Technology

Blast in heart of Kabul kills several civilians

At least four people have been killed and five others wounded in Afghanistan in an explosion that occurred “in the centre of Kabul”.

An Afghan policeman keeps watch at the checkpost on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan on July 13, 2021.
An Afghan policeman keeps watch at the checkpost on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan on July 13, 2021. (Reuters)

An explosion in the Afghan capital Kabul has killed four civilians and wounded five others, police said.

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he rush hour blast occurred “in the centre of Kabul”, police spokesperson Ferdaws Faramurz told reporters.

More Afghans are likely to flee their homes due to escalating violence, the UN refugee agency warned on Tuesday, as the Taliban take control of more territory in response to the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces.

Looming humanitarian crisis

“Afghanistan is on the brink of another humanitarian crisis. This can be avoided. This should be avoided,” Babar Baloch, spokesperson of the UNHCR, told a Geneva news briefing.

“A failure to reach a peace agreement in Afghanistan and stem the current violence will lead to further displacement within the country, as well as to neighbouring countries and beyond.”

The UNHCR said an estimated 270,000 Afghans had been newly displaced inside the country since January, bringing the total population forced from their homes to more than 3.5 million.

Those forced to flee blamed the security situation, incidents of extortion by non-state armed groups and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on major roads, as well as a loss of income and interruptions to social services, Baloch said.

The number of civilian casualties has risen by 29 percent during the first quarter compared with 2020, the UNHCR said, citing figures from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

“We urge the international community to step up support to the government and people of Afghanistan and its neighbours at this critical moment,” Baloch said.

The US general leading the war in Afghanistan, Austin Miller, relinquished command at a ceremony in the capital, Kabul, on Monday and quietly left the country, a symbolic end to America’s longest conflict.

France calls on citizens in Afghanistan to leave

France has called on all its citizens in Afghanistan to leave the country over security concerns, the French embassy in Kabul said, as the Taliban pressed on with a blistering offensive while foreign forces completed their withdrawal.

“The government will set up a special flight on the morning of July 17th, departing from Kabul, in order to allow the return to France of the entire French community,” the embassy said in a statement.

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