Hospitals in Afghanistan have been overwhelmed after a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban left 28 dead and more than 320 injured in the country’s capital Kabul.
A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a truck bomb Tuesday into an intelligence unit charged with protecting VIPs and government officials in Afghanistan. The attack was dubbed one of the deadliest since 2011.
Most of the victims are civilians, including women and children, various news outlets report, citing Afghan officials.
“Hundreds of people were ferried to hospitals by overstretched ambulance staff on Tuesday but in a show of support dozens of Kabul residents converged on hospitals to donate blood,” notes TOLO NEWS. “Relatives of those injured were not however allowed to enter hospitals in the capital to check on their loved ones – many of whom were injured by flying glass.”
“In addition widespread damage was caused to businesses, houses and shops and according to some reports, people within a one kilometer radius were injured,” it added.
Tuesday’s attack came days after the Taliban announced the start of its “spring offensive,” which has marked the beginning of the heavy fighting season since the Afghanistan war began in October 2001.
The Associated Press (AP) quoted Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi, the Kabul police chief, as saying that “at least 28 people were killed in the attack, which began when a suicide car bomber struck near the agency compound’s gates.”
“After the explosion, armed gunmen stormed the compound and waged a prolonged battle with government security forces,” adds the report. “Security officials confirmed that the battle has ended.”
Ismail Kawasi, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, was quoted as saying that at least 327 people were wounded, including women and children.
“An Interior Ministry statement said that dozens of civilians were killed and wounded in the attack,” reports AP. “The casualty figures are expected to rise.”
A day before the attack, Khaama Press reported that Pakistani authorities had warned the Afghan Taliban to stop perpetrating violence or pay a “heavy prize.”
The warning was described as an effort by Pakistan to persuade the Afghan Taliban to participate in peace talks.
Pakistan has also urged the terrorist group to call off its “spring offensive.”
The Taliban has said it will not engage in peace talks with the Afghan government because it is winning the war.
In December 2015, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), which includes the United States, China, and Pakistan, launched the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.