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Taliban Claims Responsibility for Suicide Bombing


An Afghan man cries as he search for his relatives near Camp Integrity, a base housing US special forces that was attacked by militants, in Kabul, Aug. 8, 2015.

An Afghan man cries as he search for his relatives near Camp Integrity, a base housing US special forces that was attacked by militants, in Kabul, Aug. 8, 2015.

The Taliban claimed responsibility Saturday for another deadly suicide car bombing in Afghanistan, a day after a series of terrorist blasts killed dozens in and near Kabul.

In a statement sent to VOA, the Taliban said it was behind the explosion in the Khanabad district of northern Kunduz province. Police said the blast killed at least 22 members of a pro-government militia.

Kabul was already on edge following one of its worst outbreaks of violence this year.

Insurgents carried out a series of suicide bombings in and around the Afghan capital Friday that killed more than 50 people, including nine people at a U.S. military base.

The civilian death toll was the highest the United Nations mission in the country had recorded for Kabul in a single day since 2009.

U.N. mission chief Nicholas Haysom bluntly blamed the attackers for civilian casualties.

"Those responsible for suicide and complex attacks in civilian-populated areas can no longer shrug off the disproportionate harm to the civilian population they cause," Haysom said in a statement.

Wave of violence

It was the first major wave of violence since the Taliban recently confirmed the death of its founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The developments are calling into question the future of the insurgent group's peace talks with the government.

Eight civilian military contractors and a U.S. serviceman were killed late Friday during an attack on Camp Integrity, a U.S. special forces base near the main airport in Kabul.

An Afghan police officer stands guard near the site of a suicide attack at the entrance to the Police Academy in Kabul, Aug. 7, 2015.

An Afghan police officer stands guard near the site of a suicide attack at the entrance to the Police Academy in Kabul, Aug. 7, 2015.

In a statement emailed to VOA, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying three suicide bombers were used to target the U.S. facility.

In the most deadly attack Friday, a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform detonated his explosives in a crowd of students at an Afghan police academy in Kabul. Police said the attack killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 25 others.

The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack. But the group tried to distance itself from an earlier truck bombing in a residential area in the capital that killed at least 15 people and wounded about 240, mostly civilians.

'Shows the desperation'

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said whoever was behind the truck bomb attack has gained nothing.

"The killing of civilians, especially women and children, shows the desperation and defeat of the enemies of Afghanistan by our national security forces," Ghani said.

Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, spoke by telephone Saturday with Ghani, while Lisa Monaco, Obama's assistant for homeland security, talked with Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar.

Both U.S. officials expressed deepest condolences for the los of life in what the White House called "heinous" attacks and reaffirmed U.S. commitment to the Afghan government as it confronts terrorists.

Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of an attack after an overnight battle outside a base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2015.

Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of an attack after an overnight battle outside a base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2015.

The Taliban abruptly canceled last week's second round of peace talks with Afghanistan after the news of Mullah Omar's death.

Pakistan officials on Friday insisted the peace talks are ongoing and are only being paused temporarily.

New Taliban leader Mullah Ahktar Mansoor has not been clear on whether he is interested on continuing to hold peace talks with the Afghan government.

Mullah Mansoor said recently that the Taliban will continue jihad to turn Afghanistan into an Islamic state. He said all decisions will be based on strict Islamic law, including the choice to keep fighting or hold talks.

Ayaz Gul contributed to this report from Islamabad.

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