By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - Afghanistan on Sunday declared a day of mourning following yesterday’s brazen suicide car bombing by the Taliban that claimed more than 100 lives and left over 200 wounded.
Public hospitals in the war-ravaged Afghan capital were overwhelmed with the victims and the main Italian-run Emergency Hospital are treating bombing victims in the lawn of the hospital on the floor due to lack of space.
The Jamhoriat Public Hospital, which is located steps away from the site of the suicide car bombing, saw its windows shattered following the massive blast caused by explosives hidden in an improvised ambulance detonated outside the Ministry of Interior on Saturday afternoon.
The Ministry of Public Health hurriedly revived the damaged emergency ward at the Jamhoriat Hospital to treat wounded men, women and children.
Chaotic and tragic scenes were witnessed at the main 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan hospital in the diplomatic enclave that was running at full capacity, with traumatized civilians waiting outside praying for the recovery of their loved ones.
The Ministry of Interior confirmed that the death toll from the Taliban-claimed bombing on a busy road during afternoon rush-hour has swollen to 103, while 235 people are wounded.
Owing to the gravity of this and two other recent terrorist attacks in the capital Kabul, eastern Jalalabad and southern Kandahar cities, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani declared Sunday as a day of mourning.
- ‘Prayers for martyrs’
The national flag will fly at half-mast across the country and at diplomatic missions across the world. “On Tuesday, prayers would be offered across the country for the souls of the martyrs," the Presidential Palace announced in a statement.
Neighboring Pakistan has been blamed by the Afghan officials for “providing sanctuaries and support” to the terrorists causing havoc in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Masoum Stanikzai, head of the premier spy agency National Directorate of Security (NDS), told a news conference on Sunday that mounting pressure on Pakistan by the international community and advent of mega regional economic projects such as TAPI (Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India gas pipeline) in Afghanistan are inviting wrath of the terrorists “backed” by Pakistan.
“Why were the southwestern provinces [bordering Iran] such as Farah calm until the launch of Chabahar Port (Indian sponsored port in Iran meant to help Afghan end reliance on Pakistan) and arrival of metric tons of Indian wheat,” he questioned.
"We are neighbors and we have to find a way to get out of this vicious circle."
“However, Pakistan has been rejecting similar allegations leveled in the past as well. Pakistan reiterates its strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," the Foreign Office in Islamabad stated after Saturday’s attack.
“We emphasize the need for concerted efforts and effective cooperation among the states to eradicate the scourge of terrorism,” it said in a statement.
Stanikzai noted that 190 suspected militants have been arrested in the past one month alone. The militants belong to groups, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tajikistani and Uyghur militant groups, he said.
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Afghanistan mourns deadly bombing in Kabul
By Shadi Khan Saif