Suicide blast at Kabul military academy kills six

Afghan security personnel and firefighters clean the site of a suicide attack near the Marshal Fahim Military Academy base in Kabul on May 30, 2019. (AFP / THOMAS WATKINS)
Updated 30 May 2019

Suicide blast at Kabul military academy kills six

  • The explosion occurred as cadets were leaving the academy
  • The attacker detonated his explosives after being prevented from entering the Marshal Fahim National Defense University

KABUL: A suicide attack outside Kabul’s main military academy killed at least six people on Thursday.

The suicide bomber struck as cadets were leaving Fahim Military Academy to travel home for the weekend.

Witnesses said the attacker was seen driving a vehicle laden with explosives.

The blast shattered windows in houses several block away.

“The explosion was very powerful,” Aref Shah, 34, a nearby resident, told Arab News by phone.

Police who cordoned off the site said that as well the six fatalities, at least six other people were wounded.

One police source put the toll at 15, but it was not immediately clear how many of the victims were cadets.

The sprawling academy lies close to a residential area on a hill in the western part of Kabul.

Both Taliban and Daesh affiliates have struck outside the academy in recent years. In one incident militants stormed the compound after climbing through one of its walls. A US general was also killed by a Taliban infiltrator inside the compound.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday’s explosion, which comes amid escalating attacks by the Taliban around the country in recent months, including Ramadan.

Some reports said that at least 20 government troops were killed in two different strikes by militants in the past 24 hours.

The surge of attacks comes as Afghan politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai, and Taliban delegates ended a second round of meetings on Thursday in Moscow. Due to the Taliban’s objection, no representative of President Ashraf Ghani’s government took part in the talks.

In a joint statement, the two sides said they discussed the need for “stable peace, a continuation of intra-Afghan dialogue, establishment of a truce, the withdrawal of foreign troops and cessation of foreign interference, as well as consolidation of an Islamic government.”


New Zealand volcano eruption death toll rises to 18 as body search continues

Updated 15 min 28 sec ago

New Zealand volcano eruption death toll rises to 18 as body search continues

  • A land search early Sunday failed to find any sign of bodies and divers returned to the sea in the afternoon
  • Disaster has raised questions about why tourists were allowed on a volcano where experts had recently raised threat levels

WELLINGTON: The death toll from New Zealand’s White Island volcano eruption rose to 18 Sunday, including two people whose bodies have not been recovered, police said.
A land search early Sunday failed to find any sign of the missing pair and divers returned to the sea in the afternoon amid increasing speculation both could be in the water.
Deputy police commissioner Mike Clement said there was “every chance” the bodies had been washed into the sea from the stream where they were last seen Monday.
He added that searchers were “satisfied that the area we searched near the jetty is clear of the bodies.”
“The rescue teams are frustrated. We understand completely how frustrating it is for loved ones who want the bodies back,” Clement said.
Forty-seven people were on the island — a popular tourist attraction — when the explosion happened.
The death toll now stands at 18 after an Australian victim who had been repatriated to Sydney died in hospital almost a week after the deadly eruption.
Another 26 survivors remain in New Zealand and Australian hospitals, of which 20 are listed as “critical” and fighting for their lives after the eruption on the desolate island, which is the country’s most active volcano.
The family of the latest victim have requested his name and age not be released.
Police on Sunday named seven victims who have been officially identified including New Zealand tour guide Tipene James Te Rangi Ataahua Maangi, 24.
Four were Australians — Zoe Ella Hosking, 15, her stepfather Gavin Brian Dallow, 53, 51-year-old Anthony James Langford and Karla Michelle Mathews, 32 — along with Matthew Robert Hollander, 13 and Berend Lawrence Hollander, 16, who were US citizens with Australian permanent residency.
Clement said although the land and sea searches had so far been unsuccessful in finding the remaining bodies, police had not given up hope.
“There will come a time when we’ve done everything we can do, when we’ve done everything that’s sensible but we’re not there yet... we don’t give up easily,” he said.
Scientists monitoring White Island said there had been no further significant activity since last Monday’s eruption but the risk remained.
A glow was visible from the vent area overnight “which confirms there is a high heat flow present,” said Geoff Kilgour, a volcanologist with GNS Science, which monitors seismic and volcanic activity in New Zealand.
“This has been confirmed today by an aerial observation this morning that noted an active crater is emitting volcanic gas at a high rate and very high temperature” above 200 Celsius.
The disaster has raised questions about why tourists were allowed on a volcano where experts had recently raised threat levels.