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Kabul on Edge After Wave of Deadly Attacks


Afghans gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2015.
Afghans gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2015.

Kabul is on edge Saturday 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 dozens of people and wounded hundreds more.

It is 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.

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

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

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," he said.

Meanwhile, at least one other explosion was reported Friday near the Kabul airport and close to where U.S. special forces are based. NATO officials said at least one international service member was killed, though the nationality of the victim was not identified.

Friday's blast at the police academy was the first Taliban-claimed bombing in Kabul since the group confirmed the death of its founder Mullah Omar.

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.

He 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.

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