ISLAMABAD - Eleven members of the Afghan National Army were killed and 16 others wounded in an early morning attack on a military academy in Kabul Monday.
"The attack is against an army unit providing security for the academy and not the academy itself," said Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry.
Witnesses say the fighting near the Marshal Fahim National Defense University continued after daybreak.
According to Waziri, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, five suicide bombers carried out the attack. The first two exploded their vests at the entrance while three others tried to enter. The ANA killed two of them and arrested one with his vest.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility through its Amaq news agency.
The attack comes on a day when the city is still reeling with the aftermath of another deadly attack this weekend that killed more than 100, including many policemen. The entire country observed Sunday as a day of mourning while President Ashraf Ghani had declared Monday as a holiday in Kabul to “free resources to provide better services” for the victims of the weekend bombing.
Nationwide prayer services were planned for those victims on Tuesday.
Monday’s attack also coincided with the visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is in town for a day. Earlier, he had visited neighboring Pakistan where he had proposed the establishment of a committee of Islamic scholars from Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to promote a peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country.
Javid Faisal, the deputy spokesman for the office of Afghanistan’s chief executive, tweeted the five suicide bombers were members of the Haqqani Network.
The network is part of the Afghan Taliban and is blamed for many of the deadliest attacks inside Afghanistan. The United States and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of providing safe havens to the leadership of the network along with the leadership of the Afghan Taliban.
“We believe that there is significant evidence that leadership of the Haqqani Network resides inside Pakistan and is able to plan and execute from Pakistan attacks inside Afghanistan,” a senior state department official told journalists in a briefing.
Pakistan claims it has carried out military operations to purge its territory of any sanctuaries and there are no more safe havens on its soil.
This is a third attack in Kabul in ten days. An attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel earlier resulted in several dozen killed, including 14 foreigners. The U.S. State Department confirmed Americans were among the foreigners but did not disclose how many.
The Afghan Taliban claimed both the Intercontinental attack as well as the attack this weekend.
The Afghan government has faced strong criticism for failing to secure the capital, with politicians as well as ordinary Kabul residents calling it weak and ineffective.