Afghan Officials: Bombings in Kabul Kill Two

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -
Afghan security personnel remove a damaged vehicle after a deadly bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday.  (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Separate explosions, set off by sticky bombs attached to cars, killed at least two people in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, including a prominent cleric who headed an Islamist nonprofit organization, officials said.

The first bomb was attached to a military vehicle in central Kabul and wounded two military personnel, said Ferdus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief.

An hour later, the second bomb, in the northern part of the city, killed two people, including cleric Mohammad Atef, and wounded two others. A third sticky bomb wounded one person in western Kabul. Faramarz said police are investigating.

Ghani, in a statement released by the Presidential Palace, also said that Atef’s killing was the latest in a series of targeted crimes and assassinations. Atef headed the central council of Jamiat-e-Eslah of Afghanistan, an Islamist nonprofit organization based.

In recent months, the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in Kabul, including on schools and educational institutions that killed 50 people, most of them students. IS has also claimed responsibility for rocket attacks in December that targeted the key U.S. base in Afghanistan. There were no casualties in those attacks.

On Monday, a report by a U.S. government watchdog — the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, known as SIGAR — said that Taliban attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul are also on the rise, with increasing targeted killings of government officials, civil-society leaders and journalists.

The violence comes as Taliban representatives and the Afghan government last month resumed peace talks in Qatar, the Gulf Arab state where the insurgents maintain an office. The stop-and-go talks are aimed at ending decades of conflict but frustration and fear have grown over the recent spike in violence, and both sides blame one another.