting at a voter registration center in the city.

Kabul police chief Dawood Amin said the area near the attacks has been sealed off and an investigation was under way.

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It's believed that media workers were targeted, Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh told the news outlet, because the second suicide bomber accessed the area by showing police a press pass. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan first emerged in Nangarhar a few years ago, then expanded its footprint across the country. Since January 2015, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been conducting the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan aimed at training and assisting Afghan security forces. Both groups want to establish strict Islamic rule in Afghanistan.

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