One US Soldier Dies in Eastern Afghanistan Combat, Another Wounded

Tuesday, 01 May, 2018

Twin explosions in Kabul killed at least 26 people, including 10 journalists who had arrived to report the initial blast and were apparently targeted by the suicide bomber, officials said.

In the Kandahar attack, an Afghan official said a suicide bomber targeted a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation convoy in the district of Daman but killed 11 children from a religious school located by the roadside from where the explosion occurred.

Agence France-Presse reported that the news agency's chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, was among those killed.

While the Taliban have carried out numerous deadly attacks, they have also provided governance in the areas under their control, and some Afghans may prefer them to the corruption-riddled government in Kabul.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric says the double suicide bombing in Kabul that killed nine journalists "highlights once again the risks media professionals face in carrying out their essential work".

Eight of the journalists were from Afghan outlets, the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee said.

Globally, it was the worst attack on journalists in a single incident since 31 reporters and photographers were killed in a massacre in the southern Philippines in 2009.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation later confirmed the vehicle-born explosive device wounded eight of its service members. On April 22, an Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing 60 people. Afghan forces have struggled to fight militants from the Taliban and Islamic State.

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"We stand with the people, the independent media, and government of Afghanistan and remain committed to supporting the Afghan peoples efforts to achieve peace, security, and democracy for their country", he said.

IS, which has dramatically stepped up its attacks in Kabul in recent months, claimed responsibility via its propaganda agency Amaq. He said the second attacker was on foot in a crowd of reporters, pretending to be a member of the press, when he set off his payload.

Ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh told Afghanistan's largest private TV channel Tolo news that at least 27 people were wounded and rushed to hospital, warning that some were in critical condition and the toll could yet rise.

Nine were killed and several others were injured. Last week, six people, including two Afghan soldiers, were killed in a vehicle bombing in Helmand province. A coordinated double suicide bombing hit central Kabul.

Officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern because the Taliban and other militant groups control or contest large swathes of the country.

For about 20 years, Mr. Marai, a veteran photojournalist, covered Afghanistan, his war-torn homeland, and its profound human suffering, but often with a soft touch.

To attack non-combatants aiding the wounded and dying is an attack on the right to health.