Five UAE officials among 56 killed in Afghanistan bombings
By Mamoon Durrani, AFP January 12, 2017, 12:04 am TWN
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the bombing and ordered an investigation led by Afghanistan's National Security Council chief Hanif Atmar.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the Kandahar attack, but said they were behind the Kabul blasts.
In the first explosion, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to a minibus transporting government employees. As rescuers reached the scene, a car bomb went off.
Among the 36 dead were four policemen who were killed in the second explosion when they rushed to help the victims of the first blast.
Afghanistan's health ministry warned that the toll was expected to rise as many of the wounded were battling for their lives in hospital.
Condemning the "barbaric attack," Ghani lashed out at the Taliban for the Kabul assault on civilians, which left the area littered with bloodied bodies.
"Such unprincipled, unlawful and deplorable attacks cause immense human suffering and make the peace that Afghans need and deserve even more difficult to achieve," the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a statement.
Tuesday's carnage came just ten days before Donald Trump is sworn in as U.S. president.
The situation in Afghanistan will be an urgent matter for the new leader, even though America's longest war got scarcely a passing mention in the bitterly contested presidential election.
Trump has given few details on his expected foreign policy, with even fewer specifics on how he will tackle the war in Afghanistan.
Repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taliban have failed and a fierce new fighting season is expected to kick off in the spring.
Afghanistan last week welcomed the Pentagon's decision to deploy some 300 U.S. Marines to Helmand, where American forces engaged in heated combat until 2014.
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