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.


Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

Updated 28 September 2020

Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

  • Dr. Andy Martin: We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab could potentially ease the effect of COVID- 19 on the lungs
  • Dr. Tim Felton: The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving

LONDON: The experimental arthritis drug, otilimab, is being trialled as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

The first patient, administered with the drug, is currently being cared for at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

The OSCAR study (Otilimab in Severe COVID-19 Related Disease) is sponsored and funded by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The study at the MRI is being led by Dr. Andy Martin, an Intensive Care and Anaesthesia Consultant.

Dr. Martin said: “The patients eligible to take part in this study are those experiencing very severe lung difficulties due to COVID-19 infection and are receiving oxygen or ventilator support.

“We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab — which is under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis — could also potentially ease the effect of coronavirus on the lungs, dampening the impact of the virus on the immune system.

Christopher Corsico, Senior Vice President Development, GSK said: “We are continuing to work hard to find solutions to address the pandemic, including exploring potential treatment options for COVID-19 patients.

“We know that some COVID-19 patients experience an overreaction of their immune system — sometimes referred to as cytokine storm — which can lead to hospitalization or death. We believe that otilimab might be able to help counter or calm this process.

Dr. Tim Felton, Honorary Consultant, Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester and Clinical Lead for all MFT COVID-19-related research studies, leads OSCAR at Wythenshawe Hospital, which is also part of MFT.

Dr. Felton said: “The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving.

“I’d like to thank our first OSCAR participant — as well as the thousands of others who have taken part in coronavirus studies at MFT to date — as every participant who takes part in our research is contributing to the coordinated effort to enhance understanding of this global pandemic.”