Blast kills five civilians in southern Afghanistan
A bomb explosion inside a house in Afghanistan’s southern Zabul Province has killed at least five civilians including two children and a woman, officials say.
The head of the Zabul provincial council, Atta Jan, said Monday that the explosion took place last night in the province’s Shinkay district.
According to a spokesman for the Zabul governor, the explosive material in the house belonged to ‘armed opponents’, an apparent reference to the Taliban militants. However, he did not reveal whether the family had relations with militants or not.
There were no immediate comments by any group, including the Taliban, regarding the deadly incident.
Afghan security forces (file photo)
On Monday, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense released a statement saying 72 militants and five government soldiers have been killed in separate military operations in the past 24 hours.
General Zahir Azimi, a ministry spokesman, said the five soldiers were killed in an explosion and militant gun attacks. In addition, 48 militants were wounded in the operations and three others were arrested.
The military operations come as the Taliban launched its so-called annual spring offensive dubbed “Azm” (Resolution) on April 24 against targets described by the group as Afghan government forces as well as foreign embassies.
Afghan Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi and the deputy to Defense Ministry spokesman, Brigadier General Dawlat Waziri, have dismissed the Taliban spring offensive, saying the country’s security forces are capable of foiling the militants’ attacks. “Our enemies don’t have the capability to collapse any province or district,” Waziri said.
Afghanistan faces a security challenge years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but some provinces are still witnessing violence, which threatens stability.
At least 13,500 foreign forces remain in Afghanistan despite the end of the US-led combat mission, which came on December 31, 2014. The forces, mainly from the United States, are there for what Washington calls a support mission. NATO says the forces will focus mainly on counterterrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.