Five journalists among dozens killed in twin Afghanistan blasts


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 Five journalists among dozens killed in twin Afghanistan blasts

Victims lie on the ground in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, April 30, 2018. The explosions targeted central Kabul on Monday morning, killing people and wounding a dozen, authorities said.

At least 25 people, including five journalists, died in two explosions on Monday morning in the Afghan capital Kabul, according to government officials.

The first blast took place at around at 8 a.m. local time in the Shashdarak area of the city, where the US embassy and Afghan government buildings are located, prompting journalists to rush to the scene.

The second explosion came as an attacker, disguised as a cameraman, detonated explosives at the site of the initial explosion, Kabul City Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai told CNN.

Five journalists from different news media outlets died in the attack, according to Najib Sharifi, director of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee.

French news agency Agence France Presse confirmed that its chief photographer Shah Marai was among the dead.

A further 45 people were injured in the two incidents, and have been taken to city hospitals, according to Ministry of Public Health spokesman Wahid Majroh.

The site of the explosion was close to NATO's Afghan headquarters, the US embassy and Afghan government buildings, including the Presidential palace, the Defense Ministry and the headquarters of Afghanistan's intelligence services.

US Ambassador John Bass condemned the attack.

"I condemn today's terrible Kabul attack (and) reaffirm our commitment (to) stand with the Afghan people in their fight for peace (and) security across Afghanistan. We mourn for those murdered, including the brave journalists who stand for truth in the face of violence," he wrote on Twitter. 

Security forces run from the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 30.

Spate of attacks

Afghanistan has seen a spate of attacks in recent weeks. Just days ago at least six people were killed, including two Afghan soldiers, when a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province.

On April 22, a suicide blast killed 57 people -- including at least five children -- and wounded over 100 more at a voter registration center. That attack was preceded by a car bombing in southern Afghanistan in which at least 13 people were killed and 35 others injured.

The incident took place outside a sports stadium in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. A wrestling match was taking place inside the stadium at the time of the attack.

The uptick in violence comes despite reports around six weeks ago that suggested some factions of the Taliban had expressed interested in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government.

Those reports came on the heels of an Afghan government announcement in February that it would be willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant group.

By: CNN

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