14 dead in Taliban attack on Kabul police center

The attack comes ahead of next month’s crucial presidential polls. (Reuters)
Updated 08 August 2019

14 dead in Taliban attack on Kabul police center

  • At least 95 people, mostly civilians and including women and children, had been taken to hospital
  • The bomb went off when a vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint outside the station

KABUL: At least 14 people were killed and 145 wounded in a Taliban car bomb attack on a police recruitment center on Wednesday in Kabul, officials said.

The attack, the latest in a spate of rising violence in the capital and across Afghanistan, comes ahead of next month’s crucial presidential polls, which the militants have threatened to derail.

On Tuesday, the Taliban and US diplomats announced that they had made “excellent progress” in peace talks in Qatar. The impact of the blast, which was felt in remote parts of the capital, destroyed over 20 rooms inside the center and damaged nearby buildings.

“I feel like I’m deaf now. It happened just a kilometer from me, but the sound was powerful and I felt as if it was only meters away,” said Ashna Gul, a resident.

Khoshal Sadaat, senior deputy interior minister, told a press conference that 14 people lost their lives in the blast and 145 people — 92 of them civilians — were wounded.

He said the Taliban had increased its attacks in cities and civilian areas as part of a move to “provoke the public against the system” following its recent setbacks across the country.

A spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, Wahiddullah Mayar, said women and children were among the wounded.

The Taliban said a suicide bomber detonated a truck outside the center, which has faced similar attacks in recent years.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the Taliban had stepped up its raids in order to seek concessions in the peace negotiations, which his government is barred from because of the group’s objection.

“By repeating such tragedies and humanitarian crimes, not only will they (the Taliban) not gain any concessions during the peace talks, but they will also be severely suppressed in all corners of the country by our valorous defense and security forces,” Ghani said.

Sediq Seddiqi, a spokesman for Ghani, said the increase in Taliban attacks showed that the group was “the main hurdle for peace” in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the government said it conducted overnight operations against suspected Daesh affiliates in three parts of Kabul. Two of the suspects and three government officers were killed.

The operations were aimed at houses where the network kept explosives and produced vests for suicide attacks. Several loud explosions were heard during the operations.


India begins examination of plane’s black box after deadly crash

Updated 42 min 33 sec ago

India begins examination of plane’s black box after deadly crash

  • Air India Express plane overshot runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain
  • Company to pay compensation to the families of the deceased

NEW DELHI: Indian investigators on Sunday began examining the black box of a Boeing-737 that overshot a runway on its second attempt, killing 18 people in the country’s worst aviation accident in a decade.
The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday.
The aircraft fell into a valley and broke in half.
In an interview with Reuters partner ANI on Sunday, Anil Kumar, head of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said the country would open the recovered transcripts to international investigators, as well as manufacturer Boeing.
“Only after conducting a thorough and unbiased probe, can we tell what exactly happened,” Kumar said.
The 2,700-meter runway at the airport is known as a “table-top,” an aviation term for runways with steep drops at one or both ends.
They leave little room for error should a pilot overshoot the runway, either through human error or mechanical failure.
Late on Saturday, Kumar told CNN-News18 in an interview that the pilot made an aborted landing attempt into a headwind and then made a second approach with a tail wind, landing 1,000 meters down the runway.
An air traffic control official familiar with the crash confirmed this version of events, adding it is unusual to attempt a landing at the airport with a tailwind, which is typically used for takeoffs.
“The length of the runway in Calicut is around 2,700 meters and the plane touched the ground after crossing 1,000 meters of the length, leaving less room to bring the aircraft to a halt,” the official, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media, said.
“It was windy and rainy and the runway surface was wet. In such instances the weather is dynamic.”
“An aircraft typically lands and departs in a headwind as a tailwind increases the plane’s speed.”
A spokesman for Air India did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has already said it will pay compensation to the families of the deceased.